Sunday, January 11, 2009

Offensiveness, philosophical musings...

Preface: This article contains some words. It is not my intention to cause offense to anyone having actually used 'words', but I found it very difficult to express myself without doing so. Er, sorry.

Note (16-Feb): Quite a few comments on this one.. not entirely a surprise, to be honest. Some, I have rejected, so in case anyone is wondering where their comment is, here's the guidelines I've been sticking to:
1) Some comments have been racist. That not what I was trying to do, so they wont get published.
2) Some comments were offensive towards an individual. Oddly, not to me, but to other people who have commented.
3) Common to both of the above, some comments have been anonymous. If a commenter wishes to take a pop at me, or one of the other folks that have commented here, they can damned well identify themselves to me. Contentious is OK, Anonymous is ok, but its either or, not both. My blog. My rules. OK?

Further oddness. Someone (anonymous) picked up on my Enid Blyton comments - shortly before Carol Thatcher got herself into hot water... Note the BBC's reasoning for her removal froma TV show - not because of what she said, but becuase they didnt like her apology. I'm not sure if this actually proves anything, other that I was right, this whole business is a minefield. (NB, no offence to mines is intended in this statement).

Good ole Prince Hal is up to his protuberant lug-oles in hot water again (must be a slow news day) for having (quite inadvisedly) referred to one of his colleagues (a gentleman from Pakistan) as a "Paki". Actually, that wasn't all he said, but its this particular word which is relevant to the thought which popped into my head while watching the item on the news this morning.

Now, the thought is this - If it is indeed offensive to refer to a Pakistani as a Paki, to the extent that the BBC feels it necessary to have a representative of said nationality on breakfast TV to debate the issue, can we assume that the next time someone calls me (note, I was born in the United Kingdom and am therefore British) a Brit, then I get to dress up as John Bull and get all pouty on TV?

The third in line to the throne (this is something Harry and I have in common - I often have to queue for the bathroom too) maintains that he had not intended to cause offense. Language, however, remains a minefield, with words that are considered perfectly innocent one day turning taboo overnight. If you don't believe me, go and dig up Enid Blyton and see what she has to say.

Finally, because I like to leave you with a disturbing mental image whenever I can, I mus pose this question. If Harry had called his mate a "Wanker", would the BBC have interviewed a short sighted gentleman carrying a copy of "Reader's Wives" magazine and a box of tissues?



Anonymous said...

You've caused "offence" by using the US spelling, "offense" - shame on you, Grumbler.

Rowley said...

Was this exposed by the BBC or The Daily Mail? I suspect the latter. F**king papes mentality.

Anonymous said...

Enid Blyton = Golliwogs and Big Ears, good point.
I thought you'd prefer to dress up as a stormtrooper rather than John Bull?

Rudi Somerlove said...

Yes it's interesting that Paki should be thought of as offensive when Afghani, Khazakhi, Turkmeni, Tajiki are all perfectly acceptable terms to describe a native of those lands. Maybe we should call them all Stan instead!