Frankly I am not sure what the answer to that is.
I am asked it every time I try to login to WordPress.
It’s fair to say that I am fairly easily moved and will speak my mind (no point in writing a blog if you’re not really), but, to use a quote I have used before (and doubtless will again), ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore’ (Howard Beale in Network 1976).
I deplore racism, sexism, prejudice of any kind. I also deplore political correctness and a lack of common sense and when either of those are applied to prejudice it both trivialises the prejudice and sets back any cause by a long way.
Now, at the risk of being politically correct and apologising for something I’m about to write if it offends anyone, but there have been two glaring examples of stupidity carried out in the name of racism this week in my opinion.
The first is this absolute nonsense about the GAP advert portraying a taller white girl leaning her arm on a shorter black girl who looks unhappy in a group photograph (actually I would say three of the four girls in the picture look unhappy, or at least serious). Firstly, it just isn’t racist (sexist maybe as where are the boys?!), subliminally or otherwise. Secondly my disgust is that it’s shortist – taller people indiscriminately lean on shorter people, regardless of race, colour or creed, as a terminal shortarse all my life, trust me this is true. Thirdly, and this is the funniest bit about it, it only transpires that the two girls are adoptive sisters, which as a younger sibling I can once more empathise with.
The second was the fine and ban applied to Joe Marler for calling his opposite number a ‘Gypsy Boy’ in an international rugby match between England and Wales. I really do not mean to be insulting or ignorant but calling someone who is a Gypsy and is very proud of his origin, and is also a male, a ‘Gypsy Boy’…I just don’t get it. I do understand that racism can be about context often but really, when you think of what he could have said to him, the mind boggles, I mean it’s like me being called an ‘English Boy’…hardly the material to make you crawl away to a dark place and shrivel up like a salted snail is it?
It also boggles because in this type of context I don’t understand how race works, are Gypsies a race? As far as I am aware they have all sorts of ethnic origins so how does that work? I have nothing against Travellers as a group whatsoever, I just don’t understand it.
I believe it must be because it is seen as insulting, but these two examples are everything that’s wrong about PC.
I’ll tell you why I think this, and I am sorry but I am going to use a word that some people may find offensive but it is a very old word and has many meanings (I really am being PC aren’t I?). For pretty much all of my adult life I have been addressed as a ‘Shortarse’ (I don’t know why, I am a lanky 5’7″ in bare feet), ‘short fat bastard’ and the crowning glory ‘Slapheaded, short fat bastard’. None of which I can really deny (as Obelix says “I’m not fat, my chest’s just slipped a bit”) but people feel that its OK to bowl up and apply any or all of those adjectives to me. At the age of just under 51 it really is water off a duck’s back but not everyone is as robust as me.
So, am I part of the ‘slapheaded, short fat bastard’ race, after all we share many traits, or am I just being prejudiced against ? Who judges these things? Where’s my compensation and apology? I feel great empathy for the young lady in the GAP photo (Tony how patronising and sexist!) and the Taff (oh sorry I mean Welsh Gentleman) in the rugby!
So, I return to my opening line – am I human? Well I don’t know how to answer this, I mean isn’t it a bit ‘animalistic’, or ‘computeristic’…some numpty will doubtless be wringing his(or her of course) hands and pacing the room in an Uriah Heep-like manner somewhere. Face and bothered.
I am similarly incredulous as to this week’s other headline news, and, dear reader, I would like you to sit down if you’re already doing so before you read the next bit, make sure the mouth and airwaves are clear, in expectation of a sharp intake of breath, remove any sharp objects from the vicinity…you get the idea, for you will doubtless be SHOCKED to learn that there are such places as Tax Havens and they exist for people to manipulate the laws of the land and avoid paying Tax. I don’t know about you but this was a Damascus-like revelation, I fell to my knees and ejaculated “WHY?” like Charlton Heston at the end of the “Planet of the Apes” and the scales fell from my eyes.
As surprises go it was about as surprising as every time I cross the Severn Bridge it starts raining (‘You see he just doesn’t like us, first of all he calls us Taffs, now he is insulting our weather?’ Actually, this is a statement of fact which even my Welsh wife and her charming relatives now accept!). It really is all about envy isn’t it. If I had significant money to spare and was offered a legal opportunity to invest so that I paid less tax I would do it, in fact we all already do it when we take out an ISA or make Pension contributions. It’s the politics of envy and it’s pathetic.
Solution – change the law to stop Tax Avoidance making it evasion if it’s a problem and then everyone knows where they are going forward, but please stop haunting the airwaves and media with this non-news.
And finally Esther (what was Cyril Fletcher all about eh? EH?!), this week’s other question is all about Europe. Personally I’ve lost all interest since PSG knocked us out a couple of weeks ago…OK that’s not what I meant, it’s hotting up ref Brexit or no?
For a man no stranger to opinions I really am open as to the way forward, so let’s see, as it all starts to begin in earnest (I wonder if Ernest minds and if it’s painful?) I do wonder if we are going to get any sense or real facts to consider?
It’s enough to make you want to lean on the person next to you (preferably a shortarsed slaphead!), but don’t forget to check their race, colour, religion or the type of house they live in first.