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Scales of offence.

Cross posted at the new place. This one is closing soon.

I first came across this tale of despair and misery at Mummylonglegs' place. Dick Puddlecote found it too. The trauma! The horror! The shock and disgust! Tesco sold a card that made a little jibe at ginger-haired people and some hideous bint's children now have to undergo counselling. Tesco must be shut down and all the staff nailed to the front of the shop until they have suffered enough. Which will be never, because the Cheeldren have never been so insulted since the last time it looked likely to get someone in the papers.

All because of a Christmas card and looking at the picture of it, not a particularly good one. Personally I always buy a box of the 'cute' cards and add my own subtitles inside. My favourite was of a badger in a chair, reading a book to a bunch of baby animals, none of which were badgers. Inside, I added 'Mr. Badger thought that maybe, this Christmas, he'd tell the kids they were adopted'.

Contrast this with the reaction of a 15-year-old who was mostly-blinded by an IRA bomb. He met the Queen and Prince Philip while wearing the somewhat bold tie of his Army Cadet group. The Queen asked how much he could still see.

"Not much, judging by that tie," said old Phil.

Compared to a Christmas card insulting gingers, I'd say that was a far more terrible thing. How did the 15-year-old react? Did he demand an apology and compo? No. He did no such thing.

He...got his own back later that year when he took part in an ex-serviceman's march along The Mall for the Queen's golden jubilee celebrations.

As he passed the royal box at Buckingham Palace he flashed a giant Union Jack tie at the watching prince.

Mrs Menary said: 'Stephen said, "If he thought that other tie was bad, then this one's even worse".'

This didn't even make the papers until seven years later when the mother was on TV for some other reason. It comes to something when a 15-year-old, who could so easily have been upset by a jibe at his injury, reacts with far more maturity and humour than a mother of three who simply saw a card in Tesco.

Phil the Greek also had a joke about a comedian's artificial foot. The comedian found it funny (he wouldn't be much of a comedian if he was too sensitive, I suppose) and laughed it off. No offence taken.

Okay, the woman was offended by the Christmas card. I'm offended by racks and racks of mindless magazines in every supermarket and newsagent in the land. Do I demand they all be taken down so I can get my copies of New Scientist, Viz and Stoat Stapler's Monthly without having to trawl through all those menstrually hysterical glossies? No. I just don't buy them. That is the sensible reaction to something that's on sale that you don't want and don't like. Leave it on the shelves. Ignore it. It's not going to follow you out of the shop. Just leave it there and move on.

If you buy the thing that offends you, the store's stock computer goes 'Oh, I sold one. Better order another' and then more of the offending thing appear. It's not a solution. Neither is running to the complaints department shrieking 'Look! Look! Look at the offensive thing! It must be destroyed and you with it!' It does not make you look like a caring parent. It makes you look like a Bedlam inmate on a day trip.

There are far more worrying things in the world than being called names. If a bit of name-calling is enough to reduce you to a gibbering wreck in need of comfort and counselling, then you are a chimp-brained saggy-faced halfwit with the social graces of a slug and all the visual appeal of a hellbender (yes, it's a real thing, also known as a 'snot otter').

If people who have been blinded by IRA bombs can survive a jibe and respond in kind, at fifteen years old, what the hell are alleged adults doing getting upset about a remark concerning their hair colour? If it's that big a deal, buy hair dye. If you like the colour, tell your detractors to get stuffed or better yet, learn to use words of your own and retaliate in kind. It's fun. Try it.

Most of all, try growing up. It isn't as bad as it sounds.

(It seems I'm not the only one playing the 'compare and contrast' game today.)
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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
16th Dec, 2009 00:01 (UTC)
'menstrually hysterical glossies' - Quality
16th Dec, 2009 00:11 (UTC)
Unfortunately the righteous have persuaded most of the inmates of Asylum GB that they are entitled to the moon on a stick, and compensation at overtime rates if they don't get it. On the bright side, today my wife's staff,one Muslim, one Hindu, insisted that they get out the office Xmas decorations and helped set up the tree. Expect a Fatwa very soon...
16th Dec, 2009 04:04 (UTC)
one Muslim, one Hindu, insisted that they get out the office Xmas decorations and helped set up the tree

It's because they know it'll lead to wine and cigarettes!
16th Dec, 2009 11:54 (UTC)
I normally agree with you Leg Iron but I beg to differ here. While I do agree about your point about oversensitivity I do think we need to be careful about things that are "just a bit of fun."

And the way ginger people are treated in this country IS pretty appalling. I never realised until two things happened. Firstly I met a Yank friend of mine who'd been living here for six months for lunch and off their own bat they said, "What is it with you Brits and ginger people?" I laughed and asked what they meant. He then catalogued a few things he'd seen and heard and said he was amazed - if it had been directed at a racial group even the BNP would have been shocked. The other thing that changed my opinion was I started going out with a girl with red hair. Now to be fair it is more "pre-Raphaelite red" than frizzy ginger, but still she's proud of it. But since I've started seeing her you do become aware of how much of this negativity is out there - much like when you're a smoker you see the social divisiveness, the attempts to paint you as a filthy, addicted subhuman, while non-smokers would laugh at your claims because they never think about it and thus don't notice it. And this king of negativity is everywhere, beleive me!!

So while I do agree with you that we should all just grow a pair and get over it, in our cotton-wool society "gingerism" is a reality. And if it remained "just a bit of fun" then fine. Trouble is, as we all know, there are too many mindless monkeys who see this stuff then think it's fine to beat up / bully ginger kids at school.

I dunno - I'm libertarian by nature so I certainly wouldn't want to stop them from selling the card. But then again, there is a constant "anti-ginger" sentiment that would be deplored if applied to anyone else. Hell, I'm a smoker and anti-gingerism even makes Nu-Liebour's campaign against the tobacco fan look like we're the most beloved sub-section of society.
16th Dec, 2009 16:28 (UTC)
As an ex-ginger (mostly grey now) I remember some sneery remarks but there were a lot of sneery remarks going around at that time and we just grew thick skins.

Fat kids became immune to 'Five-bellies', jug-eared kids became immune to 'Plug' and so on. Our parents would react to bullying but not to name-calling.

I don't know what singles out the gingers. Something to do with the Celts being red-haired and treated as second class citizens by later invaders, perhaps? Or maybe a race memory of the Romans (weren't they mostly red-haired too?).

The Japanese have a very different approach. They adore red hair and you can't move over there without someone wanting to touch it for luck!

Anyway, what the Americans say about blondes at least equals anything said here about gingers. I once taught a student who I assumed for three years was a redhead, but later found out she was a blonde but dyed it red. There are worse things than ginger.

I agree that escalating it into real hate is going too far, but I don't think that's the case here. It's just a humorous card.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )