Chinkgate, the sorry race-related episode that has blighted Wigan Athletic and its owner Dave Whelan over the last couple of weeks, has shown us that we have to be vey careful what we say for fear of breaking largely unwritten rules associated with race, homophobia and sexism. Or, at least, be very careful who you say it to, and where.
Quite rightly, I think, we should temper our behaviour and language if we believe that people may find it offensive. This is regardless of whether we believe their sensitivity to this behaviour to be totally over-reactionary or unjustified. The fact is, if we know that someone is likely to take offence at something, then that should be enough to stop us doing it.
Racism, sexism, homophobia… these are well-trodden areas where most people know roughly where the line is, or should be, drawn and therefore don’t cross it. Or if they choose to do so, they are well aware of the likely consequences of stepping over that line.
In a similar, yet completely opposite, vein, there seem to be a fair few fads knocking about these days that nobody seems to have a bad word to say about. Being the grumpy old twat that I am, I appear to be in a minority of one that doesn’t consider any of these things to be the best thing ever to lighten our humdrum lives. I can’t possibly be the only one who cannot see the fascination with these things I talk of in this weeks’ five-for, but it certainly seems that way. I feel like the little boy in the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes. I’ll let you consider and judge for yourselves as I metaphorically point out that, in my humble opinion, for the following five modern day fads, the Emperor appears to be all balls and no trousers.
The Christmas Coca-Cola Truck – “Haaaa-lidays are comin’! Haaaa-lidays are comin’!” I think Coca-Cola are perfectly entitled to claim that a 40-footer full of Coco-Cola turning up at Lidl marks the official start of the festive season, but why do we all have to agree with them. If it was a Paxo Sage and Onion Stuffing wagon, I could almost understand it but who in their right mind sees a bottle of coke and immediately thinks of Christmas. The Coca-Cola truck (or replica thereof) turned up at the Trafford Centre last week and thousand excitedly flocked to gaze in wonder at it. It has absolutely jack to do with the start of Christmas because…
Mad Friday – … we all know that Mad Friday is the official start of the Christmas period. Now, I like a drink as much as the next man. So much so that I indulge in it all year round. I do not feel the need to get absolutely paralytic just because it happens to be the nearest Friday to Christmas. It clearly can’t be Christmas if you haven’t chucked up outside the Wetherspoon’s or seen someone stabbed at the top of King Street. You wouldn’t around Wigan on Mad Friday. Or probably no other Friday, come to think of it.
Black Friday – How much cash you will have available to piss up the wall on mad Friday will depend on how much you blow a few weeks earlier on Black Friday, the day that the big retailers con you into buying the tat they can’t get rid of by reducing the price as dramatically as they artificially inflated it in the first place. I saw someone post on Facebook recently that the poor people – whoever they may be, exactly – are apparently entitled to smash old dears about the head in an attempt to relieve Tesco of as much of its discontinued stock as possible because they don’t often get the chance of a bargain. Well, if they’re that poor, they should probably have higher priorities than getting their mitts on a cheap-ish plasma tele.
Christmas Markets – Now we’re getting down to the things I really can’t see the fascination with. German markets, Christmas markets, call them what you will – but either way, what’s the point? Freezing your nads off – or sweating them off, if you can get a seat next to the patio heater – after queuing for hours for an over-priced pig butty and an even more over-priced pint of German (yeah, right!) lager. Then, go outside to buy some over-priced marmalade, a jar of olives, some impossibly chewy toffee, or a three-foot tall carved wooden rhino that you wouldn’t look twice at if you hadn’t been taken in by the complete nonsense of it all and overcome by festive spirit. What a load of bollocks.
Liverpool Giants – And finally, the piece de resistance – those ridiculous thirty-odd foot tall puppets that are dragged round the streets of Liverpool for a whole weekend every year. Literally thousands of people turn up to line the city streets to watch a model of an old woman sleep all day long and to see a young girl puppet piss in the street. Authentic Liverpool, I grant you, but is it really all that? The millions of pictures posted on Facebook are a testament to its popularity and everyone raves about it. But do they really? Or are they just afraid of being labelled called a philistine?
See you at the roadside for the Emperor’s parade – Griff