Knee jerk reactions are nothing new in today’s world. I’ve seen companies do it before the third syllable of the word “recession” gets out and now all it takes is a hashtag for a moment of silliness on social media from years before to come back and completely destroy someone’s reputation and career when a simple: “Yeah, I was bang out of order that night, I’m genuinely sorry,” should suffice.
And, like all knee jerk reactions, they inevitably go way too far.
Looting and vandalism has nothing to do with protest. It’s anarchy plain and simple.
If you want to review who your school or college is named after or whose statue dominates your town centre, fine, knock yourself out, but pulling them down in a frenzy of violence is just daft and pointless.
And no matter how much people want to claim the zeitgeist justifies it, there has to be some thought applied, some sense of reason.
Take Winston Churchill. I don’t think anyone would claim he was a perfect human being, but he was a product of the times he lived in and, of course, his privileged background, so yes, he was a colonialist, but he is also the reason we are today allowed to voice our own opinions and even spray paint his statue with little consequence because without Churchill we would be watching public hangings on a daily basis with swastikas on our sleeves.
The clowns causing havoc on London’s streets at the weekend should consider that.
And all their actions do is give far-right “statue protectors” and excuse to turn it into a civil war.
Add to that the #righton decision to remove series like Little Britain, The Mighty Boosh, League of Gentlemen and, for a couple of days there before common sense prevailed at the BBC, the Germans episode of Fawlty Towers, possibly the funniest piece of episodic comedy ever written, and you really are in the realm of the completely crackers.
There was also a complaint about the character Chinese Alan in Gavin and Stacey – and he’s actually a white guy who has the catchphrase “anyone fancy a Chinese?”
There are shows from the 1970s, such as Mind Your Language, which dealt in racial stereotypes without a shred of irony, that are obviously offensive in today’s society, but to include characters like Papa Lazarou or the Bo Selecta Michael Jackson, Craig David or Trisha Goddard in that category is ludicrous and how dare they impose censorship on us.
I haven’t seen anyone demanding that the English restaurant sketch from Goodness Gracious Me be forever locked away in a lead-lined box. Strange that, because it does exactly the same job as the supposedly offensive creations of Lee Francis, Noel Fielding, Julian Fellows, Matt Lucas, David Walliams, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith.
OTT craziness like this just detracts from the actual problem, which is social inequality.
What’s next – book burning?
Eyes on the ball folks. There are serious issues at play here which need to be resolved and the death of George Floyd nay just be the final catalyst, certainly to force a clean out of racists with a badge both in the UK and the US.
But #politicalcorrectdoogoodernannykneejerktypes are ruining it just as surely as the nobs who think the answer is putting a brick through a shop window and spray painting a statue of Churchill.
We’re well beyond torches and pitchforks. At least I thought we were.
Stupid TV Quiz answers of the week
Q: Dundonians are natives of which Scottish city
Q: What type of reptile is an iguana?
A: A sort of iguana insect thing?