Monday, 29 June 2009

The One That Is Exclaiming 'For Crying Out Loud!'. . .

I despair. I really do despair. Before I get to today's fury catalyst. I'll make a couple of points.

Firstly, by banning things that are traditionally English, you play straight into the hands of the people you spend so much time bleating about beating. Namely the BNP. Are you so stupid that you don't realise when you engage in the activity of banning something on the premise of preventing the offence of a hypothetical minority group, all you do is give them a stick with which to beat you?

Secondly, offence, or perhaps more correctly, the taking of offence, is not a passive activity. Leg-Iron has made the point in the past that in order for offence to be given, it has to be taken. Offence cannot be thrust upon you, you have to accept it, to allow yourself to be offended. Some things are truly offensive, supporters singing songs about the holocaust when Israel play football is offensive, for example. However I will state that offence doesn't actually have any consequences. It makes you feel that the offender is a twat, but that's about it. Offence does not cost lives or limbs.

Morris Dancing is not offensive. So I was literally crying 'For fuck's sake!' when I read this story.

A group of Morris dancers say they are "disappointed and frustrated" after performances were cancelled because they wear traditional black make-up.

Why would there be a problem with the black make-up?
Chantry Primary School in Gravesend is one of three event organisers which have cancelled perfomances this year.

The school said it had to weigh up any potential offence to its community.

But how likely is that? Just as we hear about H&S bannings exasperating H&S experts, as the assessment of risk does not take account of the most important aspect, the likelihood of damage being done, decisions are being taken with a hugely amplified risk of offence.

Really, who is actually going to take offence at this display of dancing? Any spectator will realise that this is not some crude pastiche of how black people dance, indeed Border Morris uses the blacking of faces to act as a disguise, not as a lampoon of the population of Africa. If anyone decides they want to take offence and complain, what is to stop the Morris side themselves taking offence at the implication they are terrible racists? Does the accusation of racism trump the feelings of those who have been unjustly accused? The whole situation is ridiculous.

No matter, someone, somewhere, has decided that this could be, not is, offensive, and as a result the display of English cultural heritage must be stopped, 500 years of tradition must be washed away, and the bad guys get another victory, another arrow head for the BNP to loose is forged.

Oh, I don't doubt that the decision has been made for laudable reasons, there is no conspiracy here, it is just that the reasoning is deeply, deeply flawed. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

I leave you with the wonderful Steve Hughes from Nanny Beeb's Comedy Roadshow the other weekend. Excellent stuff which I cannot recommend highly enough, it isn't often I adivse the consumption of media, but please do watch the whole thing.

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