Thursday, 19 August 2010

Boobies offensive, potty mouth words not.

There is no greater crime in this country at the moment than being ‘offensive’. Despite the fact that it is a subjective term, a single accusation of the act of causing offence is enough to get the authorities jumping on you like a ton bricks.

Don’t be offensive, OK? It isn’t worth the hassle. Don’t worry about what is offensive, and what isn’t, it’s not your place to make that judgement. Someone else will do that for you. You’ll probably never find out who that person is, or whatever it is that you have done which has offended them so, but hey, that’s your problem. Don’t produce anything offensive, don’t act in a manner likely to offend, and certainly don’t say anything which isn’t likely to offend, but causes offence anyway just because someone has decided they quite like the idea of taking offence at something trivial and fairly un-offensive.

One of the best places to find the professional offendee is in the public sector. Believe me, I work there, I know.

So it is not in the least bit surprising to find that North Norfolk District Council has pounced with the speed of a famished jaguar upon a display of artwork in its own offices which contains examples of . . .

. . . I hesitate to say it, it really is quite shocking. . .

. . . how best to put it without making you all fall into an unseemly swoon?

Ah yes, some of the paintings are of naked ladies.

Can you imagine? Have you ever heard of the like? Well, not surprisingly, this display has generated quite the controversy in the corridors of power.

Before the morning was out, the artwork had been taken down and packed up, ready to be returned to sender.
The reason, according to council leisure and cultural services manager Karl Read, was because there had been "a number of complaints from members of staff and union representatives who found the paintings offensive".

Let’s hope this doesn’t set a trend, it could be a worrying precedent for places like Florence’s Uffizi, I’m pretty sure that’s council owned. What would the future hold for Boticelli’s Birth of Venus?
Shockingly, the paintings weren’t torn down from the walls and thrown on a bonfire whilst the equality and diversity department shrieked curses of intolerance and exploitation at the conflagration. No, they’ve been put up in an art gallery. So they’ve gone from council offices where no-one will see them to an area where everyone can see them and be offended to such an extent that I wonder if the local ambulance service will be able to cope with the strain on their resources.

No matter, the important thing is that a ‘number’ of people (note that, not tens, dozens, scores or legions. One person is a number of people) found them offensive, so they have been removed.


Oh, hullo, what’s this I spy?

You know what I’m going to say, don’t you? Yes, that’s right it’s one rule for us and another for them. It’s not a problem with being offensive, it’s a problem with you being offensive. They can be as offensive as they like.

Council leaders have defended their use of swear words on posters in Sussex to try to tackle dog fouling.
Hastings Borough Council has urged residents to download the new posters from its website, which tell dog walkers to clear up after their pets.

One reads: "Oi! Have you got s**t for brains?" Another says: "Oi! We're not taking your s**t any more!"

Well to be frank, people that don’t clear up after their dogs couldn’t give a shit. This ad campaign will have zero effect. So when Kevin Boorman, says that:

the authority believed it was a "good campaign" and believed it would work.

It has the same effect on me as saying the council work boots department believe that leaving footwear in need of repair out on a work bench with needles and thread will result in the magic elves coming out at night and doing the job for them. It is wishful thinking, and some advertising exec who has no doubt been paid a handsome consultancy fee from the public purse is probably down the pub telling his advertising mates about the cringe inducingly poor campaign he got the council to swallow.

Needless to say there have been complaints that the campaign is offensive.

One resident, who did not want to be named, told the BBC: "They are horrible.
"What kind of impression does this give of the town? And for children - I don't want to be explaining to children why they can't use that word but it's ok to see it on posters."

And she has a point.

It doesn’t matter though, because it is their offence, so none has been called. Public bodies are incapable of making a mistake, it is your perception which is at fault, not their actions.

"The overwhelming support so far is for the campaign, not against it."
Is it, is it really? I’ll bet the good townsfolk of Hastings are queuing around the block to shake the council officials by the hand and that those same officials can’t walk down the street without getting high fives or being given babies to kiss.

Give me strength.

No comments: