"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Friday, 27 February 2009

Inside the Mind of a Luvvie

Camp Liverpudlian chat-show host Paul O'Grady was interviewed in The Sun yesterday.

Mr O'Grady is most famous in the UK for playing acid-tongued drag act Lily Savage, but since then he has had a very successful tea time talk show on Channel 4.

I would describe him as outspoken, perhaps a typical working class Scouser.

In the interview, he saw fit to stick up for Carol Thatcher over the 'Golliwog Incident'; not because he agreed with what she said, but because:

"I’ve met Carol and she’s lovely, she really is,’ he says. ‘I don’t believe she’s a racist.
'But she shouldn’t be saying things like that. She needs a good slap on the wrist."


However, here is his opinion on Prince Charles calling a Polo chum 'Sooty' (allegedly at the man's request), and Prince Harry larking about on video:

'Paul, 53, is less forgiving of Prince Harry, 24, who called a fellow Army officer a ‘paki’, and his father Prince Charles who calls a friend 'Sooty'.
"For God’s sake, what’s up with these people?’ he tells The Sun. ‘There are certain words you don’t say — in public or private. ‘Re-educate yourself. There’s no excuse. You don’t think like that, never mind talk like that." '

Now that's very interesting use of language. So what's the crux of this issue?

If you're a good friend of Mr O'Grady and he feels he can vouch for your character, then within reason you can say what you like without being judged. It was all just a silly misunderstanding.

However, if you belong to a certain class or group of people, you should 're-educate' yourself if you hold certain opinions, think certain thoughts, or even stupidly say something as a joke or in anger, spur of the moment.

To be completely honest, what shocks me more than a group of close comrades messing around and a racial epithet being used in jest is a popular TV personality telling people that in his opinion, certain thoughts are taboo, and anyone who is even suspected of being guilty (and doesn't have a fashionable celebrity backer like himself) should be 're-educated'.

Am I alone here? Mr O'Grady is openly gay. There was a time, not so very long ago, when public opinion would probably have liked to see him 're-educated'. So clearly the popularity of a measure is not an indication of whether or not it's moral or right.

Got that, Paul?

The way this country is going, I very much doubt anyone will have to 're-educate' themselves; I'm sure there will be a queue of willing volunteers waiting to purge the unbelievers of their out dated, evil notions.

Perhaps Mr O'Grady should open a history book, and take at glance at the goings on of societies such as Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia or communist China and North Korea. That's what you get when the government and those it sanctions to spread its message take an interest in what people think.

He might also then find that the term 're-education' probably has more negative connotations than 'Sooty' or 'Golliwog' - and adjusting for context, of course - is just as offensive to large numbers of people.

Maybe he'll then take his own advice and think before he opens his mouth.

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