I’m pretty good at this, but this has been a grand week for others to show off their skills.
Firstly we had a completely pointless bit of research from Ofcom, the body in the UK that oversees, among other things, television and radio broadcasting. They, for reasons known only to themselves (Ofcom is a quango, so can do pretty much what it likes with no real accountability) decided to investigate the offensiveness of some commonly used nicknames.
Calling somebody Scottish ‘Jock’ is apparently ‘mild language, generally of little concern.’ They claim the same for the use of ‘Ginger’ as a nickname for a redhead. However, to call a Welshman ‘Taff’ is to invite his ire, since this is ‘medium language, potentially offensive.’ Either Attitudes to potentially offensive language and gestures on TV and radio is talking out of it arse, or the Welsh are a touchy bunch of humourless Brythonic Celts. My money is on the former.
Nazi? No sweat. Hun? No problem, which is just as well since Glasgow Rangers fans are often referred to as Huns.
But then we get the glaring statement of the bleeding obvious. Ginger, despite being ‘of little concern,’ changes to an insult when ‘more aggression or specific intent to hurt heightens impact.’ Whoever would have though that? Amazing.
The report then blathers on about the importance of context in the use of terms and how they are interpreted. Something else that would never have occurred to me, or to you, eh?
By the way, the most complained about television ad this year has been that bloody irritating one with the bloke in denim hotpants and high heels twerking while some beardy berk in a hi-vis and hardhat pole dances. This was deemed not to have breached any guidelines.
Jamie Oliver, the chirpy television chef, managed to upset an entire country if we’re to believe the frenetic media coverage of this bit of fluff. He committed the heinous crime of suggesting adding chorizo to paella. It’s not a traditional ingredient in Valencia, where the dish originates, but Hey! The world moves on. It’s not as if he suggested adding haggis or blutwurst, is it?
Naturally there was a disproportionate reaction and subsequent row on social media. Some lamebrains have gone so far as to raise a petition for Jamie, Nigella Lawson, Gordon Ramsay, and Lorraine Pascale (never heard of her) to be keelhauled for adding chorizo to other dishes to make them more Spanish.
I’ve had the occasional death threat when I’ve got up people’s noses, but I’ve never managed to piss off a whole country. Note to self. Must try harder.
PS Go back to the title of the report, and tell me about offensive gestures on the radio.