Thursday, 5 February 2009

Apologies all round!

What comparison? This one is rubbish at tennis.

I posted this over at my place but thought it could do with an airing here. OH's blog attracts more of those who like to be offended at things. Knock yourselves out.


The Queen's own hawkers of baubles to gullible tourists have apologised. For selling overpriced and irrelevant tat to people who don't need it, just like every other tourist shop out there? Have they apologised for running a business? Have they apologised for making a profit?

In a way. They have apologised for selling golliwogs.

Now, nobody on Earth needs a gollywog. It's a stuffed toy. Babies like stuffed toys but they don't much care what colour or shape it is. A purple dinosaur works as well as a brown teddy bear, as long as it's soft and comforting. So nobody actually needs any specific kind of soft toy, much less one that might soon get you arrested for possession if the Righteous get their way.

Some people like them. Those people like them because they remember having one has a child. They didn't wave it at immigrants and chant racist slogans, they took it to bed and cuddled it. They cried when it was lost and were overjoyed when it was found. Those people have fond memories of that particular toy. For the record, I didn't have one and I'm a little old for any kind of cuddly toy now.

I remember when they were just one among many toys and were not regarded as offensive at all. I don't think they're offensive now. The Righteous will seize on that, as they did when Iain Dale made a similar statement, and decry me as a closet racist. That will offend me, but only if I choose to find it offensive to be called a racist.

You know what? Being offended doesn't actually hurt. There is no pain. There is no bleeding. No bones are broken. Nobody has ever been offended to death although I've tried, oh I've tried. Nobody has called in sick with a case of offendedness. Being offended is a matter of choice and that choice is not with the one who 'caused' the offence but with the one who it was aimed at. If you call me racist, whatever your intent, it is up to me to choose whether to be offended or not. You have no control. If I choose not to be offended by being called any particular name, then I will not be offended. Repeat it, embellish it, it will have no effect. You can only offend me if I choose to allow it.

If anyone chooses to be offended on my part, then I am very, very offended by that. It is nobody's choice but mine and taking that choice away will make me angry. It is deciding how I think and how I react without reference to me and that is the most offensive thing anyone can do. It is patronising and controlling behaviour of the worst kind. It is made worse if I am not present when the remark was made and would have continued with my life, blithely unaware of it, without that Righteous offended-by-proxy nonsense that blows every little comment out of proportion, twists its context and spreads the story far further than it should ever have gone.

If such a tale comes to my ears, if someone has called me 'Stumpy' in private and you feel the need to be offended on my behalf and then come and tell me about it, you will receive a response that would make Devil's Kitchen blush. I am not offended by the original remark but I am very offended by the attitude that someone else has the right to decide what I think.

What if those shops selling models of Little Britain's wheelchair character then decided to apologise and take them off the shelves in case I wander in and get upset? I find that particular character hilarious, and would be absolutely outraged to find that a shop had removed all trace in case my delicate sensitivities might be slightly perturbed. I would reach the heights of blistering rage if I found they had done this in response to no complaints at all and had issued an apology aimed at nobody, because nobody has claimed offense.

As indeed, has the Queens own tourist-tat shop. They have removed all golliwogs from sale. Nobody has complained. The makers are now faced with losses in a recession, but they count for nothing in this Righteous world. The tourist-tat shop has apologised to nobody at all and to everyone in general for causing no offence to anyone whatsoever.

I don't want an apology, tourist-tat shop.

I want you to grow a damn brain and use it for its intended purpose. I want you to stand up to the bullies of the professionally offended Righteous and I want you to stop patronising those whose thoughts you cannot possibly know.

It's too much to ask though, isn't it?

OH here. Update: I am SO FUCKING OFFENDED!!!. Have you seen THIS? Have the Norwegians been told??!!



Old Holborn said...

To be offended takes your permission

I can honestly say that nothing offends me.

I refuse to let it. I find many things annoying, distasteful and shocking. But offended?

Nah. Life's too short.

Mark Wadsworth said...

I tell you what would be fun.

Bring out a similar toy but with white skin and blonde hair called a 'Gayliwog'. And one with red hair called 'Gingiwog'* and one with glasses called 'Gigsiwog' and one with an apron called 'Girliwog' so on, just to see how many people you can offend.

* As a fully paid up ginge, I'd like to register the first protest against this toy, I'll take you to the European Court of Yuman Rights (continued page 94).

Tory Poppins said...

My friend bought me a Gollywog for my 40th birthday and I love it.

Anonymous said...

I remember a story from a few years ago about black guy who'd flown in from Trinidad who was apprehended at customs with a golliwog stuffed with grade A, the officers had seen this chap and his teddy several times in the past and did nothing considering it "ironic", a springer spaniel had different ideas though.

I often wonder if they let him off with a warning, after all having to listen to the G word in court would have been very traumatic for him.

Your Papers Please said...

"Free Speech and I don’t care who I offend. If you are easily offended then you are a cunt"

© Old Holborn

Man with Many Chins said...

I agree with OH completely.

Life is too short

Mark Wadsworth said...

Anon, there'll be a special toy with suspiciously thick trousers called a "Gangawog".

MWMC, for you I have reserved the "Girthywog" toy, a sort of round shapeless thing with beads of sweat on its forehead when it climbs stairs.

I don't want to ignore people with funny teeth, so we'll have "Gappiwog" as well.

... and for those weird kids who get on with teachers, there'll be "Gym-iwog" and for real smartarses there'll be "Gap-year-i-wog"

If there's anybody who feels offended at not having been offended yet, there's plenty more where that came from.

Anonymous said...

Being offended doesn't actually hurt agreed but when it comes to the high court. You had better believe being libelled makes you better off than being injured Elton you know Reg was devastated at wot the sun rote abaht him. The cheque made up for it though.

Leg-iron said...

Anon- libel isn't the same as offensive.

Libel is making untrue allegations about someone that could damage their career or standing. Like insistently calling someone 'paedo' - if someone did that to you and it got around your town, your life wouldn't be worth living and the crazed vigilantes won't bother to check if your accuser is telling the truth. That would be a case for libel and the libeller would have to prove that the allegations they made were true. When they can't, they have to give you a rather large bag of money and might even get a visit to the Long Holiday Place.

Offense is where someone gets a bit miffed, as when you go up to someone with ginger hair and call them carrot-top. It's an insult but it doesn't damage them in any way. In fact they'll find most people will side with them if it came to an argument.

As for offensive toys, I have got to get a load of these in before all my nieces and nephews birthdays...

I have a sister-in-law who hates me. Can't think why.

Angry Exile said...

Hands up anyone who thinks the professional offense takers who get their dicks in a knot over this sort of thing on behalf of minorities (who don't seem to always know that they're supposed to be offended) are themselves a bunch of patronizing racists cunts.

TheFatBigot said...

There seems to be a missing link in this Thatcher-Gollywog farce.

As I understand it she said a particular professional tennis player looks like a gollywog.

Does he?

If he does, what's the problem? If he doesn't, she needs her eyes testing.

Leg-iron said...

Angry Exile - that's what makes them Righteous.

When Christmas is renamed to some kind of winter festivity 'in case it offends other religions', the other religions are not offended and don't know it's happening until it's happened.

When blackboards are not allowed to be called blackboards, and phones are 'dark grey' instead of black, black people aren't doing that and often don't know it's been done.

The Righteous do it. They are always white and well-off. They are never noticed. Public anger turns on those minorities who don't even realise they're meant to be offended. The minorities get the blame and the Righteous get to impose more rules and call us racists.

Other races and cultures have their Righteous too and they are quick to take advantage. Our Righteous encourage this because it causes more anger and division and therefore more rules and more control.

The Righteous don't care about minorities, children, or (lately) pets. Every issue is about control.

Patronising - yes. In spades (go on, Righteous, you know you want to).

Racist - yes. They emphasise racial divisions and deliberately deepen the divisions. Left alone, incomers integrate. Given translations to everything, they don't learn English and can't integrate and so become pets of the Righteous forever.

Cunts - goes without saying. These people are going to bring about Armageddon which, they will say, is for our own good.

And the worst part is, they'll believe it.

Leg-iron said...

FB - as far as I can determine, she said his hair reminded her of the jam golliwog. He hasn't been identified and as far as I know, hasn't said anything at all on this.

It's offense by proxy, nothing more. It's patronising to the tennis player at the least. He hasn't said he's offended so what right has anyone else to decide what he thinks?

Mitch said...

Put a bourka on it and call it a mussiwog then you can really wind people up.

Anonymous said...

If I were on the list of the righteous approved minority list I would be offended by their treating me like a retarded child whose sensibilities have to be protected from those cruel other children. I would expect equal rights but no more than that.

lilith said...

For golly fans everywhere...

The Penguin said...

I have provisionally awarded the adulterous brummie snitch "Prick Of The Month" for grassing her up.

The Penguin.

Anonymous said...


Just a word about dolls. My daughter grew up in Cape Town (in former days....), played with an African girl, who had a black version of a familiar doll. Neither of them noticed. They were dolls.

On insults .. the one applied to me that I liked best was 'langhaar betoger'. Ampers can translate.


Anonymous said...

I dont think any child views their goliwog as a black person, i know I didnt. I loved my goliwog for what it was, a cuddly toy...well until i reached puberty,then I tore it a new arsehole and fucked it.

Markbaldy said...

Someone should produce President Obama and Lewis Hamilton golliwogs... what about Robertsons mamalade - they have experience with that don't they - yes do it please !

Mark Wadsworth said...

... and to offend Leg-Iron, we could have one with a leather mask called Gimpiwog. The unemployed will be indignant about Girowog, who just sits on the couch all day watching TV.

Dave said...

Where can I get a gollywog to wear with pride?

Also, read this poor whinging journo over at timesonline

Why not send him a nice comment along the lines of "Get a life and get over it you sad ugly whinger!"

For fucks sake.

R Nosgrove said...

I'm gonna get a golliwog and sell it. If I call it Mohammed (gollyness be upon him) will I be making a prophet?


Chalcedon said...

You utter bastard! You have given me the urge to go out and buy a bloody Golliwog! Dammit!

Andy Pandy said...

Not accurate, LI, that it's only whites who take offence on behalf of minorities. A few years ago my gf had a stall at a fete selling self-published books for toddlers. One was called The Black Beast and was about a little boy who got frightened by something in the dark, then realised it was only the beloved family cat.
A middle-aged West Indian woman saw the book on display and ranted and raved full volume for about 5 minutes, using the R word about a 1000 times. My gf was so upset she had to pack up and go home.

Old Holborn said...

Lots of Golliwogs for SALE

Antipholus Papps said...

I have no problem with Christmas being renamed 'Winter Festival', as long as we can call Ramadan 'Uncle Tubby's Midnight Pig-Out'. (© Glenn Wool)

@ Mark Wadsworth:
Surely a Golly with irregular teeth would be Gummiwog?

Anonymous said...

Blah... blah... blah... Golly was banned by the Nazis...
They didn't want little children growing up thinking black persons were loveable.

Anonymous said...

Very good summary of how I feel about the offence industry OH.

I find when most people say they are offended it's just a pavlovian response.

When my children often say 'you can't say that' a little piece of me dies inside, knowing my offspring have been polluted by the cultural marxists that pass for school teachers.

Ali said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BigBadWolf said...

My Personal FAVOURITE of the Righteous came to my attention through a primary school teacher who I know. She told me the popular nursery rhyme Baa Baa Black sheep was now to be referred to as baa baa rainbow sheep!!!

I have decided to purchase a gollywog and Nail it to my door and Thatcher was right that french fellow does look like a Gollywog, after she referred to him as a Gollywog-frog and then half-a-Gollywog.

Surprising a psyhotic bitch spawn has such a sense of humour!!!

Anonymous said...

Saw this on the The Times website thought you lot would be interested

The word golliwog has a special meaning for me. Like my five brothers, I went to a prep school in Edinburgh. I was only six years old, probably younger than most at the time. I was excited about leaving home for a new school, where, I had heard, deserts were served after every meal.

On my way to school from Edinburgh airport, to calm my nerves, my father told me funny stories. I remember him chuckling as he told me how two of his fellow students at the University of London had once asked to see his tail. He became pensive after that and moved on to his expectations of me, reminding me to behave myself. I understood what the consequences would be if I dared to disobey him.

Looking back now, I realise that my parents may have played down my blackness to avoid deepening the trauma of going to a school where I would be the only black face. This may have been a good thing because I didn't see myself as different. Unfortunately, boarding school wasn't about how I saw myself but what others saw when they looked at me.

I settled into the business of making friends. I didn't see my schoolmates as white, I just saw playmates whose hair I played with just as much as they played with mine. All that changed the day a boy kicked me and called me black Sambo after a particularly impressive shot in rounders. I think he felt diminished as the acknowledged big-hitter of the class. I wasn't offended by the name Sambo but I was taken aback by the word black. Why? Because it was a horrible reminder of the differences between us. I cringe when I remember that the best riposte I could come up with was, “Get lost, you white Sambo!”

And so, the name-calling began. It was as if that boy had prised the scab off a ripe boil. From then on, everywhere I turned, it was “black Sambo”, “oh, the black nigger”, with a guttural delivery, “nig-nog” and of course “golliwog”. The golliwog, which until then seemed to me a harmless jolly symbol of Robertson's Jam, had become a mocking parody of my difference.

Inevitably, I began to resent my blackness. I felt weak because I didn't have the tools to fight back. I didn't have any dirt on whiteness.

I returned to Nigeria at the age of 11, looking forward to blending in for once, only to find that my accent meant that I might as well have been white. I fought to belong and worked hard to shed my British accent. I took a keen interest in the history of my people and began to understand the significance of momentous periods such as the slave trade and later colonialism.

It was not until my university years, when I studied African-American literature, that I fully grasped the deeper implications of these periods on race relations outside Africa. Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, for example, showed me how important it was for African-Americans to preserve their blackness to feel complete.

I think it was then that I realised the deep significance of cultural identity and how rootless one is without it. I vowed that my children would grow up being proud of their heritage. Now, a writer, married with four children, I am back living in the UK. Last year, my son was given a generous bursary at a boarding school in Oxford. A few weeks before he left, the story my father told me came back to me as I wondered how best to prepare him for the inevitable colour-related comments from the more mischievous of his schoolmates.

I called him to my bedroom for a chat. There was no way that I was going to send him to school with my version of “show me your tail”; I had to do more than my parents had done. I did not want to scare him, or make him obsess; I had to get the balance right.

I brought out the notepad that I'd tucked under my pillow and asked him if he was aware of any names that black people were called. One by one, we talked about each one. I took great pains to explain implications of each name. He'd never heard of golliwog, but I told him about it anyway. I told him about the doll and its thick, blood-red lips; its sick, mouth-half-open smile; and its short, permanently-outstretched arms. The more I described the golliwog, the more horrified he looked.

I told him that the image reminded me of the slaves, the “yes massa” tactic that many of them adopted; how they pretended to be docile just to survive. “I will never let anyone call me that,” my son said. I smiled to myself and hoped that his rite of passage would be less painful than mine.

The world has changed a lot in the past 30 years. I was pleasantly surprised that my son had never even heard the word golliwog, which shows just how racially sensitive society has become.

Unlike dark-skinned dolls or black action men, golliwogs, like the black and white minstrels, are a caricature of black features. Without a doubt, this is out of place in a world where we are trying to teach our children to celebrate their differences.

I have no idea what world Carol Thatcher lives in, who she talks to or who her friends are. What I do know is there's something about her that reminds me of all those spoilt, white kids at my boarding school who blurted things - often thinking they were being funny - always without fully considering the effect their words had on other people.

Perhaps they didn't know better, but Carol Thatcher should have.

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