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??!!
ARRRGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!HH...IT'S BABARA WINDSOR!!