Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Political Correctness

Over the last few years, I've watched, read, been fascinated and been horrified by the march of Political Correctness in the name of ‘progress’. The original idea was no doubt meant as ‘a good thing’. Unfortunately, we now have an army of ‘Equality Officers’ whose job is to meddle with every known aspect of life. We have to be so careful of any words that may be construed as being racist or bigotist (is that a word Joy?). Nowhere is this stupidity more prevalent than in the UK and to a much lesser degree, the US.

Why do I believe that the UK is worse? Since the European Union said that anyone from a member country could work in any other member country, about one million Eastern Europeans have descended onto the shores of the UK. Is this a good thing? It certainly seems to be for the Polish community. An estimated 500,000 have arrived in the last few years, despite the UK Government’s (now there’s an Oxymoronic name) claim that only 50,000 would arrive. The problem is that now, Police Forces are seeking to recruit Polish-speaking constables. Polish lessons are being forced upon local plods in such exotic places as Wrexham in Wales. Before anyone asks, no, they don’t have to speak Welsh, so the indigenous folks are no longer catered for.

I recall that a few years back, I had the misfortune to end up in a hospital in Wales due to an asthma attack. I was attended by two doctors, one who was Welsh and paid attention, and the other an Indian doctor who didn’t. I was castigated for speaking Welsh by the Indian doctor, and when I happened to mentioned that I was in Wales, he called me a racist. I never quite understood that logic or the conclusion.

I also remember visiting my 90 year-old Aunt at her house on Anglesey (this is the nearest place to the Garden of Eden, but then I’m biased!). During my visit, my Aunt’s ‘health visitor’ came to see her. I was hurried into the kitchen. Turned out that the health visitor didn’t speak Welsh. My Aunt didn’t speak English. I was hurriedly recalled and did the translations. Well, most of them. My Aunt’s comments about the health visitor wouldn’t be good material for family reading. According to the health visitor, my Aunt was both demented and stupid for not being able to speak English. Of course, my Aunt was the racist. Thankfully, due to the efforts of a health worker whose name was Aled Hughes (no relation that I know of) the health visitor’s services were dispensed with. She had the temerity to sue, but lost her case as she should have known that she would be required to speak Welsh.

Be that may, I digress. The latest round of being Politically Correct has reached my eyes. Today's Political Correctness comes in the form of no longer being allowed to refer to dates as AD or BC. They are now to be referred to as CE - Common Era, or BCE - you've guessed it, Before Common Era. These initials have been touted as more sensitive to people of faiths outside of Christianity. These initials are now appearing in school textbooks in place of AD and BC. By the way, the year of Christ’s birth is referred to as ISO 8601. Stop the planet, I want to get off! Is there no end to this lunacy?

Here endeth today’s lesson.

PS I was born in 1944 CE. 63 years ago next week.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Avengers

A guest appearance on Frasier (US Comedy) by Patrick Macnee (John Steed) reminded me of the Avengers. Not the Hillman kind, you understand. When I lived in Palm Springs, California, I used to bump into Mr. Macnee regularly at one of our watering holes. I recall he used to drive an old Rolls-Royce, with the steering wheel on the right. He was always a very pleasant man to chat to.

Back to the Avengers. There was Honor Blackman. Every schoolboy in short pants' dream of a woman. In my Grammar School, we would spend hours in our lessons imagining what pleasure she could bestow. She's now over 80, and has a relationship with a 57 year old.... on a par with Norma, one of my neighbors, and her toy-boy Juan! She recently had major 'plumbing' surgery, and her concern was, "Will I still be able to have sex?" There's hope for me yet!

Then there is Diana Rigg. Spent much of her childhood in India, and is apparently still fluent in Hindi. Must be useful in Doncaster, England, where she was born. Many pundits claimed that she was/is a lesbian, but this has been dismissed by her several husbands. During her filming as James Bond's wife in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service", she often refused to play the part opposite George Lazenby (Bond) as he had eaten garlic! She's gone up in my estimation! Saw her once in the West End of London.... no, she didn't remember me. But then again, that was Honor Blackman.....

Then there was the Chrysler 180 in the UK, an overgown Hillman Avenger, followed by the Chrysler 200, which had a two liter engine and came with an automatic gearbox as standard. One of my buddies in my previous life in the Woolwich Building Society had one. Wonder what happened to Roger. Rumor has it he moved to San Francisco.

Here endeth today's lesson.