Saturday, 6 April 2013

Offended? Really?

There seems to be a new career or maybe hobby proliferating these days - that of becoming 'offended' at something, and making a huge fuss about it. The mistake comes when people pander to the 'offended,' even when some of the 'offences'  are not offences to any reasonable person.

Here are some of the most ludicrous examples I've come across recently:

The first:

  This is a direct copy from News Limited Network, April 02, 2013, 10.50am.

Lego withdraws 'anti-Islamic' Star Wars Jabba the Hutt palace model from sale after complaints

TOY giant Lego has reportedly agreed to stop producing a Star Wars toy product Muslims find offensive.
According to Britain's Independent newspaper, Lego agreed to withdraw the Jabba’s Palace product from production in 2014 to appease those who think it depicts Istanbul's Hagia Sophia, a church-turned-mosque, which is now a museum and one of the city's top tourist attractions.
Muslim groups also said the watchtower/spire of the toy palace - a Lego version of Hutt Castle, a monastery-turned-palace belonging to crime lord Jabba the Hutt - resembled the minaret of a Beirut mosque.

The Turkish Community Forum, which issued the complaint, also said the Lego version of Jabba himself - a giant slug-like gangster who enslaves Princess Leia in Return of the Jedi - resembled a “terrorist” who “likes to smoke hookah and have his victims killed”.

Complaints about the Lego set were first aired in January when the case came to light when a Turkish man expressed his dissatisfaction with the toy after it was purchased for his son by a family member.
After investigating, Dr Melissa G√ľnes, General Secretary of the Turkish Cultural Community, said that Lego had been contacted with an official complaint.

Initially, Lego responded by saying: "The product is however not based on any real building but on a fictional building from a scene in the movie Star Wars Episode VI"

But then they conceded.  How utterly ridiculous.

 The Second:

 From  'Your trusted racing resource'
Brad Waters
Complaint forces name change for Blackman
The David Hayes stable says a complaint resulted in an order from the Registrar of Racehorses to change the name of the impressive debut winner Blackman.

Charles Blackman and the filly, Blackman now 'Lady Blackman'
Blackman, a two-year-old filly by Excellent Art, was named after the famed Australian artist Charles Blackman, whose work has sold for more than $1 million at auction in recent years.
The two-year-old led all the way before beating older horses in decisive fashion at the Geelong Synthetic track on July 10.
Lindsay Park racing manager Jason Timperley said the Euroa stable was surprised to receive a call from the Registrar Of Racehorses wanting to change the two-year-old's name.
"It was a real surprise to get the call to change the name, especially because it was due to one complaint," he said. "We would have thought that any issues would have arisen before she raced and won at Geelong."

Messages condemning the name change flooded Lindsay Park's Twitter feed, @lindsayparkrace, when the organisation publicised the situation on Wednesday morning. Melbourne celebrity John Blackman contacted Lindsay Park to support the camp.
"I am outraged (and so is my wife)," Blackman tweeted. "Political correctness gone absolutely crazy. BTW, I backed Blackman last week so there."
However, Myles Foreman, the chief executive of Racing Information Services Australia said the Registrar Of Racehorses and Lindsay Park agreed to change the filly's name to Lady Blackman.
"There is a provision in the rules that the registrar retains the right to change a horse's name if it deems it necessary," he said. "Concerns were raised about the horse's name but we have tried to balance the needs of everyone involved.
"I have read the tweets and was surprised at the comments. We engaged in a consultative process with the owners and key contacts at the stable to achieve the right outcome.
"There was an agreement from the horse's owners to change her name to Lady Blackman."
Foreman said such occurrences were "very infrequent" when considering owners and trainers presented more than 54,000 names to the Registrar of Racehorses for consideration every year.

But 'black' is a colour. It is not an insult. A black man is a man who is black. There is no hint that black is somehow inferior, it is just a description. Perhaps it is those that think 'Blackman' is some sort of insult and 'offensive' are those who are racist. Black is not inferior to white. If a horse is black or a dog or even a goldfish, call it black. If a man is black, he is black. It is not wrong to describe him as such.  The silly thing is that it is often not the supposed-to-be-offended who complain, but someone else on their behalf. Any self-respecting black man would just laugh at this silly, silly, SILLY cave-in to a very silly complainant.

The Third:

Tim Mathieson, the partner of our Prime Minister, made a light-hearted remark about the routine examination for prostate cancer - something about hoping for a female Asian doctor rather than a big chap with a big finger.  I could never work out exactly who this was supposed to offend. Asians are generally smaller than other races, and would have smaller fingers. Women are mostly smaller than men and have smaller fingers.  This is simple fact. Pacific Islanders tend to be enormous. These are racial differences. It is not 'racist' to acknowledge the facts of differences. No-one is saying that any race is better than another - just that in some circumstances, a smaller finger has definite advantages. 

Really long thing fingers would be even better for this purpose, as in some depictions of aliens, but I've yet to meet an ET type qualified doctor.

And yet, for this light-hearted remark that was totally innoffensive to any reasonable being, poor Tim was expected to offer a grovelling apology.  
 The Bigpond Home Page:  PM admits her bloke's joke was poor
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 » 08:11pm  
Prime Minister Julia Gillard agrees her partner's joke about prostate cancer and Asian women was in poor taste and says he did the right thing in apologising.
Tim Mathieson landed in hot water after delivering the joke to members of the West Indian cricket team at a reception at The Lodge in Canberra on Monday, as Ms Gillard stood behind him.
'We can get a blood test for it but the digital examination is the only true way to get a correct reading on your prostate so make sure you go and do that, and perhaps look for a small Asian female doctor is probably the best way,' he joked.
While the joke did attract some laughs, others were not amused. Federal Liberal MP Kelly O'Dwyer said the joke was tasteless, inappropriate and lacked judgment.
Mr Mathieson was quick to apologise.
'It was meant as a joke and on reflection I accept it was in poor taste,' he said in a brief statement issued by the prime minister's office on Tuesday.
'I apologise for any offence caused.'
Ms Gillard said her partner was passionate about promoting men's health but the joke did warrant an apology.
'He could have picked his words a lot better and he has apologised for it,' she told reporters in Canberra.
Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia chief executive Anthony Lowe downplayed the gaffe, saying Mr Mathieson was a strong advocate for men's health.
'Men often use humour to deal with difficult or embarrassing issues like the digital rectum examination,' Dr Lowe told AAP.
'I'm sure he meant it in a light-hearted way of getting the message across. Of course it's a little bit unfortunate, the words he used.'
However, Dr Lowe did question the accuracy of Mr Mathieson's advice.
'Neither test is perfect but we would recommend that men over 50 talk to their doctor about getting both the blood test and the physical examination,' he said.
Shadow attorney-general George Brandis said while the joke was 'slightly unfortunate' he believed the episode highlighted that political correctness had gone too far.
'The joke was in poor taste but that having been said, I don't think we want to have in this country a culture of finger-wagging and confected outrage,' he said.
But Australian Greens leader Christine Milne, who was at the function on Monday, said it was good for people to think twice about their off-the-cuff remarks.
'Whilst part of our culture is larrikinism, it has led to some pretty unfortunate consequences in the way people tend to express that,' she told reporters in Canberra.

And what else?  'Merry Christmas' that has become 'Happy Holiday,' objections to an Easter bonnet parade, objections to flying the Australian flag.  It is time to tell people to develop a thicker skin.  As George Brandis said in relation to the joke about digital prostate examiniations, we do not want to develop   "a culture of finger-wagging and confected outrage."  Because I do not believe that a lot of this 'being offended' is genuine. It simply gives some people a sense of power to inconvenience others.

So next time someone says that he is offended, when no reasonable person would be offended - 

And do not consider pandering to the twit.

1 comment:

  1. Well said! Political correctness is often no more than politicians and commercial organisations not wishing to offend ANY potential customers. There's nothing ethical about it, just money and votes.