Ed­i­tor’s com­ment

Lancashire Life - - FRONT PAGE -

I’ve de­cided to vol­un­teer my­self for re-pro­gram­ming so I can sur­vive in the 21st cen­tury with­out com­mit­ting a hate crime. I’m not sure where to go for this – maybe read­ers can help. They often tell me where to go.

It all started, as it so often does, while I was stand­ing at the bar of the Goat Stran­gler’s Arms and men­tioned that I’d taken the wife to see the film, The Favourite.

It was com­ing up to Valen­tine’s Day and you know I like to show her a big time (se­nior cit­i­zen tick­ets for two with a cup of tea plus a choice or bis­cuits – a choco­late hob­nob or a custard cream). Who says ro­mance is dead?

Well, this wasn’t ex­actly

‘The ladies in it kept us­ing a very rude word,’ I re­marked. ‘Very rude in­deed. Have times changed? Can I use it now with­out my dear mother re­volv­ing in the fam­ily crypt?’

Def­i­nitely not, said the pint of mild. ‘That word can only be used with­out caus­ing of­fence by a wo­man, and a very par­tic­u­lar type of wo­man, mainly young and feisty. The sort that snarls if you hold the door open for her.’ Righto, I replied, mak­ing a men­tal note.

I told them Olivia Coleman had picked up a Golden Globe for play­ing Queen Anne in said film and also there get­ting a gong was ac­tor Ben Wishaw who said his per­for­mance in A Very English Scan­dal was a trib­ute to a ‘queer hero’. Ad­dress­ing the whisky and wa­ter, I said: ‘I used to tut quite loudly and roll my eyes when­ever my aged dad used that word. I even­tu­ally trained him to say gay. Was I wrong?’

Si­lence en­sued, then pint of

mild took a thought­ful sip and chipped in: ‘I think if you are gay it’s all right to call your­self queer but if you are not gay and you call some­body queer that’s prob­a­bly going to get you ar­rested.’

Re­as­sured, we moved onto the safer ground of foot­ball. Safer, that is, un­til the lager and lime men­tioned the po­lice were out to ar­rest Chelsea fans who used a par­tic­u­larly un­pleas­ant word to de­scribe Tot­ten­ham sup­port­ers and their re­li­gion.

We all nod­ded our sup­port for the boys in blue (that’s the po­lice, not the Chelsea fans who also hap­pen to wear blue). Then whisky and wa­ter said: ‘That hor­ri­ble word…it’s the same hor­ri­ble word that Tot­ten­ham fans use to de­scribe them­selves, isn’t it?’ ‘Ahh,’ said the pint of mild. ‘That’s true. But I think they say it with irony, if a foot­ball fan can be ironic. Be­sides, there is a strong ar­gu­ment that Tot­ten­ham fans shouldn’t use that word to de­scribe them­selves – not be­cause it’s a hate crime be­cause, if it was, that would make them the per­pe­tra­tor and the vic­tim – but be­cause it gives an ex­cuse to peo­ple who use it in a nasty way.’

We thought we had this clear in our minds and agreed that we didn’t know any­one who used any of these nasty words and if we did we would give them one of our es­pe­cially hard stares. Sud­denly, lager and lime, al­ways a clever dick, asked: ‘So should Ir­ish peo­ple stop mak­ing jokes about Ir­ish peo­ple be­cause it gives us carte blanche to tell Ir­ish jokes? Should I stop watch­ing Fa­ther

Ted re­peats ad nau­seam?’

We all went rather quiet and stared at our shoes, pon­der­ing the enor­mity of this and won­der­ing what we were going to talk about with­out caus­ing of­fence.

Then pint of mild piped up: ‘Can we still tell jokes about York­shire­men?’ With much relief, we all boomed: ‘Oh yes!’

Have a great, yet in­of­fen­sive, month!

Watch your lan­guage Olivia!

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