Today I just seemed to keep running into examples of human stupidity. This morning P. showed me an article on the site of De Morgen about the current climate of ridiculous political correctness in the UK. Wide-ranging laws against anything that anyone might find ‘offensive’ mean that (according to Terry Jones of Monty Python fame) the film Life of Brian could never have been made nowadays.
The article contained some wonderful examples of political correctness gone mad. For instance the story of the student on a night out in Oxford who asked a mounted police officer “Excuse me, do you realize your horse is gay?”, and was arrested under section 5 of the Public Order Act for making homophobic remarks which were deemed likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress. Or maybe it was really more a question of the police officer feeling ‘insulted’, as British people increasingly do these days, it would seem, and are ever more willing to take concrete steps against their ‘insulters’.
There was also a report that in the canteen of some local government offices in London it isn’t allowed to ask for “black coffee”, as the word “black” is considered offensive; no, you have to ask for “coffee without milk”! I found it very difficult to imagine that anyone could possibly think up such a rule – except as a joke – so I did some online research. I’m not absolutely certain it’s really true, but lots of comments from America on exactly the same matter gave me the impression that it quite possibly is. How anyone’s mind (let alone that of someone who’s in a position to think up rules!) could work like that is totally beyond me. The problem with this sort of ridiculous political correctness is that people have come to associate it with what the British call ‘the left’ and Americans refer to as ‘liberalism’, and online articles about this sort of thing are invariably followed by dozens of comments in which the Rabid Right rail against the Loony Left. Ideas and political parties which are situated anywhere left of ‘no-nonsense conservative’ have had it hard enough since the fall of communism, and they could do without their enemies being handed this sort of easy ammunition!
A bit later I came across another example of Jewish oversensitivity to alleged anti-semitism. When a BBC reporter (Tim Wilcox) was interviewing a French Jewish woman at Sunday’s Paris march and she’d talked about the current anti-semitic climate in Europe, he had dared to suggest (very politely, I might add) that “many critics though of Israel’s policy would suggest that the Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well.” I think he was making an irrelevant comment (after all, what the Israeli government does in Palestine is no excuse for anti-semitism in Europe), and perhaps if he’d thought about it a bit better he would have said ‘Israeli’ rather than ‘Jewish’, but simply stating an undeniable fact can hardly be called anti-semitic. According to Arutz Sheva (IsraelNationalNews.com), however, Tim Wilcox is a notorious anti-semite. Seemingly, during a live daily review of the morning’s papers which he hosted, one of his guests claimed that a “Jewish lobby” was trying to subvert Labour party leader Ed Milliband’s support of a bill to recognize Palestine as a state by pulling funding for his election campaign, and Tim Wilcox allowed him to get away with this anti-semitic comment. Now, if we were talking about America, the existence of a powerful Jewish lobby which does its best to influence the government in a pro-Israel direction would be a well-known and easily demonstrable fact. I don’t know enough about the situation in Britain to know whether it’s equally true there, but it strikes me as quite possible to say the least.
And one last example of human stupidity: the Israeli newspaper aimed at ultra-orthodox Jews which photoshopped all the women out of the photo of the row of world leaders at Sunday’s march in Paris. Unbelievable! Those ultra-orthodox Jews are just as crazy as any other fundamentalists – their only advantage is that there are less of them and they’re less influential!