We all know and understand that there are certain types of behaviour, dress or words that can be deemed offensive. The language used by Reginald D. Hunter
might be suitable for a show or a concert, but not in front of your five-year-old daughter. Similarly, a woman who wears a low cut dress to a funeral might rightly be accused of being disrespectful rather than sensuous. How about wearing a sombrero? Hmm, most people wouldn't wear one of those to a funeral, at least not in England, but they are believed to be rather popular in Mexico. How about wearing one to a fancy dress party? Sounds okay, but not in Birmingham, apparently. That's Birmingham, UK, not Birmingham, Alabama.
According to this widely reported story
, the University of Birmingham has managed to find racism
in a sombrero, and the Mexican hat is now to be banned from fancy dress parties. One is tempted to ask if this applies to Mexican restaurants as well; there are several of these
in the Birmingham area. Meanwhile, 75 miles up the road as the crow flies, two delightful young things who dressed as the Twin Towers for a Halloween party
might just have overstepped the mark; perhaps they should have gone as Michael Myers
? But can it really be considered offensive to dress as a Native American in Colorado? According to the National Ledger
, the University has banned
"Any Indian costume, Native Americans feathers, headdresses or other items...overly sexualized costumes...ghetto costumes..."
Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the University was also anxious not to offend mere crackers, so "white trash" outfits were not allowed either, though curiously there is no mention of Hindus and their liking for swastikas
It remains to be seen if this policy will be enforced next year, but one that is not confined to Halloween and has little if anything to do with fancy dress is the little matter of faggots. Here is a short blog from a charming young lady who sums up the history of the word faggot
succinctly. Cultured individual that you are, you were probably of the opinion that it referred only to a musical instrument, as pictured here
In certain parts of England and Wales (including Iceland
), faggots are a nourishing food; as the name in this context dates from the middle of the 19th Century, there is no reason for modern persons of a certain sexual orientation to take offence to it. Tell that to Facebook! Recently a man from the West Country — where the cider apples grow
— found himself hit with a 12-hour ban for "liking faggots
." (If he'd admitted liking faggots in certain parts of Africa
, he could have found himself in real trouble). Alas, it is not only men who like faggots who are likely to be banned from Facebook but Britain's premiere producer of faggots, Mr Brain's
There is now a full-blooded campaign to reinstate faggots
to Facebook. Ironic isn't it that faggots are produced by Mr Brain's? Quite a few people seem to be missing brains in this politically correct age, or at least that part of it that handles common sense.