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Cheers - AE

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Un expected news: the BBC caves in.

Twice in quick succession, in fact. Most recently to Mexico, of course, because a proud nation can so easily be brought to its knees by jibes about its cuisine from some shortarse Brummie TV presenter with a famous dislike of any food that looks like it comes from further than Kent, along with some old stereotypes that nobody takes seriously anymore.
The BBC said it had now written to the ambassador to say it was sorry if the programme caused offence.
And also to Japan because of the A-bomb comments on QI, because sixty-five years is too soon even for what were very light hearted remarks.
We are very sorry for any offence caused.
The usual format non-apology apologies again, you'll have noticed. Why can't a 'spokesperson' just be fucking honest one day and say that they're not bloody sorry and that this culture of offence seeking is the worst kind of one-sided, passive-aggressive, bullshit control freakery, and it says far more about the people who practise it than those whom they seek to silence. For Christ's fucking sake, Stephen Fry has had to cancel plans to go to Japan because of this! Watch the fucking clip - the poor bastard is being nailed to a fucking cross despite the fact he barely said anything beyond Yamaguchi being either the luckiest or unluckiest man ever depending on how you looked at it. And what the fuck's wrong with that? Yamaguchi was unarguably very unlucky to have been present and on the receiving end for both hostile uses of a nuclear weapon, yet he was also incredibly lucky to have survived both. An entirely factual remark delivered with no hint of disrespect (a word I don't like to use because it's one of the favourite verbal whores of the professionally offended). Is it because Fry hosts the show and sits in the middle that some Japanese are blaming him for the less sensitive (but still very lightweight) comments of other panelists, or does the translation into Japanese imply something beyond Fry's fairly neutral and factual remark? Could be the latter.
Roland Kelts, a half-Japanese author who had been due to work on the parts of the production due to be filmed in the country, suggested the reaction to the QI comments had been over the top.

"In video footage, one can easily see, if one speaks and understands English fluently, that the hosts are tiptoeing around the obvious offence, trying to strike a balance between humour and respect."

He added: "In this age of instantaneous visual language, all subtlety was lost, especially on reactionary right-wing Japanese folks keen to kick up a fight."
Maybe, but I also worry that the 21st Century is becoming the age of the professional offence seeker and the professional apologiser (usually know as an unnamed spokesperson for the offending organisation).

Well I'm offended too. I'm offended by the way these constant apologies make my native country look like a bunch of weak-kneed, insecure, spineless, contemptible softcocks who are so pathetically worried about what other people think that they don't dare have an opinion or a thought of their own in case someone else doesn't agree, takes it the wrong way or finds it even vaguely upsetting for almost any reason whatsoever. It reflects poorly on... ancient nation... noble... proud history... national pride... particularly disappointed that apparent admission makes Britons look guilty of accusations made... implies we are ignorant and xenophobic savages... deeply hurtful...  cultural values...  etc, etc, etc.
Fill in the fucking blanks and send me a cheque.*

Alternatively just harden the fuck up next time and explain to whoever complains that the right to free speech means accepting that in return for being able to say what you wish you must accept that you may not always like what you hear, that there is not and cannot be a right not to be offended, that how one person chooses to interpret and react to the remarks and opinions of another is their own choice, and above all that if any of this might lead to problems then not watching the TV, or indeed not ever even leaving the fucking house, is the only practical course of action.

And if that offends anyone, that's too fucking bad. I try to be honest enough to let you know that I'd be lying if I said I was sorry.

* Actually I will think seriously about drafting a letter taking offence at the constant capitulation to offence seekers. It might be interesting to see what sort of response it gets.
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