Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bad Vans

Anyway, speaking of bad words, I should have made the point that 'yid', 'hacks' and sundry other tribal signifiers do not mean a particularly bad member of the tribe. All yids are yids and all hacks hacks as far as I am concerned. This removes all stigma. But what about white vans? I have often been summoned by white van drivers offering dodgy gear like 'high end' stereo speakers which are, in fact, banged together from bits knicked from Currys. So I was walking along Notting Hill Gate when I saw a parked white van, the nearside window open and a man waving and trying to persuade some pedestrians to talk to him. None did because, of course, around these parts they've got all the high end speakers they need and, anyway, they hate white van man with a rare passion. I, however, being devoid of prejudice, strode boldly over to the man, a slightly desperate bloke who, in the event, wanted to know the way to Shepherds Bush. But, in the white van, he was, to everybody else, a crook, though probably not a hack or a yid. 'White Van Man' - we need to get the Fabians on to this shockingly discriminatory phrase.


  1. A perfect example demonstrating that it's actions not words that are offensive.

    All these questionable terms seem to me to be a natural form of cultural shorthand and context is vital to understanding how they are used. And has it ever been proved that changing the way people speak will change the way they will think?

  2. I know what a yid is, but what's a hack? Here it would be a writer of the sort I am, but you use it as if it's an ethnic slur. But maybe you're being Eye-Ronic.

  3. when I bought my van I had them respray it British racing green - it was much admired.

    he wasn't flogging sat-navs then?