Thursday, February 05, 2009

Golliwogs, Race and the Oiks

So her Maj has been flogging gollies.  Once again I ask, who knew? Well, I did, sort of.  Long before all this Carol Thatcher stuff blew up, you will have read of the remarkable and enduring prevalence of golliwogs here on Thought Experiments. Somehow gollies slipped under the anti-racist radar and now they lie around the place like Triumph Heralds or branches of Woolworths - who now remembers them? I don't doubt that they are, in the current climate, offensive and distasteful. The image of blackness they represent is of supine, happy idiocy. But it is peculiarly vile that the creepy little thought police who still infest the BBC used them to a abuse a woman whose only real crime in their eyes is probably that she is Margaret Thatcher's daughter. I don't know Carol Thatcher but I know people who do and the word is she is nice, if a touch dim, and it is inconceivable that she is a racist. So, while acknowledging contemporary sensitivities, it is worth asking: do golliwogs really pose such a threat to social order? The truth is that in a sane, colour-blind society they would not. You could buy toys representing any old race, religion or creed in any old stereotypical way and nobody would bat an eyelid because nobody woud care. But we are a deeply racist society, not just because we discriminate against minorities but because we all discriminate against each other by insisting on this hypertrophied awareness of difference. Not to notice differences that should be irrelevant is to risk being accused of bigotry, which is absurd. It happens to me and I'm honestly incapable of racism. And what's the big thing about Obama? He is black. In fact, he's as white as he is black. There are good, historical reasons for being sensitive about race. But, in the Thatcher case, it's the BBC oiks who are racists. They are the ones who are oppressed by an inhumane awareness of irrelevant difference and by the priggish and hypocritical urge to use it as a weapon against innocent victims.


  1. I, for one like Carol T, she is a bit of a goer. And while I was not a fan of Mrs T, esp' in the last years when she had the bit between the teeth. That programme Carol T was on showed she was a bit of fun and had balls.
    But this is an age thing, Ms T is of an age where the dolls were freely on sale. And when very few made the connection between the dolls and people. And while comparing some red-headed woman with wild hair to Raggedy Anne for the another generation might be a bit cutting, it is a connection between the doll and hair and not that the doll was based on orphans.

  2. But we are a deeply racist society, not just because we discriminate against minorities but because we all discriminate against each other by insisting on this hypertrophied awareness of difference.

    That's just the Boomers. It's not true of subsequent generations, apart obviously from a few idiots, such as BBC suits.

    It's the 'Seasons Greetings' mentality. Some people mean well and think they're going the right thing but they just don't get it.

    Ricky Gervais mined this rich seam for comic gold in Extras.

  3. I'm not sure this bullying carry-on is just from the BBC. What about that nurse who was recently suspended for allegedly breaching "equality and diversity" guidelines in the NHS because she offered to pray for a patient. Same mindset, same "hypertrophied awareness of difference". I suspect we tend to concentrate on the BBC because it conducts more of its affairs in public than do the little Stasi-fanciers in other branches of the State.

  4. I don't, of course, mean to apply that the BBC suits in this case 'meant well'.

    They're just idiots, no doubt with an idiot notion that being a Thatcher = right-wing bigot.

  5. The problem is the political "left"
    Yep I know, you dont think it counts for much, but I do.

    Left wing thinking still even as it has evolved into the "catholic collectivism" that it is now, is still a monist/materialist thought process.

    Thus "social constructions" are still out of bounds for them.

    Society, markets, religion, monarchy, family, marriage ect all fall foul of their materialistic approach to life, and the problems of life, (We could also use the atheist bus as an example of this thinking)

    So when someone uses the taboo social construction of race, they are deemed and damned to be racist.

    I too believe that race is a social construction which we can choose to see or otherwise (and plenty of scientists such as Biologist Armand Leroi at Imperial collage and on the BBC just last week Do believe race is a material fact) But to be racist take much more than seeing race,it has to manifest itself in a negative action, such as a statement of hate, or supremacy or the resulting actions.

    Off the cuff words, from a person like myself who grew up with a gollywog doll in my cot do not count.

    This is paranoia from the management of the BBC, and class hate from some of the people on the ONE show who probably have been brain washed with Marxist drivel at polytechnic media studies.

    Its interesting that the BBC chose not to report that Obama has continue with rendition, this fact obviously does not fit in with their paradigm.

    ..AND when things dont fit, they dig deep into the well of media studies knowledge and just make the facts fit.

    BBC Newsnight - Warming up President Obama’s inaugural speech?

    The BBC are a disgrace.

  6. It is a peculiar kind of racism. That guy in the BBC can get away with saying the Beeb is still 'ridiculously white', that's fine, indeed the liberals sit up and applaud. What if he'd said 'the Curry Mile in Rusholme (Manchester) is ridiculously Asian'?

    Likewise with the prayer furore - it's not about religion per se, it's an attack on Christianity. If a Jihaddist death commando nurse offered to pray to Allah for a patient, that would be fine. Or, for example, today i am going to invoke two pagan gods to sanctify a Mjollnir pendant, which i shall then pass on to a therapist who is racked with appalling nightmares. If, instead of agreeing to let me do the bizz, she had complained about 'that raving lunatic posing as a secretary', at the most i might get a few funny looks from my manager, which i get anyway. Even had i offered to use rune magic for a patient, it wouldn't be as big a deal as offering to pray to the Christian God.

    It's not about freedom from religious bother, it's an attack on Christianity; it is part of an attack on everything that i would call 'English'. And i say that as someone who isn't a Christian...

  7. The Obama point is fundamental. And fundamentally screwed. When people - yes that includes you Jon Snow, Simon Schama, Andrew Sullivan, Uncle Tom Cobleigh and the BBC all - insist on focusing on his colour as his most important positive feature they fail to take into account that when things go wrong, which they will, his colour will also be attached to that. When you insist on judging people through the prism of colour you have to remember that you are doing exactly the same as those people whose views we have all been told to abhor. Sauce, goose, gander.

  8. This morning Jay Hunt said Johnathan Ross was different because he apologised, unlike Carol Thatcher.

    Ross's comments were broadcast, unlike Thatcher's, and no-one at the BBC saw fit to censure them before they went out on air.

    A polytechnic marxism permeates the culture. The News Quiz has Jeremy Hardy, supporter of the Socialist Alliance, who recommended that BNP supporters should be shot in the back of the head when he speaks to the nation. But the utterance of golliwog on BBC premises is offensive. Shades of Howard Kirk at Watermouth.

  9. Goodness knows what the metropolitan mind controllers would have done with the Robertsons Jam Factory in SE6, their logo was a golliwog. None of the workforce minded and 75% of them were coloured.

    And could you explain in plain English Michael said, how saying the word golliwog within the BBCs gulag is offensive when the organisation itself is, to the mugs who fund its lifestyle, an offence.

  10. Yes, and Jeremy Hardy and others happily raise laughs out of mocking Carol T's mother for being old and having had a stroke and openly wishing her dead - none of this is 'offensive'.
    I noticed that ghastly Jay Hunt person said that Carol T 'described' the tennis player 'as a golliwog'. Did she? Did she say 'X is a golliwog'? That's describing, and I very much doubt she did. Or did she refer to her as one, or liken her to one? Much more likely, I'd have thought. But she was allowed to get away with 'describe', no questions asked. Still, this aparatchik's deeply unlikeable performance will only have strengthened support for CT and enmity to the BBC.

  11. Oh and I the woman from the Museum of Childhood (also on the radio this morning) was all for golliwogs and wuld like to see them relaunched as a p toy. I don't suppose we'll be hearing from her again...

  12. Okay, I'm prepared to believe the BBC is racist. So, what would you have them do with her?

    What is a racist? Is it someone who marches with a placard saying ''blacks out!'' or someone who mindlessly holds that it is better to be of one kind than another? And if she is that dim, why is she being paid out of the licence fee to be a journalist?

  13. The drama series The Wire is scatter gunned with the word nigger, used by coloured American actors, the series is immensely enjoyable, I bought the DVDs from Amazon, can I then say that, on behalf of coloured Britons, Amazon is marketing racially offensive material and by purchasing it I am condoning that racism?

    Personally, I detest the individuals within successive governments who have shoved crazy levels of immigration down the countries throat without a single thought given to the consequences, am I therefore a racist?

    "But we are a deeply racist society, not just because we discriminate against minorities but because we all discriminate against each other by insisting on this hypertrophied awareness of difference."
    There exists in any mixed society ethnic tensions and rivalries, so what? is that such a bad thing.
    As for the unhealthy attitude to the use of certain words in private, c'mon, get real folks.

  14. There were three people in the green room whose names we know. Here's my verdict.

    Thatcher: brilliant for refusing to go along with the media circus and make the grovelling public apology demanded to keep her job, having made a private one.

    Chiles and Brand: disgraceful not to have come out publicly in support of her. If this was on top of challenging her at the time about a term they felt was offensive - or merely unwise - all the better.

    It's only through such moral courage that there will be any advance on this kind of stupidity. Each of us needs to take that to heart. Our time will come.

  15. My guess is this is mostly about paranoid protection of the popular one show. Any hint of controversy anywhere near it will result in them kneeing themselves in the mouth like this.

  16. But who on earth uses a term like 'Golliwog' these days anyway? Anyone with half a brain must know that at best it's disrespectful to black people, and at worst insulting, let alone in using it to describe a black person. This wasn't a 'private' comment: there were BBC staff there too. A simple apology would have deflated the whole event.

    If the BBC are wrong, then it's in operating double-standards: Chris Moyles' radio show has contained equally and more objectionable material, which is excused by being 'hip', when many simply find it offensive.

  17. Help...I have a problem, I dont know if its still PC to use uncle Bens rice? Shall I give the blessed beeb a call?

  18. The BBC announced tonight that one of its employees, Jay Hunt has changed her name by deed poll to Witch Hunt.
    Hunt declined to comment on that subject but stated that her remarks earlier in the day were not the ramblings of a strident fascist, just those of a typical BBC manager.

  19. David J, with respect, I deeply disagree. If Thatcher is not a racist - and I'm happy to take the word of Michael White and many others that know her for that - then her use of the dreaded g-word is positively endearing. She really doesn't get it. Nor should she made to get it. Her refusal to do the expected, ritual apology shows that she gets something much more important: about freedom and dignity, the very values used to cloak the perverse hatred of her nameless foes.

    Soon after my previous comment I had to be in a taxi for half an hour, collecting a car just mended. The driver turned out to be a Nigerian (not a surprise, statistically, in these parts) who'd become a German citizen before settling here (rather more so).

    Humour requires boldness, according to Dorothy Parker. I don't claim to be at the Algonquin level - more at the Thatcher one - but I at once said "So a few years back you'd have been fighting against us, then?" Racist - or just stupid? In fact in the privacy of his own cab I'd judged my new friend just right. He laughed and we started to talk about all kinds of things historical and cultural. About how he feels more liberty here in the UK. About the enduring fight for freedom, in every place. About the problem our free society has with Muslim settlers - raised by him, not the first time I've heard such concerns from newcomers of other faiths. About Jesus, who gives all men free choice, including over their political preferences and system, but who demands much deeper things like love and forgiveness. All expressed by this man, happily foreign, like me, to the acute embarrassment such subjects traditionally cause in England. But then the great harm done in the name of Christianity in Africa, well yes ... I think he knew it was real when I said I was sorry there was no time to hear more.

    People are so different, in background and language. There was no way that I was going to raise the synthetic golliwog crisis with my Nigerian/German friend. What a waste of valuable time. Rather, to accept both Carol Thatcher and him for exactly what they are ... that's what I call a worthwhile day.

    According to the Mirror, on seeing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on a nearby monitor, Ms T, under the influence of a glass or two, blurted out that he looked like a very huggable golliwog. Now, the serious-minded French tennis star would have every right to refuse, in real life. But hate speech? Give me a break.

    There are no offended parties here, for me. That is just too ridiculous. Rejecting that possibility is the only appropriate public response. That's why Chiles and Brand should have sprung to Thatcher's defence, however much they cringed at the time and may have said so. (It seems that Brand did show courage in that respect, which is good as far as it goes. But the value system is still all wrong. This is as good a time as any to put it right.)

  20. Adrian Chiles is the missing link between ape and man.

  21. Passerby: Trifle with Uncle Ben or Aunt Jemima at your peril.

  22. Bryan, a bit surprised not to see you posting on the Tarkovsky article in the Guardian. In my view Stalker is not the best Tarkovsky. But I might need to watch it again to make sure.

  23. imagine we lived in south africa and they produces a doll called the 'blood-clot-doll'.

    now imagine that after many years society agreed that this doll was racist.

    is it really correct for someone to 'forget' this and mention the blood-clot-doll.

    not just anyone, but a person of her status, on TV!!

    no, "i dont forget" and say stuff because the simple fact is that i am not (verbally) racist.

    well thats my 5 pence worth anyhow.

  24. Just in case you are Carol, Carol...would you please ask your mum, ill though she is, to come out of retirement and remove Browns goolies and stuff them into his empty optic socket.

    Oh, and Baby Grumplin, that comment you made down in Oz about the porridge scoffing Cyclops is the only sensible thing you've ever said.

  25. The Guardian's online poll was showing 49.9% for the BBC, 51.1% against when I voted a few hours ago. I could so easily have been the .1%. But it shows how finely balanced the issue is, at large.

  26. You're wrong.

    From what I've read:

    Carol used racist language in the workplace, she offended colleagues, and then refused to apologise.

    She's an employee - so has to stick to her employee's rules. That's it.