Without comment, I commend to you Mark Steyn’s piece on freedom of speech post 9/11.
In such a world, words have no agreed meaning. “There were funky Chinamen from funky Chinatown” is legal or illegal according to whosoever happens to hear it. Indeed, in my very favorite example of this kind of thinking, the very same words can be proof of two entirely different hate crimes. Iqbal Sacranie is a Muslim of such exemplary “moderation” he’s been knighted by the Queen. The head of the Muslim Council of Britain, Sir Iqbal was interviewed on the BBC and expressed the view that homosexuality was “immoral,” was “not acceptable,” “spreads disease,” and “damaged the very foundations of society.” A gay group complained and Sir Iqbal was investigated by Scotland Yard’s “community safety unit” for “hate crimes” and “homophobia.”
Independently but simultaneously, the magazine of GALHA (the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association) called Islam a “barmy doctrine” growing “like a canker” and deeply “homophobic.” In return, the London Race Hate Crime Forum asked Scotland Yard to investigate GALHA for “Islamophobia.”
Got that? If a Muslim says that Islam is opposed to homosexuality, Scotland Yard will investigate him for homophobia; but if a gay says that Islam is opposed to homosexuality, Scotland Yard will investigate him for Islamophobia.
Actually, I will comment or, rather, I will let Confucius do it: “Above all, call everything by its correct and proper name.”
The Daily Mail, along with Guido Fawkes and others, is quite rightly having a lot of fun with this online NHS ad for an anaesthetist:
Across the pond, the National Review has also picked up on it, with Corner blogger John Derbyshire saying it’s an example of a “newspaper editor’s worst nightmare…that his scribbled instructions to journalists (“insert usual blather abt need 2 fix schools etc …”) might end up in the finished copy.”
It’s similar to those times when a layout artist’s “Insert text here jlkjlkj ssffssd kljllkj” instruction boxes appear in the national papers: similar, but not synonymous, since news editor’s comments often betray a particular feeling on the writer’s part.
Certainly, we all know what the writer of the NHS ad thought about the “usual rubbish” regarding equal opportunities that are de rigueur in public service job ads. Not that he or she was necessarily against equal opportunities, just that, with that wise native intelligence of the average Brit, they had long realised it was a foolish, time-wasting and expensive parroting of meaningless platitudes necessary purely because politicians have decreed it so.
Fellow National Review blogger Richard Brookhiser picked up the baton and mentioned his fave example from the Boston Globe, which I’d not been aware of.
On Saturday, March 15, 1980, following a speech on the economy by President Jimmy Carter, the Globe headlined an editorial:
I’m watching a load of enjoyable tosh about fictional detectives and crime thrillers on ITV3: The A to Z of Crime. It’s one of those mindless portmanteau compilation programmes, though slightly classier than the sort you get on Channel 4 – you do get the actual authors (well some of them, any rate), the stars who have played the detectives on screen and even the guy who came up with DNA profiling, rather than grade Z celebs you’ve never heard of who fronted some programme no-one watched on E4. The DNA guy made the interesting point that the first time DNA profiling was used, it actually proved the suspect innocent.
But don’t you hate it when something you know and love is breezily misrepresented in these sorts of shows? For instance, under “B” they had “The Butler Did It”. Fair enough; it’s a common enough cliché when it comes to ‘tec novels. But then some ignoramus pipes up and says the first case of TBDI was The Musgrave Ritual, the classic Sherlock Holmes story that must rank with The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Speckled Band as the very best of the Holmes oeuvre.
No, No and thrice No! The point of The Musgrave Ritual is not that the butler did it (though you think he may have): in fact the butler, Richard Brunton, is the victim. He’s the one who ends up dead under the flagstones, because it was The Maid Wot Done It.
As a long term Sherlockian, just wanted to get this off my chest.
“Whose was it?”
“He who has gone.”
“Who shall have it?”
“He who will come.”…