God help us all – More contrived offence-taking nonsense from Foolish Foon just when I hoped he was improving. Commenting (needless to say) on the harmless quip by Sky Sports commentator Joe Wheeler to the Otago rugby captain’s praise of their star Japanese player, despite difficulties with his lack of English, Wheeler said, “he was leally, leally, good”. Being New Zealand, naturally there were predictable media promoted fainting fits and the standard tiresome complaints of racism.
Joking about different nationalities’ speech and other peculiarities aint racism. Indeed mostly it’s the opposite, namely a sign of affection.
Jewish comedians for example, dwell on Jewish behavioural clichés of the tightness with money and fusspot mothers ilk. In short, they’re grown-up and enjoy laughing at themselves.
All humour is based on human differences, be they religion, race, physically or whatever and, to repeat, their acknowledgement and taking the mickey is a sign of comradly affection, not derision.
“An Englishman, a Scotsman and an Irishman went into a bar…” “A vicar, a rabbi and a Catholic priest went…”. Age old stuff which would today have Foolish in a fainting fit.
But far from fainting he’d have a heart attack if he heard the banter that goes on with one of my best friends, a maori, when on the tennis court or golf-course.
Mind you, Foolish (and anyone else) wouldn’t understand it as it’s so much part of our vernacular, it’s now hugely abbreviated. For example, what to make of say overhearing this typical exchange on the golf-course. Imagine we’re all square coming up to the last hole.
Me: “To keep it competitive I’m doing the decent thing and keeping the cork in”.
Ryan: shouting “Pull it out; pull it out”.
The translation is that to keep the game competitive I’m bottling up my superior European character. We’ve dozens of such teasing word-plays which brighten our lives.
Ryan double-faults on the tennis court and starts swearing.
“That’ll be God,” I say. “He hates maoris”.
“I know he does, I know, I know,” Ryan will shout, and so it goes.
If Ryan was say short I’d have said the same quip about God hating short buggers and receive the same response, and so on directed back to me.
Perhaps these sort of exchanges are more male behaviour but one thing I know and that is they’re universal.
So back to Foolish Foon and the harmless “leally, leally good” quip.
Having first predictably brought in the prerequisite but totally irrelevant reference to maoridom, Foolish told the media,
“There’s a huge sensitivity on racism issues now going forward…”
I’m fairly pedantic about English and I’m not taking the mickey when I say I found that comment massively offensive on two counts, moreso coming from a senior Government office-holder.
First, the mind-blowing contradictory tenses illiteracy, specifically “now” followed by “going forward” and second, the utter illiteracy, much remarked about of late, of the recent years vogue of the ludicrous “going forward”.
This began with financial commentators who seem unable to utter a sentence without including it, i.e. “X coy’s earning prospects look great going forward”. Their prospects can hardly look great going backwards or sideways.
Foolish compounded his silliness by a reference to the “younger generation not tolerating this”.
Since whenever in human history has the younger generation’s collective copy-catism been anything but a source of amusement?
I’ll sum that up quickly by quoting Mark Twain’s famous observation.
“When I was 14 my father was so ignorant… but when I got to 21 I was astonished by how much he had learned in 7 years”.
Foolish currently behaves like a 15 year old.
The saddest thing about this incident is the commentator Joe Wheeler then apologising. He had nothing to apologise for. Had he been an Australian commentator and such an incident had occurred, he’d have told critics where to go.