Monday, 23 July 2007

If there is one phrase I really hate it's...


offensive bastard....

..."political correctness gone mad". Makes my blood boil. It is normally used by racists, apologists for racists, and people who like to use terms like coloured and pillow bitters, or who think that gay equality and human rights in general are abhorrent. Prime examples of people who use this phrase are members of the right wing press like Jeremy Clarkson, that fuckwit Gary Bushell from the Sun "newspaper", the ever so tiresome Richard Littlejohn, and most probably the Fox news network. In fact I'm sure that News International have it as both a company trademark and a prerequisite in all editorials, no matter the issue.

That said, this story from the Daily Mail, of all places, actually warrants it's use. Or something similar. Cant be bothered to follow the link? Don't want the Daily Mail on your hard drive?I understand. Let me summarise for you....

Belfast based restaurateur Eddie Fung is planning to open his next Fat Buddha restaurant in Durham next month, having spent a not too shabby £1.3million. He has one in Belfast at the moment and whilst it's not my cup of rice (see what I did there?) it is very popular. So what's the problem eh? Well the ironically named HEAD OF CULTURAL SERVICES, Tracey Ingle has demanded that Mr Fung change the name of his restaurant as she believes it is "provocative" to Buddhists.

In a letter to Mr Fung, Miss Ingle wrote: "To use the name of a major religion's deity in your restaurant brand runs contrary to this city's reputation as a place of equality and respect for others' views and religious beliefs.

"The generic descriptive adjective of "fat" is not in itself a derogatory term when applied generally ...the name implies an Eastern offer [>sic] as it is associated with a religion that grew from Asian countries .It does not, however, offer vegetarian cuisine solely nor does it refer to Buddhist belief systems. The name is provocative."

Mr Fung, 39, (old enough to know better) said: "I cannot believe that this woman should go to so much time and trouble to take issue over an inoffensive name like Fat Buddha.

"No Buddhist is going to be offended by this. The fat Buddha is a symbol of health and happiness." [trumpet fan fare] "It is political correctness gone mad."

And so it is.

For fuck sake even the Buddhist Society said: "Buddhists regard the fat Buddha as lucky. To suggest this is offensive is to misunderstand the faith."

And anyway do you really think we were likely to have rivers of blood as the Buddhists go on a rampage? I don't think so.

I'm pleased that Durham City Council has a head of cultural services. Honest I am. It is genuinely an important position but idiotic decisions like this make a mockery of the position and give the Daily Mail something to get upset about. And leave people with no choice but to say "It's political correctness gone mad!" If Mr Fung had named his restaurant "Chinky Charlie's" or something equally as offensive well then Ms Ingle would have a cast iron complaint. But he didn't, and she doesn't.


In separate but sort of related news the Daily Mail managed another good story recently. This time about Manchester City Council using fake testimonies from fake Manchester residents to explain why congestion charges for motorists would be a good thing. I know it's a good story because it was spotted by and blogged by Toast, Thomas McEldowney, on his blog ysr23.com. It's well worth a look.

Two good stories form the Daily Mail? I need a lie down....

18 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

JD said...

Provokes contrasting reactions

1. Knee-jerk reaction from a bureaucrat who hasn't got round to appreciating cultural complexities. Typical of the black-and-white-but-no-shades-of-grey attitude of politicians globally. Where was she when the Danish cartoons were published? And why hasn't she come out against Evan Almighty?

2. But hang on a sec. There's theological satire (which one could argue is the case with something like Evan Almighty and even Philip Pullman) and there's using religious symbolism and language for commercial purposes. If Fat Buddha is given the green light, then what happens when someone tries to open, say, a sandal shop or a boat-hire place and names it after the relevant religious figure? I wouldn't find it offensive personally, but I'm pretty sure someone would, and they'd have to shut it down. Unfortunately politicians and councils have to be consistent - that's the thing about the law.

Medbh said...

Thanks, Manuel, for pointing out one of my major pet peeves. It drives me batty when people rail on against The PC Police and such crap when they really mean that they're a sexist/racist thug who laments that the white man had to make any concessions in power. It masks ignorance and laziness in not wanting to take a second to speak of a group of human beings as they might wish to be addressed.

On this particular case I think it's just a straight up example of those in power speaking for a minority group, telling them what to find offensive. She's not being PC, she's being an ignorant ass.

Gorilla Bananas said...

"Fat" is offensive. I never call people "fat". I always say "stout" or "plump".

savannah said...

in a world gone mad...i'll say no more, sugar

Manuel said...

JD: Whilst I am all for religious sensitivities and all that most religions should be able to cope with a little gentle joshing and such. It's true people can find offence in the strangest of places but we cant all tip toe constantly worrying about upsetting them. Knobs to the lot of em.

Medbh: Correct on all accounts

GB: I'm "plump" it worries me so

Savannah: I know, you just want to shake your head...

Conortje said...

Totally idiotic indeed. I also hate the phrase except when they use it on 'Peep Show' of course :-) Maybe he should call the restaurant Slim Buddha or Fit Buddha. Now what the hell were you doing reading the daily mail anyways ;-)

MacDara said...

Sorry you start of by saying we should all be carefull about what we say and if were not were being some sort of "ist". But then you decide that naming a restaurant after a religious deity is ok and complaining about it is going to far ?

Maybe I think refering to something as gay is fine but calling some gay is not ?

Maybe calling someone a dirty arab is not ok but calling some a country bogger is ?

We have a Bar in Lebanon called budda bar but just because Buddists dont go getting upset does not mean its right. Would an Allah bar be allowed ? Or a jesus bar?

How about an ear peircing place called hole 'y Jesus?

The point is that just because something does not offend you does not mean someone else will not be offended. Thats why we always hear PC gone mad because we all have different levels of tolerance?

But where it seems to have gone to far is when you start changing names of things that have been around for ages like, Christmas to X Mass or the Holidays?

toast said...

If anyone uses the term 'political correctness gone mad' they really should be corrected and told, with a perfectly straight face that they phrase they should use is 'political correctness gone differently-sane' - sometimes they explode

Manuel said...

conortje: I know I know, I got the story via google alert, honest. I feel so dirty now and not in a good way....

MacDara: For a start I don't think Buddha was a deity. I could be wrong, I doubt it, but I am sure he wasn't. But my point was that the only person offended was the head of cultural services, Ms Ingle. If the Buddhist Society say it'd not offensive then that's good enough for me.

Manuel said...

MacDara: Oh and welcome....

Manuel said...

Toast: it's good and sage advice....

Fat Sparrow said...

"You can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself." Wise words, Mr. Nelson, wise words.

Jesus fuck, people who think they know what's best for everyone really annoy me. If people don't want to spend their money someplace, they don't have to. They can protest it, they can open up a competing restaurant, they can even go vote and get rid of useless offices like "Head of Cultural Services," and then said Head can have some spare time to read up on culture and find out why an avatar of the Buddha is fat, which avatar it is, and what it represents, and the differences between Hindu and Chinese culture and why those two are blended in certain types of Buddhism, not to mention spending some time studying Zen Buddhism, which is particularly useful in learning to cut through the crap in life and developing a sense of humour.

This sort of thing really makes me appreciate George Carlin.

Manuel said...

Fat Sparrow: Both you and Mr G Carlin have regularly hid the nail on the head, although he has never been on here...........

....yet

MacDara said...

Manuel, You are correct Buddha is not a deity in fact Buddism does not have an equivelent to God like other religions do. a buddha and there are many depending on you belief is a completely enlightened person and would probably see the hwmour in the Fat buddha name .


If only we were all so willing to see the fun rather than see offence.

Manuel said...

MacDara: I was enlightened once, didn't like it, got my head stuck....

Anonymous said...

Well that's great, the man just railed on the PC police for telling him he couldn't use "Fat Buddha", yet you're telling us he's a "sexist/racist thug who laments that the white man had to make any concessions in power."?

I think you need to lay off the cocaine buddy.

Manuel said...

Is that what I said? not sure I did.

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