Ever looked at a politician and thought…

18 August 2010

…he really reminds me of someone?

A TV character perhaps?

A Children’s TV character?

Thomas the Tank Engine Character?

Well maybe after you look at nothingbutawordbag’s brilliant blog post you’ll see similarities, not just in words, but in the explanations too!

http://nothingbutawordbag.wordpress.com


Vilification? Vindication?

27 October 2009

A couple of things have been causing a fuss this last week, there’s been a lot of fuss about the BNP’s appearance on Question Time and ongoing debate about Jan Moir’s article in particular.

Earlier this week I was convinced that Question Time was the wrong format if you thought it was going to show the BNP up. Well, was I wrong? I think it’s fair to say that the normal Question Time format was abandoned. People agreed it was a five against one kicking of Nick Griffin with Dimbleby and the four panelists directing their views very clearly. Even Griffin agrees. The questions chosen were challenging Griffin – there was nothing on the Postal Strike, for example, which would have clearly appeared at any normal Question Time. I’d agree that a low key grilling on Newsnight would have been better and less sensational. People, though, seemed to agree he performed badly, even his adjacent pannelist said he was creepy.

Which, incidentally, is what Griffin called gay people. Or at least, he said most people (particularly christians) find the sight of two grown men kissing “…really creepy”. Now this was in response to a question about whether the Daily Mail should have printed Jan Moir’s article (which I have posted about here and here). Moir, of course, ‘clarified’ her story on Friday. Apparently. Not only did she only actually apologise to Gately’s family for the timing of what she wrote, not the content, there are many people who think she’s trying to rewrite history, not clarify what she meant.

And when she says her “observation that there was a ‘happy ever after myth’ surrounding such unions was that they can be just as problematic as heterosexual marriages” I’d have to question who actually promulgated this myth about civil partnerships all ending happily ever after? As a Twitter follower of mine said “No-one. The myth itself is a myth”.

So what of these two stories? There’s something as worrying about the acceptance of public pronouncement of such views – whether they’re racist or homophobic – as there would be if they were silenced. The debate about whether the BBC or Daily Mail should have allowed publicising of such views is as worrying as the fact that they did. Because there’s freedom of the press, but there’s also a need to think about the way you say things. Whether it’s the way you question a BNP member on TV, or the way you express uncertainties about a death, there’s a responsibility. I’ve already posted on the implications of publicising ‘hate’ – the increase in homophobic attacks and hate crimes and implication of acceptibility by what people write, or the BNP appearance on Question time being “the trigger that turns into an attack”. And sometimes maybe you have to question whether it’s actually the right thing to do, to use the right you have. Or whether, for the benefit of your business, your medium, the public at large (people have been vocal in saying the BBC should take it’s share of blame for any increase in racist attacks, and there’s been concern that BNP membership will increase), you should think twice about whether you use the right you have to say what you want. Or whether you should think twice before you make a decision – whether you think about the implications before you say it. Because the responsibility is in your hands. Will your actions be vilification or vindication for people’s actions? And, frankly, is it really worth it?


Biggotry tastes better when smothered in mayonaise

25 June 2008

In update to yesterday’s post on the Heinz advertising complaints I am becoming more convinced that I should be angered by the decision to pull it off air.

And I am, and have signed this petition. I was number 1,737 to sign. I guess that beats the 200 or so original complaints.

Two comment pieces sum up nicely:

Pushing the boundary:

What makes this all even more bizarre is that if you watch the advert, it’s pretty clear that this advert is no more about an actual same-sex relationship than the Bounty kitchen paper ads are about accurately portraying a pair of cohabiting pre-op transsexuals.

If you’re looking for things to get upset by in this ad, how about the casually sexist stereotyping inherent in wheeling out the cliché of ‘mum’ preparing meals for kids, nagging them and so forth, and ‘dad’ going out to work? Or the fact that a product banned from kids’ TV due to its unhealthiness is prominently advertised being given to kids for lunch.

And a Zoe Williams:

Why don’t lefties complain more? First, we assume watchdog bodies such as the ASA will be on the side of a very old-fashioned respectability, despite all evidence that mainstream culture is more evolved than that. Second, we are lazy bleeders. When an ad featuring men kissing is one of the most complained about, that matters: not as a reflection on the nation’s scattered homophobes breathing their last gasp, but as a sign that the rest of us don’t complain anything like enough.

How can removal be justified on such narrow grounds for complaint? Is the ‘peck’ any different to the husban kissing a large jamacan woman on an advert for jerk seasoning? Would that result in a racist response? Would parents have to explain mixed-race marriages to their kids? The decision of Heinz proves them to believe homophbia is one of the last remaining areas where discrimination is acceptable.

So sign up to the petition now!

Oh and PS, it may be more expensive but Sainsbury’s organic mayo tastes far better and is made from organic free range eggs, unlike heinz.


mayolove

24 June 2008

Heinz has pulled it’s an advertisement for Deli Mayo after it received complaints for showing two men kissing. The advert is online here.

The advert shows:

Heinz’s ad opens with a family on a normal morning routine with a young boy and girl getting ready for school and their father preparing for the office.

The young boy and girl go to the kitchen to get their sandwiches, which are being prepared by a man with a New York accent, dressed in a deli serving outfit, who they refer to as “mum”.

When their father goes to get his sandwich he says to mum in the kitchen: “See you tonight love.”

However, mum barks back “Hey, ain’t you forgetting something?”, at which point the two men share a kiss. Mum then sends the father off with the words: “Love you. Straight home from work, sweet cheeks.”

The concept behind the campaign is that the product tastes so good, “It’s as if you have your own New York deli man in your kitchen.”

The Daily Mail of course chose to tell a rather more biased version of the story.

I thought the days of two men kissing being “offensive” had gone. Obviously not. And Heinz have bowed to pressure from a homophobic minority and pulled an advert which is an amusing play on the New York Deli stereotype. The ‘peck’ clearly has no gay context, yet Heinz have agreed with those who seem to think it has because they ‘listen to their customer’.

Why don’t Heinz listen to their gay customers who find their decision offensive. I’m sure there will be numerous blog entries on this. Left In Britain‘s is particularly good. This one and this one on the other hand seem to be rather blinkered to what the advert is about, or, more appropriately, is not about.

Ben Summerskill of Stonewall has called for a boycott of Heinz products and I’m certainly inclined to agree with him. He says:

Any nod at all to the very existence of homosexuality might be enough to have Mary Whitehouse twitching in her celestial bathchair, but the Heinz peck broadcast last week had not even been shown in front of the children the ad is claimed to have upset. (The Deli Mayo it promotes is so unhealthy that Heinz is not allowed to advertise it during children’s programmes.)

…the decision to withdraw the ad …seems to have been made under the quaint impression that it will cause no offence to Britain’s 3.6 million lesbian and gay consumers. Or any of their friends. Or families. Or colleagues.

Above all, Heinz’s prim retraction seems to have been made without any thought for the damage that might be done to its business. Popping into my usual Costcutter on the way home this evening, I look forward to missing out on my regular Heinz purchases, as many thousands of Stonewall supporters hope you will too.

Branston baked beans. Baxters soups. Buitoni spaghetti. Jardines tomato ketchup. Hellmann’s mayonnaise. Yum yum! They’re all delicious. How sad that for Heinz in 2008, beanz meanz bigotz.


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