Thursday, 20 January 2011

I'd Better be More PC from Now On.

So things return to normal. Life after BON. Well, not quite yet back to normal. At the moment I seem to have gained many followers and my daily 'hit list' has increased at least ten fold. Still on a 'visible list at present. It won't last but it's been good fun. So what happens now. Do I change my style. ( As if I could!) Do I find divine inspiration to create wonderful wise uplifting posts or do I battle on with the same old weekly drivel; no prizes for guessing which it will be! One further point. This post, by necessity is somewhat long, the opposite as to what a good post should be. Bear with me and I promise the next post will not exceed fifty lines. Honest!
It did occur to me that in view of my new found 'fame' I ought to become more 'politically correct' (Do other continents and countries subscribe to this politically correct agenda. Please tell me, I'd love to know.) Attitudes are strange things, born of prejudices, and our personal interpretation of experiences. Now I wouldn't dream of referring to a coloured person in the derogatory dismissive terms that abounded in my youth. The word 'Nigger' was in common usage, now I find it difficult to even write such a word. We have moved on from such ignorant times, thank God. But even at the age of seventy one (I have to think twice as to my age!) I am far from clear sometimes as to what is acceptable and what is out of order.
I have on many occasions visited friends, relations and colleagues who have for various reasons been incarcerated in local psychiatric hospitals. At one time I would have written lunatic asylums or mental hospitals. See, I am not afraid to change with the times. But who decides such things; who is 'right' concerning such matters. (Please do not consider me totally senile. I fully understand that any behaviour that upsets another human being is unacceptable)
I well remember regularly visiting a friend in one particular hospital. The atmosphere was often fraught. Amongst the residents, patients, clients (again the 'jargon' varied over the years) was a 'Jesus Christ' and a 'Napoleon'; visits were often bizarre but seldom dull.
On one occasion a football suddenly appeared on a grassed area outside closely followed by two or three patients dressed only in pajamas. Two patients in our room argued vehemently over a class of orange juice. (One being my patient friends 'friend' so to speak. His name was Tom I was informed although he had the name 'Dave' tattooed on his arm!)
A young patient informed me I had been his teacher at school and invited me to a game of table tennis. Relieved to escape the gloomy atmosphere of the day room I followed my new friend to the adjoining games room. I was handed a bat and my opponent, bat in one hand, ball in the other prepared to serve. With not a little disbelief I noted that, though the net was correctly placed, one half of the table was missing. I could not fail to notice also, surprise, surprise, that it was my end of the table that was not present! Now to anyone in this position, there are several things that go through your mind. One, someone is 'taking the mickey', a possibility in the circumstances both disturbing and amusing. Two, the patient has not noticed or does not know the other half is missing. Three, he knows the half is missing but is afraid to tell you for some reason or other. Four, he is watching you, and whatever you do, you mustn't do anything that might suggest all is not well.
The young man smiled, threw up the ball, quite deftly I thought, and methodically but correctly struck the ball so that it bounced on his side. The ball cleared the net and bounced on the floor in front of me.
'One-nil' he called politely. I retrieved the ball with difficulty from under various stacked chairs. My opponent repeated his serve, I repeated my retrieval.
'Two-nil' came the triumphant call. Serves three and four I attempted to volley, with only partial success. As a spectacle our game was a distinct non-starter. I never did find out how I was to serve from my end when my turn came.
As the ball once again passed my outstretched bat on point five I ever so carefully, oh so carefully stepped on the offending object; cruel maybe but practical. My opponent did not appear too offended, partly, I suspect, due to the opposition (me) offering so little resistance to his determined approach.
Our less than scintillating game, I might add, was enacted to the accompaniment of a mournful dirge emitting from a clarinet played with gusto by a young man standing alongside our table (or half a table.) He in turn was watched with admiration by an old lady (presumably his mother.)
My table tennis friend and I returned to the day room. Veiled threats and less than veiled threats of violence concerning orange juice still sailed round the room. Shortly afterwards I made my excuses and left. Down the drive a patient in pajamas was to be seen directing traffic on the frighteningly busy duel carriageway immediately outside the hospital gates. I reported my observations and left for the nearest public house.

A strange evening indeed, in the distant past. Less enlightened times; non 'PC' times. So am I now being 'Not PC' in relating my experiences. Should I know better. I'm not completely sure I care. So one more story.

Our beloved Queen, Elizabeth was shown round the Royal Derby Psychiatric Hospital recently, the occasion being the Centenary of the hospital, previously known as the Derby Asylum. The inmates, now called patients were lined up outside to meet Her Majesty. And she merrily went down the line dutifully chatting to the assembled throng. Until she came to a little, very dignified old man.
'And you, my man, how are you?' enquired the Queen.
'Not 'appy, I shouldn't be here, mate,' answered the man, 'there's nothing wrong with me. I've bin Sectioned incorrectly. They've been holding me against me will for many years. Can you help?'
'Oh dear,' said the Queen. 'I tell you what.' (The Queen likes to adopt the vernacular of the common man when she's on her travels.) 'I tell you what, when I get back to Buckingham Palace I'll make some enquiries on your behalf.'
'Thank you, ma'am, thank you,' said the little man gratefully.
And the Queen nodded graciously and passed down the line.
She had gone but a few paces when a ruddy great house brick hit her on the back of the head. The Queen staggered to her knees, regained her composure, stood up and turned round.
'Don't forget' shouted the little man.

Now that's definitely a 'Not PC' story!


sleepinl8 said...

first comment on a post on a 944 follower blog! anyway about your story, it was a great read. tell me, do you have any published books of your own?

Valerie said...

First of all let me emphasis that you must NOT change your style now that you are famous.
The story about the table tennis game, whilst amusing, was rather sad. I found myself laughing then felt guilty for doing so.
Finally, was the story about our Queen a true one?

Richard G. Crockett said...

I suspect the queen would be amused by this story. If so, then not too impolitic. Cheers.

Bernard said...

Hi Ken,
I've come over to hear you sing! :)
I hope you don't go all PC, after all you are not a politician are you?
It is not 'words' that offend, it is the context and the way they are used. If someone bans a word, human nature, being what it is, will just come up with another one. I have hundreds of old songs containing the words 'coon' or 'nigger'. They were not offensive and many, many of them were written by 'darkies' themselves. :)
I have no hair, I am bald, but I do not take offence at being called 'a baldy'. I might get a wee bit miffed though, if I was called a old bald *******!
It is the context.
Stay just the way you are - a grumpy old *******! :)
(joking). Cheers. B

the fly in the web said...

Costa Rica doesn't seem to be too PC..people get called 'fatty', 'chink', 'squinty' without appearing to take offense!
Don't you dare change your style.

Bernard said...

I went away to read up on what PC actually is -

"Political correctness is when people say or do something which they know to be untrue or unnecessary; or when they do not say or do something (which they know to be true or necessary) as they are too afraid or embarrassed to be honest or commonsensical."
"Political correctness is about trying to make up for past perceived inequalities by replacing meritocracy and equality of opportunity with equality of outcome through discrimination against people with the same physical qualities as those perceived to have been beneficiaries of other systems in the past."
"Political correctness encourages offence to be taken where none is intended and is a serious threat to free speech. Despite being portrayed to be in the name of tolerance, political correctness is completely intolerant of anyone who does not act in a politically correct fashion."

Then there is the banning of local Punch and Judy shows in case they encourage domestic violence; insulting committee chairmen by labelling them “chair” - a piece of furniture; changing words like “man” or “black” in case they cause offence; banning competitive sports days so that there are no winners or losers and stopping parents taking photographs of their children in case they are thought to be paedophiles.
Don't get like this, please Ken.

Anonymous said...

I've just started to follow your blog after coming across it a few days ago, and have to say I really like your style. I'll periodically catch up with older ones.

I get people regularly reading mine, as my site meter informs me, as do they. However don't seem to attract followers or many comments. Hopefully some of your magic will rub off on my blog.

Flatfield said...

Bugger, didn't realise I'd posted the above comment as anonymous.. what a plonker.

4 life said...

hey there great blog, im new and if anybody wants to read mine they can

The Sleeve said...

Don't change your style! Your style is what made you famous in the first place and what got me hooked onto your wonderful blog. Another amazing post as well. I was not bored or distracted throughout even with its length.

David Macaulay said...

interestting to catch up with your blog. Hope you don't miss Woolworths too much. I blogged about its demise a few years back.

ADDY said...

Crikey.. what happened? Last time I looked you had about the same number of followers as me. What did you do to increase them that fast?

madd said...

you have a great story here, i love this anda thank youw

John Bryson said...

Please dont ever become "Politically Correct"

Nota Bene said...

Fiddle, faddle...stick to what you like doing!! It was well worth reading to the very end!

cheshire wife said...

Don't change your style for anybody.

Sorry I missed your 15 minutes of fame, but I have been a follower since long before you became famous.

Eddie Bluelights said...

No don't change a thing, Ken, because we all like you just as you are . . . and I that is why Blogger noticed you because yours is an interesting and witty blog.

Anonymous said...

If there was one word I wish you did not use it would be "agenda" That is political; recent political garbage words.

Stranger in a Strange Land said...

I wonder if it is the fate of ex teachers to end up in the looney bin (oh no! not PC!) or is it just our fate to become bloggers?! is there any difference!

Ms. Insane said...

I hope when I grow older, I can already write as wise as you. I just hope I really can.

Oh, and you have an interesting blog. Keep it up! =)

L.A.C.E. said...

yay I can see this now. Anyhoo, boo on the PC bit. PC is totally over rated. Please don't change your writing. Love it the way it is :D Cheers!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Ken,

We are running a video campaign and we need to promote a TVC with a guest blog.

We are looking to start a ongoing relationship as we have many paid campaigns every month.

Do you allow these guest blogs on your platform?

Best Regards,
Ashkan Gosili

Stuff & Bunches said...

Yikes! Apparently he had been correctly assigned.

I do not think you should change your style. Your stories just wouldn't be the same.

Shades Within You said...

Please keep posting... Never change your style is why I like reading your site...

rhymeswithplague said...

Ken, I enjoyed both of your stories. I think the first one is obviously false and the second one is obviously true. No lunatic asylum worth its salt would take away people's belts and shoelaces for their own safety only to provide them with clarinets and ping-pong paddles (what we call table tennis bats in the U.S.). But the Queen (God save her!) has weathered far worse things than bricks during her 58-year reign, not least of which is having been followed closely behind by the ubiquitous Duke of Edinburgh everywhere she goes. That inmate/patient/loony was obviously aiming at him in an attempt to be of service.

ILoveMyDogandMy Music said...

Since I used to know a Grumpy Old Ken, I decided to follow this one. The other one is gone now.

bed said...

Dear Grumpy,

Please don't become PC...the world is much more interesting with people like us who are not PC.

Freda said...

I try hard to be PC - but it's amazing the number of times I get caught out without meaning any offence. Usually with old sayings or rhymes from the past.

one tow said...

wow nice blog

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Desperately trying to return to normal. I promise I will visit every website of visitors. if I dont comment its because Ive got it round my neck but I still read your work, honest.

Fat Grump said...

Never change Ken. I enjoy reading your offerings!

Your Queen story made me smile. My mother (shortly before her death in 2001) kept a joke she'd cut from the paper concerning older people with failing memories. She pinned it on the noticeboard in the foyer of the old folks home she was in at the time. The staff howled when they read it, as did many of the old people also in this sheltered accommodation.

It went like this.

Princess Anne was visiting an old folks home and spent some time in the resident's lounge chatting with the pensioners. She sat down next to one lady who seemed rather vague. After a while the Princess asked "Do you know who I am?"

"No deary," came the reply, and the old lady patted HRH's hand "but if you ask at the desk over there by the door I am sure they'll be able to tell you."


As for our politically correct times, I do wonder. I believe in live and let live but it seems we cannot be blunt any longer. Like you, I have no wish at all to offend people. I believe we should all be able to live in peace and harmony, but sometimes, I feel gagged because saying what I REALLY feel isn't an option. Why do so many terms that eventually people not involved have no idea what the term really means or the circumstances it covers?

Take the term 'Learning Difficulties.' What a HUGE umbrella that has become!

'Learning difficulties' used to mean a child (at school) was behind with reading or writing. I feel the term doesn't help us give more to those who cannot walk, cross a road alone, speak up for themselves..or have the mobility to manage life without a carer. My dear neighbour has two adult sons with "Learning Difficulties" and really, they get less than a fair deal since they have been given that rather vague label. What ARE their difficulties? No one except their mother and the consultant they see really knows now. Is that how it should be, or does such a broad term let health services and specialists off the hook? Does it confuse and mystify those who don't work with people with 'learning difficulties'? Can we shove all those with 'learning difficulties' no matter what their difficulties....into one corner?

The boys across the road with learning difficulties had NO trouble learning about computers and what they do. Their knowledge surpasses mine. One mended my computer recently...when it picked up a virus. One is skilled in all matters to do with electrical wiring. I admire what they CAN do...but have little idea of where we...those outside the home, can aid them. I have 'learning difficulties' when it comes to opening a plug to change a fuse!However, their autism makes it almost impossible for them to go out into the world without another adult by their side.

I dunno. Sometimes all these politically correct labels and terms mask the reality and prevent REAL, meaningful dialogue going on methinks.

(Sorry for a LONG reply!)

Unknown said...

Ken, How on earth do you have so many followers! levonnegaddy@hotmail.conm

Vanessa said...

Thanks for the laugh Ken! What a great story!

hey you said...

Forget PC! I love the Queen and the brick story. My neighbours have voiced a complaint thought. Too much loud laughter issuing from my place again.

John Teal said...

I came across your blog due to your "new found fame " and have had a fair few chuckles browsing some of your older posts. DONT CHANGE !

Katie said...

Brilliant Ken! That's right,called you brilliant. Hey, since when was mental hospital not PC? I have possibly been offending folks all these years? oops.

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