Saturday, February 07, 2009

Blog and Mablog: Giants Bestride Political Blogosphere

Derek Draper (left) and Iain Dale (right, with 18 Gollywog/Golliwog references) are at it hammer and tongs. Handbags at dawn. Subject being that at times rather daft woman Carol Thatcher. And that at times rather daft organisation the BBC. And the ongoing row about her offensive, semi-private, ? squiffy repeated use of "Gollywog" and "Half Gollywog" and "Gollywog Froggy" to refer to a French tennis player, M. Tsonga, a man of mixed race.

That man and his family are upset. That alone should be enough to elicit a full and unreserved apology from all concerned. The BBC eventually managed to winkle something out of Carol, but considered it inadequate. But should Carol have been sacked ... or more specifically sacked for this particular sin rather than her all round performance? Or was this an over-reaction? Or a handy premise for a desired change in the presenter line up for the mediocre One Show?

Iain made a fundamental factual error in claiming - including on telly - that the remark referred to Andy Murray. Which must surely have struck even Mr Dale as a hell of a stretch even for Carol T? Though Littlejohn was it or Mackenzie and others made a similar, speculative reference, based on their view that Murray's hair and appearances was the closest correspondence to the 'type on the tour. Dale did correct the mistake, albeit with excuses and scapegoats rather than humility. Progress nonetheless for Mr "Never Apologise" Dale.

Now neither Dale or Draper can let go of this spat. There is still a fundamental disagreement between the two warring, tweeting giants - let's called them Blog and Mablog shall we? - giants of the political blogosphere, the art of civilised discourse and the zen of diversity training. But enough already.

As veteran of Robertson's jam factory at Brislington in Bristol my various high value roles included being a dirty fire starter furnace man. Burning thousands and thousands of jam labels with somethingly offensive Gollies on them - though to be fair millions escaped into the wild.

Yet, I do also own some first and early reprint editions of the dreaded Blighton. Before the censorious and likely correct PR brigade posthumously changed or removed some of the characters and many of the rich if sometimes troubling ideas. Including naturally the jolly nice Golliwog chappy in the Amelia Jane series. Amelia Jane being in pictures (though not the text) a stereotypically blond, blue eyed dolly. Naughty too. Rather like poor befuddled Thatch Jnr. Which is something I'd like to get back to later; and which the LOL Graphics department will also be turning to.

Seems to me that Darryl Pinckney (can't find online just now now available online) in today's Guardian is spot on. The article's standfirst runs as follows:

The meaning of words and objects shifts - what is interesting is whom we allow to say what, and where.

While the headline cuts to the chase:

For me, golliwogs have lost their juju

Darryl Pinckney incidentally an American, writing from Obamaland, acknowledging that difference at the get go, collects (formerly) offensive racist artifacts, including Gollies. And unlike either Draper or Dale he has an argument rather than just an argument. And unlike the giants bestriding our world Darryl's argument is a rather good one. I'll post the link if and when ... In the Guardian's Organ Grinder blog John Plunkett takes the temperature of the media storm. He predicts that unlike say Big Ron Atkinson Miss Thatch will be bounced back unto the goggle box pretty smartly.

MEANWHILE: Dale's self importantly pontificating (not like him that) ten to the dozen about Dolly, Golly and their combined Folly.

UPDATE 23:52: Some "stealth editing" re Littlejohn/Mackenzie and thereabouts and to slightly improve the flow from v clunky to just isolated clunks. I have also removed my reference to the song "Jimmy Crack Corn (And I Don't Care)" as it perhaps doesn't do the job it was there for.

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