Monday, 21 June 2010


Now you can hardly have failed to notice that language is my thing. (As opposed to my thang). Recently, I've been having a bit of an Oriental problem.

On Sunday, a gentleman informed those around him that it (whatever it was, I can't even remember, but had something to do with the buying of staves), was no longer available because the Orientals had taken it over. Now I can see that that way of putting things is really not on, a bit like referring to 'the gays' or 'the women' or 'the blacks'.
However....last week, I queried someone who said he'd realised he'd written about another person, that he 'enjoyed oriental cookery'. The someone had changed it to 'Asian cookery'. I asked him what he felt was wrong with 'oriental', it is, after all, a rather useful word that simply means eastern. His reply was that it smacked of imperialism and subservience.

Now, this is something that doesn't occur to me, but I know it's an important marker in history here, and a negative one. I suppose we were just taught it as part of world history, it happened, then something else happened. It was given neither a positive nor a negative spin. It just was what it was.

I think it's hard to avoid viewing British imperialism particularly without seeing it as paternal, but then, whilst paternalism itself is outdated, there were certainly positive aspects of it in its time.

Interesting to ponder however.

On the subject of matters parental, it seems that, whilst a couple of major eastern countries have shot themselves in the collective foot by selecting to have boy children, in the west, couples who have been going to clinics that offer choice of a baby's sex to prospective parents, (notice how I use this phrase meaningfully, teaching at secondary school, we used to use it stupidly refer to parents who had children, but may like to send them to our large, inner-city comp) have been opting for girls, in some cases in a ratio of 2 : 1. Later in the article, it mentions a 75% preference for girl children.

I think the hyperbole of the article is both short-sighted and premature, but it certainly looks as though the future could contain either many transcontinental marriages and or many more women joining an ever-expanding sorority.

The implied imperialism of BP is starting to annoy me. It stopped called itself British Petroleum in 1997, largely due to the fact that by then, 40% of the company was owned by American oil company Amocco. And it seems as though this part of the global company is the part that has been drilling in the gulf and has had the misfortune to have accidentally caused the current nightmare.

Now, thinking back to my days as a Head of Department at Mayhem, had my department somehow managed to start an international incident, and believe you me, we had the capacity, I can see that the Headteacher would have taken the flack. But I also think, that at some point, said flack would have been concentrated on me. So it seems a little bit bizarre that Tony Hayward - a man who looks rather like the actor who played Tony Blair in the film 'The Queen' (and also the chief werewolf in something else)- has to stand and show stiff upper lip whilst being roasted over the fire by Obama, head prefect of the main culprit. Still, he has shown he has mettle.

Just a thought really.

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