BBC, pogue mahone | spiked
We are constantly sold the scare story of how the public (ie, us) is a potentially queer-bashing, race-hating lynch mob, forever on the brink. The result is that we hardly dare look at our own history any more because we could be opening a can of worms. So those in authority – such as the BBC’s surreptitious censors – have come up with a wheeze to rewrite history as: ‘We were all nice to each other. The end.’ We all know that’s nonsense. But this lie is not just about rewriting history as ‘hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil’. What is really offensive about retrospectively editing the historical record (by literally editing some historic records) is that the knockabout language of ordinary people is fingered and paraded as the pinnacle of every old-fashioned prejudice and social ill, from racism to homophobia.
This treats us as idiots with collective amnesia. It tells downright lies about where ideas such as racism and homophobia come from and whose interests such ideas serve. There are far worse evils to confront than good old-fashioned slug-it-out-with-abandon trading of insults, where a word such as ‘faggot’ is part of a name-calling armoury often uncoupled from its original meaning. Who hasn’t said ‘bitch’, ‘bastard’ or ‘bugger’ without thinking about its exact and offensive meaning? When we have a sense of ourselves as potent and capable people, such insults are just so much water off a duck’s back. It is only when we come to think of ourselves as cowering and timid - an idea the authorities seem only too happy to promote - that such name-calling appears threatening.