Friday, 19 August 2011

Name your victimhood

Instead of sitting at a computer and typing, I've actually been doing a bit of stuff lately.

We went to a poetry reading last week - OK, it wasn't a poetry reading, but I have changed the circumstances to protect the guilty.

We were seated with a gay couple - Mr X and Mr Y. They were a bit older than me, and utterly hilarious. As witty and interesting as the day is long. I'd love to have them to dinner, but they seemed a bit child-phobic.

So the poetry reading gets under way, and Mr X decides to Google the poet to find out something about them. He's reading out where they were born, when they were born, what their influences were etc - and then he stopped and burst out laughing. He followed that by blurting out, "They're Aboriginal!"

We laughed at that, because the person on stage was paler than me and looked about as Anglo as it's possible to be. But Mr X was being serious - he turned his phone around and sure enough, they were described as being a member of a tribe none of us had ever heard of.

Now the poet never made any claim whilst we were there to be Aboriginal, and didn't play it up in the slightest. As far as we could tell, they've never entered a competition open only to Aborigines, or claimed any special rights. They'd just listed it on their web page.

Mr X though thought this was hilarious, and spent the next half hour making all sorts of wisecracks about the poet - some just loud enough that they could probably be heard from the stage. He came out with some very witty thoughts, but would then revert back to saying half-loudly, "They're Aboriginal", and then he'd piss himself laughing very loudly. So would Mr Y.

The rest of the table didn't join in, but we didn't get all PC and tell them off either. We just rolled with it. It was so non-PC, it was like a slap in the face.

And it's saying something that the only people that can say that sort of thing these days are those who are in some sort of victimised minority - if someone had a go at them, I'm sure Mr X would have stood up and yelled, "You're only picking on me 'cause I'm gay!" He was able to use his victimhood as a shield. He just ripped into all and sundry knowing that he was a protected species. It was fascinating to watch. We'll have to go out for dinner with them more often.

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