Another job for the PC police – taking the smut out of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

More offensive than the goods in a sex shop?

Political correctness gone mad, as they say…

Ah, but has the madness gone further in this country than elsewhere?

Or can the Brits lay claim to being more crazed than us?

In that country a group of toddlers has been re-educated in how to sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” with hand gestures to ensure they do not offend the deaf.

In sign language – it seems – you’ve got to be careful when you make a star shape, because in British sign language it translates into a woman’s genitalia.

Let’s start with our own inclination to madness.

It’s a silly story about golliwogs and – here we go again – it involves the bloke who is top of Alf’s list of civil servants whose jobs should be disposed of.

Yep. Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres.

The story is told at Stuff today.

The tone struck in the first sentence makes it sound like we should stay at home to protect ourselves from a dire threat.

Golliwog wrapping paper has appeared on the shelves of a popular chain store.

Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres is quickly introduced to the story, reinforcing the warning tone by saying the wrapping paper, retailing for $2 at Look Sharp stores, is likely to cause offence.

“I would prefer if they withdrew products like that from sale,” he said.

“Often in New Zealand we don’t realise what a controversial history they have in other countries.”

De Bres said he received several complaints yearly from New Zealanders offended by Golliwog-related products.

It is not clear whether he has received complaints in this case or whether the matter was drawn to his attention by the precious prats at the Sunday rag.

These tossers then went to look for someone who would defend the Golliwog.

They found one.

But Jeff Green, a prominent figure in the Tainui iwi, said the issue showed New Zealand was increasingly becoming bogged down with political correctness.

“I think it is nonsense…who cares whether someone has Golliwog wrapping? There are more important things in life and around the world to get concerned about than people worried about whether someone calls someone else a `Golliwog’ or is wrapping presents in Golliwog wrapping [paper].”

This is such a common-sense way of seeing things that Green would thrive as a politician in the United Future Party (if only they could manage to get more than one MP into Parliament).

Ah, but then we learn he is not necessarily a dispassionate player in the game of silly buggers being played around the Golliwog issue.

We are reminded that…

During a stint as a TV basketball commentator he was censured by TVNZ for describing former Tall Blacks international Miles Pearce as “looking like a Golliwog”.

“I didn’t know what I had said wrong,” he said. “I was gobsmacked…I don’t see it as racist or anything like that.”

Oh, and then we are reminded that Radio Sport host Tony Veitch caused “outrage” after describing American tennis player James Blake as “the world’s ultimate Golliwog”.

But wait. There’s more.

In August, the sale of Golliwog dolls at the Nature’s Window retail store at Auckland International Airport created global headlines.

Big Boi of hip-hop duo Outkast spotted the dolls as he prepared to fly out of New Zealand after a brief tour.

He posted a picture of one on his Twitter account, then wrote: “Ok, all blacks is a rugby team, but what the f–k are these, also in the airport.”

Management of Nature’s Window subsequently pulled the dolls from their shelves.

Perhaps our retailers can consider themselves fortunate they only have to contend with Joris de Bres.

In Britain a few years ago, a shopkeeper was told by police to remove Golliwogs from her window display because they were offensive.

She was warned she risked breaching race hate laws if she failed to take them down from her shop near Manchester.

Moira Pickering, the shop-keeper in question, said she had been selling the dolls for years and they had never caused offence.

She made a damned good point as she gave an account of what happened.

“A woman came in and began taking photos. I thought she was taking a photo of the table and chairs, but then she went outside and started taking more photos.

“The next minute the police were here and said it was an offence to display the gollywog which was sitting in a chair.

“I find sex shops offensive, I find cabbage patch dolls offensive, but I wouldn’t report them.”

Greater Manchester Police said it would be an offence under the incitement to commit racial hatred act if she had put the golliwogs back on display and someone made a subsequent complaint.

Two years later Buckingham Palace issued an extraordinary apology after the Queen’s shop at Sandringham was found to be selling Golliwogs.

Readers can learn all about the rise and fall of Golliwogs, which first appeared in children’s books in the late 19th century, here.

It’s instructive that they were banned in Germany in 1934 (according to The Times of London) on the grounds they were inappropriate toys for Aryan children.

Now let’s consider the generations of children who have grown up singing along and performing actions to the nursery rhyme favourite Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

It seems that one of the gestures translates into a very naughty word, in sign language.

And a toddler group in Britain has been told not to make the twinkling ‘star’ sign with their hands for fear it could offend the deaf.

Parents were told that the sign – which resembles a diamond shape when made with forefingers and thumbs – is used in official sign language to represent female genitalia.

The decision was made after staff attended a sign language course and were made aware that the one they were using had potential to cause offence.

No deaf children or parents attend the Sure Start toddler group, in Acomb, North Yorkshire.

No matter.

The geture is banned.

Some people are pissed off.

Yesterday mothers criticised the ‘politically correct’ decision. One said: ‘These are innocent little children just making a sign to show a star. No one would give it a second thought.

Another added: ‘It is good that kids are aware of other people’s methods of communication but has anyone actually asked a deaf person if they take offence to it?’

But let’s hear it from one of the PC-drenched Poms who sanctions this exercise in extreme silliness.

Jill Hodges, assistant director of education, children and young people’s services at the City of York Council, which runs the group, insisted it was ‘a sensible decision taken to prevent deaf children or deaf parents being offended’.

She said it was made after staff at the Sure Start group returned from a course on children’s sign language, Makaton, at which they were told the ‘star’ gesture they had been using was similar to the sign used for female genitalia in British Sign Language.

As a consequence, Mrs Hodges said, staff realised the issue was sensitive and decided to ask parents to start using the Makaton symbol for a twinkling star – the opening and closing of a fist – instead.

‘Parents have not been banned from using the other sign and City of York Council does not have a policy over this matter,’ she added.

But as the Daily Mail points out, the sign for female genitalia is an inverted diamond held in front of the crotch.

During the rhyme, children hold their hands high in an upright diamond.

Alf has heard of blokes whose brains are in their dicks.

But women whose fannies are above their heads????

Advertisements

2 Responses to Another job for the PC police – taking the smut out of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

  1. tristanb says:

    I was unable to find this at either the Onehunga or Victoria Street stores. (Or $3 Japan)

    The guy at the Victoria Street store (central Auckland) said he didn’t know where Stuff got their information from and says he never actually had the paper in stock. He thinks it might have been another store.

    He did enjoy the free advertising though. Apparently yesterday there were tonnes of people through looking for it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: