The Independent - rubbish?

There was a godawful article in Saturday's Independent about PC gone mad at Christmas, called 'We wish you a 'PC' Christmas'. The paper does make up for it a bit in yesterday's 'A Christmas confection', but only a bit.

I started reading it expecting to be relieved to see it attack the idea of banning Christmas in more depth than the 'confection' story (I'd read them in reverse order), but it's worth looking at in a bit of depth even though 'confection' partly debunks it.

It opens by saying:
Readers of certain newspapers would be forgiven for thinking that Christmas has been outlawed by the massed ranks of the politically correct left. Are they right? Maxine Frith finds out
As we know, Christmas is not being banned and the papers have either made some big howlers or misled their readers, but this article doesn't pick up on this. The first warning I had that this article was going to be a wrong 'un was this:
Never a paper to miss the chance of a "political correctness gone mad" headline, The Sun ran a front page earlier this week that screamed, "Kick 'Em in the Baubles!", aimed at the party poopers who have banned office Christmas decorations on the grounds of health and safety.
No, it didn't. Not for the reasons Maxine Frith gives anyway. In 'Super soaraway Christmas ARSEPAPER!' I look at the first article of the campaign in some detail, and it's quite clearly about at party poopers who have banned Christmas decorations so as not to offend people of other faiths. The examples are mainly of health and safety rules because the paper couldn't back up its claim about other faiths with any examples at all - but it still framed the attack as one about offending other faiths in quite a weaselly manner. But even the Sun, on today's 'News' section of its website has dropped the 'offensive' line, just advertising the link to the discussion thread with the line 'Christmas decoration ban'.

The Indy article carries on with a quote from a representative of the Campaign Against Political Correctness, who is bound to be unbiased, saying:
"We have talked to the Muslim Council of Britain and other religious groups and they have no problem with people celebrating Christmas," said Mr Midgley.

"It is white, middle-aged, middle-class men with a guilt complex sitting in their ivory towers who are causing all the problems. They are trying to airbrush our traditions out of this country but they are merely alienating the very people they claim they are trying to help."
Of course, a reasonable thing to do after this is to wonder if people are banning Christmas so as not to offend people at all, and - you know - investigate that. But this quote neatly introduces the idea that Christmas is being banned so as not to offend people from other faiths, before the article moves on to examine whether there is a threat to Christmas by regurgitating some of the worst howlers we've seen in the tabloids, and then surprisingly concluding that it has. For instance:
Three out of four employers have banned Christmas decorations from the workplace because they fear they could offend people of other faiths, according to the law firm Peninsula. The survey of more than 2,000 bosses found that half had also outlawed baubles and tinsels because they thought it looked unprofessional.
As we saw in 'Christmas ARSEPAPER UPDATE!', that survey isn't exactly reliable. And as the Indy helpfully points out in the next day's edition:
Asked to name a single example three days ago, the firm has yet to oblige.
An aside - I asked a couple of questions myself after the article taking it apart appeared in the Guardian, and have heard nothing back either. I asked if there were other questions, and where the idea of 'repurcussions on their business' came from in the introduction.

There's also mention of the Acas guidelines of the week before last that I talked about in 'It's ONE LEGGED BLACK LESBIAN DAY for MUSLIMS now!' that could have come from the pages of the Mail itself. It says:
According to Acas, holding a Christmas raffle with alcohol as prizes could offend Muslims, who should not gamble or drink.
As we saw before, the Acas guidelines don't mention the word 'Muslim' once. It talks about some religions not permitting gambling, and not pressuring people to enter raffles - and says you might want to think about not having prizes of alcohol or meat because some people don't drink and some don't eat meat.

There's downplaying of the reasons 'millionaire Vic Moszczynski' was ordered to have his display toned down. Without mentioning that it was only toned down, but still exists, giving the impression of a ban. There's mention of the Royal Mail not having Jesusy stamps. There's a quote from John Sentamu saying that secularists are indeed trying to ban Christmas. There's mention of the halal chicken debacle. There's something about Rick Stein getting abusive emails if he uses farmed salmon - which has fuck all to do with Christmas. There's some mention of Christmas trees being more expensive than usual before the best bit of the article, I think:
If that wasn't bad enough, the good denizens of Burnley, in Lancashire, have been denied the joy of their traditional tree in the market square because the anti-vandal box in which it sat was deemed to be too expensive.

There is still a tree - but in a less salubrious position near the local branch of McDonald's, while the town square merely boasts a crib since which residents have compared (unfavourably) to a shed.
So there's a tree, but it's not big enough and there's actually a Nativity scene in the town square - but this is an example of PC banning of Christmas because people think it's not a very good scene. For fuck's sake.

There are more regurgitations - the school singing a calypso version of the Twelve Days of Christmas, a teacher telling kids there's no Santa and so on - and the article ends with a brilliant kicker. Even though earlier in the article mentions early on that:
Birmingham does not have a religion-neutral "Winterval" festival
The article concludes its investigation into whether Christmas is being banned with:
As Brummies might say, Happy Winterval.
Of course, this might mean the article is really, really clever and we're all meant to infer that all the quotes and examples it uses are bollocks but inverted in a really, like, subversive manner. Or the earlier bits about Winterval and Luminos being nonsense might have been inserted by a sub.

On the other hand, it might just be crap.


Chris Baldwin said...

Of course they'll never name any of these "white, middle-aged, middle-class men with a guilt complex sitting in their ivory towers" or explain what kind of power they have. Incidentally I was in the centre of my city today and guess what? There are Christmas lights everywhere, all the shops have Christmas songs (including Saint Cliff) on continuous loop, I noticed several offices with Christmas trees in and saw a man working in a shop while wearing a Father Christmas hat. Christmas is clearly being banned.
By the way, articles like this and Oliver Burkeman's only further demonstrate the superiority of The Guardian to The Independent.

Neil said...

It's also worth noting that every curry place I've been in or walked past in the last month or so has had tons of Christmas decorations up.

Five Chinese Crackers said...

Ah, you seem not to have had your 'PC gone mad tabloid goggles' (TM) in the post. This means you're actually seeing what's happening in front of you.

Once you get the goggles, you'll soon start seeing the word 'black' crossed through, crosses on Westminster Abbey replaced with crescents and the Christmas cards that say 'Merry Christmas, you big fucking racist' inside.