Friday, June 08, 2007

Emily Parr Is Not A Nazi And Is Actually Very Nice

Poor Emily. Having impressed quickly as somebody intelligent, mature and well-meaning she has dramatically bowed out of BB in a single moment of spectacular carelessness and naivety. The weird thing is, I know exactly how she feels.

When I was ten I visited a friend's house and, hopped up on tartrazine and novelty, said something equally stupid to my friend's father, which earned me a Great Deal Of Trouble, the eternal shame of my mother and months of repercussions. My friend - along with other friends also present - was bemused, no more: it was only the parental society at large that had reacted so vehemently.

I will not repeat what I said for the simple reason that, even now, I am still thoroughly embarrassed by the whole episode. I mean, I was ten, but still. Emily is now going through the same thing, except it's not just a handful of scolding parents but the entire nation berating her.

It says a lot for Emily's character and likeability that nobody really believes she was being malicious, but at the same time nobody wants to show an ounce of tolerance for saying the N-word (I'm not sure whether Blogger censors things like that, which is the only reason I'm euphemising) lest they be likened to a Nazi. Yes, we British are still obsessed with Nazis: only paedophiles and England managers rate as high on our scale of loathing.

When I was updating a work colleague on the events of the last 24 hours in the house I found myself really quite surprised at how the N-word sounded, said out loud. I have only ever really heard it said by (a) Americans in anti-racist films and (b) rappers, and it sounds very odd in an English accent. It is shocking, but maybe not for quite the reasons everybody thinks.

Emily showed great strength today showing up on BBLB and apologising. Good for her. Mistakes should not be punished where there is no malice intended: mistakes should be rectified, paid for in a way that makes amends: Emily should not be lynched for saying a single stupid thing, any more than the England manager should be fired if Beckham's luggage is lost at the airport, any more than ten year-old Maddox should have been put into care for another daft slip of the tongue long ago. People always seem to want punishment these days: as the Americans sometimes say, look to thine own ass.

Emily, I am fairly certain you're not reading this, but if you are, don't worry. You'll always cringe at this memory but people do forget. Mistakes are okay, so long as you say sorry and try not to make them again. You'll be okay.

That said, blue eyeshadow is not a good look on you. Have you thought about something more aquamarine? Good shoes, though.

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