Just as you know it’s time to search for life jackets when rats start leaving the ship, we may have to concede defeat to the dark forces of political correctness, now that even the Irish are losing their sense of humour.
Is it just me? Am I really such a monumental brute for being briefly tickled by radio broadcaster George Hook’s wordplay in a recent address to a rugby club?
“During a speech, Hook told an audience of about 150 he had been asked by Limerick mayor Jim Long to join a campaign to change Limerick’s nickname from “Stab City” to “Fab City”.
“The following morning I opened up the paper and read two men were ‘fabbed’ in Limerick city last night,” Hook told the crowd.”
If it wasn’t so utterly depressing mind you, the fall-out would have been even funnier. Are we seriously expected to believe this…
“While some people laughed, others – including a delegation from Limerick rugby club Young Munster – said the comments were deeply offensive.”
Maybe rugby club social occasions have changed from my university days, when I watched in disbelief as my college First XV stood on bar stools, trousers and pants round their ankles and sang songs about menstruation. But I’m inclined to think not, to the point where I’d be keen to see verification as to whether the shrinking violets of Young Munster were indeed deeply offended, or whether someone with an agenda subsequently suggested to them that they might like to be.
Laura Ryan’s response, on the other hand, I’m reluctantly prepared to accept as genuine:
Laura Ryan, head of the Limerick Communications Office stated: “Mr Hook’s attempt at humour . . . was a bit crass and ill-advised. It crossed the line between a bit of banter and a cheap jibe and was just completely unnecessary.”
Now don’t be too hard on her: look who she works for. Bet she smiled about it in private.
Look, for those of you still consumed by indignation, a few points to mull over:
* People from troubled areas soon learn to joke about it and take a joke about it. It’s a defence mechanism as old as the hills. I know; I come from one.
* I’ll wager George Hook no more believes everyone in Limerick is a knife-wielding maniac because he jokes about it than I do because I laugh.
* Might it be that what really ruffled feathers here was a very pertinent dig at a very silly idea? ‘Fab City’?! That wouldn’t come from the same bright spark who thought ‘Cool Britannia’ was a winner, by any chance?
But why do I bother? It’s a lost cause. The Irish, it seems, have begun to succumb to the British disease of prissy, po-facedness. As Seán O’Casey might have put it, they’re out there looking for offence and scared as hell they won’t find any.