Tuesday, June 05, 2007

21st Century Taboos

After signing out of my archaic hotmail account yesterday, MSN's front page had a feature called "21st Century Taboos".

"To dabble in them is to invite at the very least a raised eyebrow or pursed lip; at worst, complete social opprobrium."

In case you don't know what opprobrium means, it's disgrace arising from exceedingly shameful conduct. I was immediately keen to know what these are to see if I'd broken any and could feel that rush of taboo breaking.

1. Giving money to beggars

"Once there was no stigma attached to the practice of handing over loose change to somebody asking for money on the street. The equation was clear. They were down on the luck; you could do something about it."

Say what? Someone down on their luck, begging on the street could be fixed by a few strangers handing over a well-earned ten-pence piece?

"But when did giving someone ten pence for a cup of tea become an epic ethical conundrum?"

I guess when ten-pence inflated to fifty pence and a cup of tea became a bottle of White Lightning. I guess if we saw beggars outside greasy spoons requesting loose change instead of fifty yards from an off-licence we'd be more inclined to hand over some cash. So if breaking a taboo is giving money to a beggar then let's all smash open that piggy bank, take the streets and get our taboo fix on.

2. Speaking to a stranger on a bus or train

It makes it sound as if having a conversation on public transportation is going to get you on the local news and witnesses will be queing up to talk to Linda Ballantine:

"Well, there I was just minding my own business when this social upstart turns around to this older gentleman and says 'nasty weather we're having eh?' I thought I was going to curl up and die on the spot."

"Nowadays such actions are treated as the product of a disturbed mind and someone up to no good."

So next time, think twice before asking someone what time it is or you'll be dragged off the bus in a white suit.

3. Holding a door open for a woman

"At some point in recent history this noble gesture of courtesy got redefined a shocking act of chauvinism."

It has? Did I miss out COmedy Stop making fun of this? Is that why I repeatedly get kicked in the shins for holding the door open for my girlfriend?

"It's not clear when precisely this happened. Perhaps Mrs Thatcher was to blame."

Yes, you've nailed it on the head. Forget the fact that she broke the unions, destroyed much of the UK's manufacturing base, consigning many to long-term unemployment, it was her policy on holding doors that defined her twelve year reign.

4. Saying that 'Imagine' by John Lennon is rubbish

"There's speaking ill of the dead, then there's speaking ill of a dead Beatle."

Then allow me: this song is s**t.

5. Complimenting a friend/relative on their children

"A real taboo, this."

And insulting John Lennon's 'Imagine' wasn't? Come on MSN, surely you jest.

"On no account must you venture even the mildest of observation about somebody's kids. Society dictates even the vaguest, most throwaway of remarks is tantamount to a confession of something dangerously sordid"

Ah yes, imagine the scene. Two children playing in the park, two different parents sitting on the bench. One child comes over to his mother for something and runs off to play on the swings. The other parent, a father, turns to the mother and comments on what a nice kid she's got. A short phonecall later and he's in the slammer for child grooming.

6. Owning up to drinking full-fat milk

A serious one this. Even buying the stuff is dangerous. I hear you can only get it in specialist shops and they wrap it in a porno mag so you can walk out of the shop looking like a normal person.

7. Asking for a cup of tea in an upmarket cafe

"If you do this, you are treated like a fool."

Waiter: "And what would sir like with his crumpet?"

Customer: "A cup of tea please"

Waiter: "You sir, are a fool."

8. Being irreverent about Princess Diana

This basically singles out everyone who doesn't read the Daily Express.

If you do read the this newspaper, well....you're a prick.

9. Arguing that taxes are good

Have you ever met anyone that has argued in favour of taxes, politicians

aside? The reason they don't mind taxes is because they can claim silly

expenses back off the tax-payers money.

"Hello, my name is Gordon Brown, taboo-breaker, and your new Prime


10. Contesting that England has a third-rate football team

This is perhaps only a taboo in England. Everybody else knows England isn't a third-rate football team. It's fourth-rate.


Blogger Skry said...

Excellent!! So funny I showed that to a few people in work :D

Possibly your best blog to date!

11:40 pm  

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