Televison show "South Park ". | TV

I’ll be honest. I’m not a fan of South Park because animated TV series and films are simply not my thing. Having said that, I did like Jungle Book and a few pearls from my youth such as Bambi. However, when I heard that the satirical US show had lampooned Harry and Meghan, of course I simply had to watch the episode, similarly to millions of others. What a joy it was.

I’m not sure whether the Sussexes watched it but there were verbal hand grenades exploding at every turn and in all honesty, something of this kind was going to happen sooner or later. There’s only so much bilge the media and general public can take, even the ever-so-much kinder, and perhaps more naïve, American audiences. In fairness, South Park, created by writers Trey Parker and Matt Stone, sends up countless luvvies in Tinseltown and it’s only the vain and the foolish that consider litigation. To do so opens up a whole new can of worms and leaves the so-called victims open to further ridicule.

Many observers are desperately hoping the Sussexes will sue the programme makers in order to offer further ammunition against them and to keep the global gag and humiliation going. I hope both take sound legal counsel and say and do nothing. To do otherwise would be a huge and irreversible mistake.

Dahl’s fat and ugly words

So Puffin, the publisher of books by children’s author, Roald Dahl, has decided to call in sensitivity readers to dispose of any unpleasant or outmoded words that might offend modern audiences. What do I think? Well, believe it or not, I actually employed a sensitivity editor for my last book, not that it really needed it. I have a character who hails from Africa, and I felt, given modern day sensitivities, that I should ensure that I didn’t offend in any way or make an unwitting blunder. Some might think me mad but frankly, the way things are going for us authors, we cannot afford to put a step out of line.

Sensitivity editors advise but of course you don’t have to take their advice. I did listen to my young editor as she offered some good advice and thankfully, didn’t find my text in anyway offensive. All the same, I was keen to hear what she had to say about the way we describe the skin and looks of people of colour. These are things that can cause huge offense.

But back to Dahl. I think it’s awful that his words have been changed. I would much prefer that the books remained as dinosaurs of their time and if necessary, carried a disclaimer, and died out. It’s the same with Enid Blyton. Her books depict an epoch hugely different from our own and in some ways that’s why they are so magical, even if some characters have a pretty hard time of it. But remember, it’s also fiction and therefore to some extent, a world of make believe. So, do we pretend that our history, good or ugly, simply didn’t happen? Are we so scared to face the past that we have to rewrite it?

I don’t like the airbrushing of history to suit snowflake sensitivities and I despise what is happening to valiant literature in universities today. What is criminal is that dead authors cannot speak up for themselves and now have their beautiful works trashed or criminalised simply because they are depicting a long-gone era. I’m thankful that I read all the British and American greats at university before they were banned, consigned to history or the bin. Life is not squeaky clean and happy- clappy and if our youths and even lecturers can’t face up to real life past or present, heaven help our society.

Super takeaways

Every month there seem to be new hip words on the block. The latest are ‘super’ and ‘takeaway’ and if you’re not using either, hang your head in shame! Instead of saying extremely or even boring old very, you now need to stick a ‘super’ in there instead. I’m super happy/excited/thrilled/motivated are phrases doing the rounds along with, ‘my takeaway is ….’ Takeaway, is simply what it implies, a summation of what one’s heard. Recent other hip soundbites included ‘deep diving’ into subject matter. That one’s still doing the rounds but thankfully is not quite so prominent. I’m thinking of inventing a few myself to drop in on social media. Who knows, I could create a whole new trend of my own.

Killer cockerels

I was shocked to read about the killer cockerel in Ireland who severed its owner’s artery and caused him to die. Even worse, was that the poor man was an animal lover like me. I have three cockerels, one of which is a wild boy. I have never had a problem with any of them and even picked one up when I had to break up a fight recently. It has never crossed my mind that any of them would attack me. Mind you, Rocky, my huge and demented (a sensitivity reader would alter that to: misunderstood) Muscovy, is a different kettle of fish and not a duck you’d like to meet in an alleyway on a dark night. I’m not sure one might want to meet him in broad daylight, actually. Tony, our lovely gardener, says he’s the only creature he’s actually afraid of and wisely takes a rake into the corral to protect himself. I understand entirely. All the same, I do love my feathered horror, warts and all.