PC and me
The interaction between John and Alan takes place at the 40th reunion of Class ABC of a Grammar School of the 1970’s. The reunion is held in the local village pub.
ALAN Bloody hell. (Shouts) It’s John everyone. John. This really is a treat. Heard a rumour you might attend. This is our 10th reunion and your first. Well done. Come here you old bastard and shake hands. Well done.
JOHN (Quietly). Hello Alan. Could you tone it down a bit….please.
ALAN What the hell are you talking about John? We’ve just met. Tone what down? Can’t be my hair colour. Haven’t got any – any more. Remember when we both had it done pink. Went in for that fancy dress competition as a couple of candy floss woofters. What twats we were. Anyway, tone what down?
JOHN Well I wondered if you could stop the swearing. You also referred to me personally in derogatory terms (Pause) You called me a bastard, whereas you know I’m not, and your reference to “woofters” is quite out of order in respect of male sexuality. I think it’s clear whom you were referring to – Gay men? Yes?
ALAN (Indignantly) No us. We were the twats. Nothing to do with gender-benders..
JOHN Oh my goodness. You’re doing it again. (Pause) Are you not aware how distressing your insensitive comments are. Have you never heard of PC?
ALAN (Pause) Course I’ve heard of it. Just didn’t think I’d catch it.
JOHN You don’t catch PC, you live it. You express yourself in terms which reflect your sensitivity to the needs, values and culture of others. PC. Politically correct. No?
ALAN Well I’ve never voted Labour. Voted UKIP once. Is this what that Momentum lot are banging on about? Being PC?
JOHN Not necessarily, however, having said that, in a progressive liberal political party…..
ALAN Definitely haven’t voted for them. Bloody liberals. Sandals and sex. That’s them. Did you see that programme couple of weeks ago? About Thorpe? My God. What a bunch of tossers they were. They were all at it.
JOHN Alan please. You’re using stereotypes and quite unjustified descriptions.
ALAN OK John. (Pause) Understand. (Pause) I think. I’ll withdraw the comments about sandals. (Laughs) They may have been wearing trainers.
JOHN This is hopeless.
ALAN John, you’re really worrying me now. Have you got a twin? Cos if you haven’t what happened to the John I knew. Used to call you John the Baptist. Cos you kept wanting to lay your hands on people. Mainly the girls in our class. And you really fancied one of two of the unusual ones.
ALAN Yeah. Like that Kwame from Nigeria or Wang Shu. Dad had the Chinese on the High Street. Always said that’s what you were after. A quick takeaway. Nudge. Nudge.
JOHN (Indignantly) I was never like that.
ALAN Weren’t you? What about Dalilah, and I’m not talking about Tom Jones.
JOHN She was Egyptian. I’ve always respected ethnic minorities.
ALAN So that was being PC, was it? OK. What about the two birds from Woolworths that we picked up and, sorry you, went off with. Pick & Mix you called them. Two at once. You were my hero. Was that PC cos you treated them equally? Came them both one!
JOHN In the current climate yes. Very much so. (Pauses) It seems to me Alan that you’ve been locked in a time warp, and significant changes in society have passed you by. No?
ALAN Well I did a couple of years……but I was totally innocent. It was a setup. Anyway kept my nose clean since then.
JOHN I had no idea, but that explains a lot.
ALAN Tell you what. Give me a couple of examples. (Pause) You know. Examples.
Of being this PC thing. Rights and wrongs. I’m a good learner. Go on. Try me. Try me.
JOHN I have a sense this might prove difficult. (Pauses) OK. How would you describe yourself?
ALAN What’d yah mean?
JOHN Pretend you’re looking in a mirror.
ALAN Yeah OK. I’m looking.
JOHN What do you see? Describe yourself.
ALAN A short, fat, bald old man.
JOHN (Triumphantly) Exactly. Now what I see is a folically and vertically challenged person, calorifically enhanced, who is gerentologically advanced. (Pauses) Now doesn’t that sound better than your own description. Isn’t it more sensitive and respectful? Don’t you feel more valued?
ALAN Well it sounds posher, but I don’t understand a bleeding word of it. Vertically challenged? I’m a short arse. Always have been, always will be. Ain’t nothing anyone can do about that. Is there?
JOHN But you don’t have to be reminded of it in such a brutal manner. A careful, considered approach and description focused on the sensitivities of the individual.
ALAN That’s just like slopping out in the nick. A “careful, considered approach, focused on the sensitivities.” Yeah right. If you didn’t do it properly in there, you got hammered by your cellmates – or worse. Didn’t need PC there I tell you. Anyway, I’ve got an example for you. (Pauses) You ready?
JOHN (Puzzled) Fire away.
ALAN Right. This Council has stopped its road work teams from calling those things in the road “Cat’s Eyes”. (Pauses) Why? Cos some young girl heard the name and burst into tears. She thought they were real eyes taken out of cats. Mother complained. They’re now called direction indicators. What a load of tosh.
JOHN On reflection (laughs) sorry about that pun, on reflection they may have a point. The child was clearly distressed and it was directly attributable to the language used.
ALAN But that’s bonkers. So every time a kid cries about something the whole world has to change…..well here’s another one. Down the road, there’s a senior school. It’s been baking hot, so the lads asked if they could wear short trousers rather than long ones. They got told no, cos the girls might feel discriminated against. However, they could wear summer skirts like the girls! Now, who’s discriminating……..
JOHN That’s a rather unusual incident, and I think I’d need more information before being able to comment.
ALAN Hang on a minute. In the same school the Head Mistress, sorry Head Master, no sorry, perhaps Head Person advised her teachers not to use the word genius when praising children, as it had a male-dominated connotation. What a load of round orifices, and you’ll notice I didn’t use the word “bollocks” then – just to prove I am capable of change.
JOHN You’re taking things too literally Alan. It is an important issue, however, as happens in today’s society, the media invariably distort and discredit the good intentions of those seeking to support the principles within PC.
ALAN What principles?
JOHN Someone who is politically correct believes that language and actions that could be offensive to others, especially those relating to sex and race should be avoided.
ALAN OK. Here’s a question for you. Mrs Fletcher in our local cake shop got told off. A customer said she wasn’t being PC. Do you know why?
JOHN I think you’re going to tell me……
ALAN She makes Xmas cakes. Last year this customer bought one, and as she served her, Mrs Fletcher said “Merry Xmas”. The customer said the proper term is “Happy Holiday” because not all customers are Christians. That was a nice seasonal exchange of greetings.
JOHN Well perhaps the customer may have thought she was being helpful.
ALAN Mrs Fletcher clearly didn’t agree. She told her to piss off, took her cake back and refunded the money. (Pauses) By the way, Mrs Fletcher is a Pakistani, born in this country, married a Brit and don’t need people telling her how to behave.
JOHN Well it’s a growing movement, I think there’s an inevitability about it.
ALAN How do you know so much about it?
JOHN Well I lost a couple of jobs, got made redundant. Others more junior to me were kept on. Realised I needed to embrace the current climate. Move with the times. So I read up on it, went on a couple of courses,..(Triumphantly) and changed. Transformed my life!
ALAN So you didn’t lose your job because you’re wearing a dress?
ALAN With a full beard?
JOHN No. Definitely not. In fact, it’s been a distinct advantage. Just been shortlisted for three jobs.
ALAN You crafty sod. I know what you’re up to. (Pauses) Bet they’re all female shortlists!
JOHN (Laughing) Correct. And now that I’ve begun my transition to female, they dare not interview me, and I’ve got a red-hot chance to get the job. They’re all London Council vacancies. Loads of birds. PC and me! (Pauses) By the way, is that Wang Shu coming tonight? Never did get my takeaway. Come on then. Time for a pint or two. Want to get “Spacially Perplexed”.
ALAN The correct term is getting pissed. See I can be PC. Anyway, it’s your round. END