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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

One of my patients this morning was extolling the virtues of Zumba, and telling me that having previously failed with aerobics, she's now lost a stone by attending dance classes three times a week. I congratulated her on a job well done, at which point she fixed me in the eye (which was technically my job) and said "You should try it". I wasn't quite sure how to take that.

But on the subject of mild insults, I was watching the Mr Men on Channel 5 with Amelie at 7:20 this morning, which was an unexpected pleasure, as I'm usually watching Postman Pat on CBeebies. I've not seen this version before; in fact I've not seen the Mr Men at all since Captain Mainwaring was involved, but within two minutes I was on the verge of writing a letter to The Guardian.

It transpires that one of the characters they've introduced since Roger Hargreaves died is called Mr Rude. Shakespeare may have wondered what's in a name, but when it comes to the Mr Men, the answer's quite a lot. Mr Rude spends his time offending the ears with his ill-mannered outbursts, and the nose with his constant flatulence. All of which is perfectly reasonable. Except that they've given him a French accent.

Now, it's a well known fact that I read Equality Bulletins like other people read tabloids, and I'm more politically correct than Baroness Warsi's expense claims, so I'm clearly a sensitive soul when it comes to racial stereotyping, and more likely to be offended than your average working class child of the seventies who grew up watching 'Mind Your Language' and 'Love Thy Neighbour'. I'm thinking mainly of Lisa there. But are we really allowed to call the French rude and smelly? In public? On a kids' TV show?

Clearly we are. It turns out that The Daily Telegraph covered the story four years ago, and apparently Mr Rude's accent is "light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek", and intended to cause no offence whatsoever to the impolite, garlic-eating stink bombs on the other side of the channel. I'm paraphrasing them there. I look forward to hearing Mr Lazy speaking in Spanish.


Phil's Mum said...

I'm shocked.  Clearly the Mr. Men are not what they used to be.  Bring back Poddington Peas!

Zed said...

I tried speaking with a quasi-French accent with my tongue in my cheek and it came over quite muffled.  Thank you for commenting, I feel awfully privileged.