Two Old Codgers

How the World strikes us

Bill and I used to have a website designed to encourage beekeepers to breed the indigenous British Black Bee. The name of the site was
Angry Bees
I now wonder if we were safe talking about “Black bees”? I am not suggesting we were about to be attacked by a swarm of bees, angry at being described as black but these days you have to be so careful about what you say. Perhaps we should have stuck to the Latin name melifera melifera or simply referred to them as British Bees?

As an old fella I become a bit confused with the way attitudes and language change. It doesn’t seem so long ago (although come to think of it, it probably was the 1960s) when you simply had
NOT to refer to someone as ‘Black’. The word you used was “Coloured” but for crying out loud don’t use that word today.

I remember, back in the days when we used film in our 35mm cameras, a rather
dour and cynical Scots assistant in a camera shop who, when asked by a customer for a film, would say “certainly sir” (or madam - we must be careful!) “Would you like a coloured or a coloured and white film”

I once read that offence can’t be given - it can only be taken and it seems that more and more people are ready, nay almost anxious, to take offence. What’s more they are likely to be totally unconnected to the group they suspect are being offended.

When Bill and I worked on the website, insults tended to flow fairly freely. I might say “Bill you stupid b....., you’ve spelled a word wrong”. But don’t start feeling sorry for him, he gave as good as he got, I was quite used to being called a daft sod for hitting the wrong key on the computer keyboard.

What if we were celebrities or even politicians (Well, politicians aren’t celebrities, are they!?). “B.....” and “sod” are straightforward swear words but how about stupid and daft? Doesn’t that infer we are two frames short of a hive? Should we have contacted a lawyer - there might have been money in it?
Bill Pleb

“Pleb” is another word that has climbed up the serious ladder as far as insults are concerned. Now if someone had called me a pleb but prefixed it with some spicy swearwords, I think I would have been more offended by the swearing than by being called a pleb which, without looking it up, suggests to me that I am being described as a common man. I think I might consider that as a compliment, especially if it was coming from a politician.

What would insult you? In Australia, if you are British, you might be called a POM or, possibly a Whinging Pom. This from the British habit of complaining about everything that isn’t British - in other words, if you are in any country other than than Britain, everything.

An American would call you a Limey and the Scots call the English Sassenachs. I think I have been called all of those and many much worse. I can’t remember being offended. Let’s face it, life’s too short to worry about what people call you, I would be much more offended if they hit me..
There used to be a North Country comedian called Al Read. One of his catch phrases was “Right monkey”. By heck, wouldn’t he be in trouble these days? No problem if the audience was a hundred percent white but if there happened to be one black face in the audience he would be pilloried. Probably not by the black person but by some idiot (There, I’ve done it now) who had set themselves up as protector of the dignity of people with black skin.

So I think we should have changed the URL (No! That’s not a rude word) of our website from to

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