Mar 14th, 2008 | By | Category: Personal Columns

A Francophone Belgian friend sent me an email this evening; it announced the launch of a new mobile phone.

Nokia a sorti un nouveau modèle pour la région de Charleroi…


It made me wonder about banter and jokes and ‘prejudice’. Do the people of Brussels really dislike those from Charleroi? I don’t think it can be so serious, I cannot imagine my friend having any real prejudices.

How much of what is now considered unacceptable was in the nature of banter and how much was dangerous prejudice? When one target community disappears, do the comments simply shift focus?

The jokes made by people on this side of Dublin about the people on the North Side would be barred if the name of any minority group was inserted each time there was mention of the North Side. Yet the jokes are not indicative of any real animosity.

If it is illegitimate to mock any group, then I shall seek exemplary damages from the BBC for the depiction of the Somerset characters Watt and Wright by The Two Ronnies.

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  1. It is not what you say it is the way you say it!

    I still hate guns in any form!

  2. Surely the phones not for real? how irresponsible of Nokia. Ian I do still speak like that down yer me ansome!!!!

  3. I don’t think that would even hit the market here . . straight into the confiscation box at customs. As for bantering predjuce, where would be be if we didn’t slag the Kiwi Rugby team as handbag toting gayboys! We have a similar rivalry I suspect as do you with NI. Mind if we slag the gays, muslims, blacks, women . . .we’re in deep poo! Harbhajan Singh recently called one of our test cricketers, Andrew Simonds, a monkey and ended up suspended. I’m sorry but he looks like a monkey! Precious little cricketers.

    I’m with Grannymar . . sledging with humour is a part of life. Hey, I talk funny too! And I miss the Two Ronnies, they were a Thursday night staple when I was growing up!

  4. Listen ‘ere, baint a real gun!!!

    The implication from the Bruxellois is that Charleroi is such a dangerous place that you need to have your phone built into a gun.

    In Ireland it would be like Dubliners suggesting that you would need your phone in a knife handle in a certain other city.

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