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A popular children's TV puppet show starring Basil Brush has been accused of racially abusing gypsies.
 
British police have launched an investigation into claims that an episode of the Basil Brush Show that screened on the BBC was racially offensive because it showed a gypsy woman trying to sell the puppet fox wooden pegs and a bunch of heather.
 
"This sort of thing happens quite regularly and we are fed up with making complaints about stereotypical comments about us in words that we find racist or offensive," Joseph Jones, vice-chairman of the Southern England Romany Gipsy and Irish Traveller Network, told the Mail on Sunday newspaper. "Travellers have historically sold heather and pegs, but they don't do it anymore for a living. It could be that someone thought this was a kind of stereotyping like the portrayal of black people in the Black and White Minstrel Show."
 
Very interesting, the idea that you shouldn't mention or portray in a work of fiction something that happened in the past.
 
We look forward to news that all copies of Rider Haggard's "King Solomon's Mines" are to be removed from library shelves because the book portrays a negative image of some black Africans in the past, as will most John Buchan novels which are uniformly disparaging about all racial and national groups except the English aristocracy. This will be closely followed by all Rupert Bear and Tin-Tin annuals.
 
The naval stories of author Patrick O'Brian will be banned because they portray the routine abuse of British sailors by officers, and so will some of John Masefield's novels which describe fox-hunting in positive terms.
 
Benjamin Britten's operas "Peter Grimes" and "Let's make an opera" will no longer be staged as they both feature the abuse of children in the workplace.
 
Nor will fiction be the only casualty. Schools will be ordered to burn any history books that describe the deaths of Captain Cook or General Gordon at the hands of enraged members of non-white ethnic groups, or that suggest that any blame attached to any German nationals between 1939 and 1945.
 

 

 
A new version of the Bible will become required reading in the Church of England, one that makes no adverse moral judgements about racial groups such as the Hittites, the Midianites and the Samaritans (yes, I know he was a good Samaritan, but the story suggests that most Samaritans were no good at all).
 
The website www.GrumpyOldSod.com will be closed down because of its promotion of racial stereotypes - see this page.
 
And as for The Lord of the Rings, well if you were an orc, wouldn't you be offended? Yes, we know that orcs don't actually exist, but do we want to give our children the idea that it's all right to vilify any racial group, whether they exist or not?
 
Nor are racial stereotypes the only reason why works of fiction may be unsuitable for modern society. For instance, what are the Health and Safety issues arising from Peter Pan or The Water Babies, which suggest to impressionable young people that swimming in rivers and flying out of the bedroom window might be appropriate activities?
 
Tell you what, why not let's be on the safe side and ban all books? And films. And plays. And operas.
 
And then there's bloody poetry
 

 
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