Once upon a time, there was a little bird called Chicken Licken, who ran around tweeting – in the pre-Rio Ferdinand sense – “the sky is falling, the sky is falling”.
The story was a moral on over-reaction, leading to mass hysteria. Today the Sky has indeed fallen ... on the heads of two broadcasters who made the sort of comments (about a lineswoman) that would have been best left to the pub after the match over a half of sour grapes.
No, it wasn’t banter, and, yes, it was offensive, but where will the rambling media post mortems and self-justifications end?
I find the whole sorry saga immensely irritating.
Not because I agree with what a couple of handsomely-paid and frankly misguided football pundits said, off air, but with their mics on (ah, you may know the offside rule, lads, but can you spot the off switch?) but because we should have simply taken the mickey out of them and let it end there.
Instead, the Government’s spin-doctors couldn’t have dreamed up a more effective diversion from the dismembering of the NHS and job pogroms in the public sector.
Our social networks have since become whisperers’ galleries calling for heads to roll on an epic scale.
It pains me to admit it, but Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson got it right in quoting from the Monty Python Spanish Inquisition sketch: “There’s heresy by word, heresy by being and heresy by thought.”
Now there’s heresy by hearsay, as everyone jumps on the bandwagon, regardless of whether it contributes to a “debate”, which should have been consigned to the bins while we focused on the bigger issues. So, it’s still a man’s world. Women who work within such can generally hold their own (no jokes please, clubland comedians...) and give as good as they get, rather than get out.
We are women, hear us roar with derisive laughter, rather than have an hissy fit about some torque and trouser type thinking we can’t drive, or rack ’em up at snooker, or play golf the same time he does... or understand the offside rule, even when trained to do so.
We don’t need to hoist burning bras, like KKK crosses, outside some dinosaur broadcaster’s house, or sit, knitting, with a malicious grin upon our face, when Madam Guillotine falls on another career.
We say it like it is – and humour is a great way of making a point.
Take first-time former beauty queen and self-confessed feminist Vicki Oyston, who once travelled on the Blackpool team bus.
The then-manager, Sam Ellis, said he had no objection to the chairman’s wife riding with the lads, but what about the industrial language? “Don’t worry,” she said. “I’ll try not to use any...”
Years ago I attended a press briefing where a senior officer arrived late, expecting coffee to be served by the one female officer present. “Get your own... sir,” she told him.