So my neighbor invited me out for a "couple of Christmas drinks" and I should have known better as I have Christmas shopping to finish, but I accepted. My head is now pounding. The line of the night was: "You don't need to see Monty Python again after you've seen it a few hundred times."
I would amend that to "you don't need to hear Monty Python jokes again after ..."
While out drinking, one of the guys with us -- a Welsh gentleman I'll call Al -- told me stories about when he lived in the United States. Once he was at a wedding reception and there was a woman who was sitting by herself. She didn't look like she was having any fun, she wasn't chatting with others and she also wasn't dancing. She also had only one leg. As Al learned from her later, she lost the other one a few months before in a motorcycle accident. Al, knowing full well that she only had one leg, walked up to her and asked her to dance. She protested, insisting that she couldn't, to which he replied, "Come one, you can't be any worse than me. I've got two left feet."
That has to rate as the best or worst pickup line in history. I don't know which. They danced the rest of the night.
Despite that charming story, I have to confess that I don't like Al. You see, Al is black, which has nothing to do with why I dislike him, but has everything to do with the look of incredulity on his face when he said to me "you're calling me a racist?"
Well, yes, if you tell me that Jews are troublemakers, have been troublemakers throughout history, run the United States and used the US as a proxy to launch a war against Iraq, I'll cheerfully call you a racist. You want to speak frankly? So will I.
So I guess it got a bit tense in the bar as I sat there and called the black guy a racist -- and repeated it to make sure he heard me correctly -- but I have to say that I'm getting tired of this. I'm tired of the train conductor telling me that the British National Party (whites only, sorry) needs to be in charge. I'm tired of the Austrian woman telling me that this country needs to kick out the immigrants (but she and I are the "good kind"). And now I have a black guy spewing out racist bullshit? I wonder if the fact that I'm an American makes people feel like they can tell me the things they won't tell others, because many British people swear that racists are a very tiny minority here, but I keep hearing it. Or maybe there's an assumption that American's are more likely to be racist? Who knows?
Update: I forgot to mention the best part. When he realized he was offending me with his anti-Jewish tirade (side note: "semitic" doesn't mean the same as "Jewish"), he asked if I was Jewish. When I told him I wasn't, he said "Oh, then it's OK if I say this to you."
Uh, no it's not. I believe in freedom of speech but it still doesn't mean I want to listen to your bullshit.