PETER PATTER: Political correctness fine, just not here
THIS political correctness stuff has really gone too far.
Australians used to be known for their larrikin ways and keen sense of humour.
But it appears the "Wesley Wowsers" aren't going to stand idly by and let the rest of us enjoy life.
A group of us was just sitting around chatting and enjoying a laugh when one couldn't help notice the frowns coming from a nearby table.
Now, certain among our group like a pun, while some of the rest of the group hate puns, hence those of us pun lovers go out of our way to infuriate the others.
It's how mateship in Australia has always worked.
Yes, we're there for you in tough times, but we're also out to stir you up unnecessarily most of the time.
Anyway, there we were discussing the world's major problems, you know, like how sometimes when you sneeze or cough hard it can prompt a bodily function reaction which you had not intended or were ready for.
Now, don't scrunch your nose up, it's happened to all of us. Well, most of us anyway.
You've been feeling crook for a few days, launch into an uncontrollable coughing fit and next thing you know you've got that unmistakable warm feeling "back there".
"That's called 'pooping cough'," someone offered with all pun intended.
The pun appreciative section of the group giggled, the rest didn't, but the eaves droppers at the next table gave a decidedly audible "Hmph!", shook their heads and stormed off.
Really? I'm getting the notion that there are people out there these days who head off to the pub or coffee shop for no other reason than to eavesdrop on conversations that they hope will offend them.
For heaven's sake, according to our Australian of the Year, we shouldn't even refer to a mixed group of people as "guys" because the term is allegedly not inclusive of women.
Woolshed! I say.
Normally, when I arrive at work or at the pub or at the footy and there is a group of men and women, I'm partial to the greeting of "Hi Guys!" as I've always found it inclusive of everyone there.
However, far be it for me to question the Australian of the Year, so, as an experiment, I took his advice and waltzed into my "local" and greeted all and sundry with: "An all inclusive 'good evening' to everyone with the greatest of respect to whatever gender you choose to be now or into the future".
I'll spare you the response, suffice to say it could only be described as having little regard for political correctness - or English for that matter.
So, sorry Australian of the Year, I tried.
Now, I'm not saying we should go around being insensitive and deliberately hurting other people's feelings. That would be un-Australian and rude.
But can't we lighten up a bit? You know, be the laid back people we used to be.
As this country delves more into the depths of political correctness, I find myself thanking God that I was born and grew up in a time where people appreciated a good laugh and few took offence, and when they did they had reason to.
I fear for the future of film and entertainment too.
How could the likes of Mel Brook's Blazing Saddles be made in today's PC world?
Or Peter Sellers and Blake Edwards The Party, or any Monty Python movie, TV show or sound track?