Offence seeker of the week.

Oh, those crazy Kiwis at Air New Zealand just don’t know when to stop. Last year they ran ads and safety videos featuring staff wearing nothing but body paint prompting a prude backlash of a whopping one complaint to the New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority.

“All genital areas were hidden but they left nothing to the imagination and [it] conjured pictures that none of us needed,” the complainant said.

No, you just have a dirty mind, that’s all. That might have occurred to the ASA as well but they settled for saying the ad was unlikely to offend many other people (sadly avoiding the opportunity of asking whether there’s any right not to be offended in the first place). Then, as I mentioned back in January, they ran the ‘Cougar’ advert and, according to the offence seekers, demeaned every woman over 35 past, present and future. Or something.

But this time they’ve really pushed boundaries of taste and decency by running an advert with ‘whoop-whoop’ in it, the heartless, insensitive basta… wait, what?

The advertisement has prompted a woman who lost her father in the crash to label the airline’s use of the phrase as insensitive.

“It definitely tugs at the heartstrings,” Jayne Holtham said. “The second you say that, you remember the last few seconds of the flight.”

Oh? A crash? Okay, go on…

There was a “whoop whoop” warning from a ground-proximity system just before an Air New Zealand DC-10 crashed into Antarctica’s Mt Erebus … killing 257 people.

Whaaaaat? Oh, come on. That’s a bit bloody tenuous. There are ringtones and slot machines and heaps of video games and any number of movie and TV shows that include similar noises – are you telling me you complain about all of them? No? Does anyone else who had a relative die in any other air crash complain? No? So this is just because it’s the actual company involved in the crash in which your relative died, and apart from them any use of the sound or someone printing or saying the words ‘whoop-whoop’ and there’s no tugging of the heartstrings at all? None of this should bother you then.

I’m sure some would think I shouldn’t be taking the mick out of your recent loss, which I’m surprised I missed in the papers and must be an oversight on my part since it’s not like I live out in the back of Woop Woop or anything… just an expression, sorry.* So, when did this happen, exactly?

[Flight 901] crashed into Mount Erebus in sector whiteout conditions on November 28, 1979, killing all 257 people aboard.

Oh. Thirty-one years ago. Too soon, is it?

Restoring some of my faith in humanity, other relatives don’t agree.

However, Susan O’Rourke, whose mother Marlene Hansen was a passenger on the flight, said the phrase did not upset her.

“It’s commonly used. I have even used it on my Facebook page, so I’ve got no issues with it,” she said.

“It’s used all over the world by many different people, especially younger ones.”

Which is what Air New Zealand said.

Nicked from The Australian

In a statement, an airline spokeswoman said the words referred to a “party phrase”.

“The theme of the advert is `Let’s Party’ and DJs at dance parties will often call out, `Can I get a whoop whoop?’ and the crowd responds with `Whoop whoop!’.”

See? Nothing to do with cockpit alarms or anything like that. I’m glad the Susan O’Rourke and her sister at least can see that.

O’Rourke’s sister, Melanie Fishburn, said she was not worried by the phrase.

Oh, thank fu…

However, the sisters said they understood why some relatives might be upset.

And they were doing so well. Look, on a certain level I can understand as well. As it’s been explained I can make the connection, though I wouldn’t have had a hope in hell otherwise, but three decades on isn’t it perhaps time anyone who has a problem put it behind them? Shit happens and people die, and the number of us who will never suffer the loss of a parent through one means or another is quite small – and when people do that inevitably means the equal or greater tragedy of parents outliving their children. No matter who we lose and how close they were eventually we need to stop grieving, get a grip and remember that life goes on. Above all we need to remember that things that remind us of our deceased loved ones can crop up all the time and completely at random, but if someone hasn’t actually said, ‘Hey, remember that time when your [insert dead rellie] said such-and-such, what a card, eh, how we all laughed?’ you can be pretty confident that it wasn’t meant. It’s just chance connections made in our own minds and no-one, least of all whoever or whatever prompted the memory, bears any responsibility. It’s sad that this woman’s dad died in an air crash, but it’s sadder still that after 31 years she hasn’t moved on enough that the airline involved can’t run an advert, quite possibly dreamt up by someone who wasn’t even born at the time, without her getting upset.

And not sad so much as fucking enraging is that we’re again pandering to the concept that there’s some innate right to go through life without being offended, and for this Air New Zealand do bear a portion of the blame.

The company apologised if anyone was offended.

No! There is nothing to apologise for. You used a phrase in an advert, that’s all. If someone doesn’t like it they can whine all they like but their fragile feelings DO NOT give them any fucking veto on your use of the English language. I get offended by things all the time – all the fucking time – including by these constant fucking displays of victimhood and the associated need for the whole fucking universe to revolve on fucking eggshells to avoid even the lightest bruising of an ego or the gentlest hurt to someone’s feelings. It doesn’t merely boil my piss, it dilutes it with a generous serve of four star leaded petrol and compresses it to about thirty or forty atmospheres before releasing a bolt of fucking lightning through it. And yet I don’t complain because I know being offended gives me no such right. Sure, I rant about it here or I tell my wife how full of pricks the world so often seems to be, but I never, never, ask that anyone stop on my account. I just stay offended until I get the chance to blog it out of my system, at least until someone else comes along to do it all over again.

There is no right to not be offended. Learn to live with it.

* No, I’m bloody not.

Posted on September 22, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Offence seeker of the week..

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