A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Thursday, 16 November 2017

Hooptedoodle #283 - Good Will to All Men


If you haven't seen this before, it is an illustration from one of a series of Christmas-themed adverts produced by Gregg's, the UK bakery chain. Yes, quite so - probably a bit ill-considered. Daft, in fact. Gregg's reckoned it was meant as a bit of fun, apologised and promptly withdrew it - presumably they will try to recruit some grown-ups for the marketing department. That, you might think, would be an end to the matter - least said, the better.

Now I refuse, point plank, to get into any kind of argument about this. Not unpredictably, there is deep outrage in Twitterland, where the sanctimonious and the disapproving are thick upon the ground. Now people are not only outraged about it, but some are outraged because others are outraged about the wrong aspect of it. You can read about all this (if you can be bothered) in an article in the Independent, here.

There are more things wrong with this picture than you might guess at first glance. Obviously, replacing the infant Jesus with a sausage roll, for the adoration of the wise men, is a bit unorthodox, though, of course, the advert doesn't say that it's a straight swap - it's sort of implied. But never mind that, there's also the further business about Jesus being a Jew, so that not only is this horrifying to rather literal-minded Christians, but the association of pork sausages with Jewish people is also deeply offensive. Also, the wise men are almost certainly manufactured in China, which brings some further issues, but we'll swerve that one.

Also featured in the Independent article is a brief snippet about people wishing to boycott Tesco because their Christmas advert included a brief glimpse of a Muslim family. Ah yes. Christian charity in action - how lovely.

I tell  you what - I hope you have a very pleasant, peaceful Whatever-You-Prefer-to-Call-This- Festival; perhaps someone will be kind enough to come and wake me up when it's all over. I'll be in the attic. I have no problem with Christmas, it's just the bloody people.

29 comments:

  1. We may need a new Christmas carol "Away in Pret a Manger". Let's hope for peace on earth and the internet...

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    1. Excellent - I was hoping for a few good'uns, to brighten things up, to restore what faith I have left. That gets us off to a cracking start!

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  2. Tricky this. The wise men, coming from the east, were probably followers of the Zoroastrian faith. I think we need to know a lot more about the lifestyles and beliefs of Zoroastrians, I bet they didn't eat pork either. There must be a whole load more peple who could be offended by this who haven't found out about yet. I feel we should make sure to spread the word. Viral, man.

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    1. I haven't heard or thought of that for decades, but are we speaking of Zoroaster? Isn't he the same chap as Zarathustra, of thus spaking fame? By Jove - what a cultured blog this sometimes turns out to be.

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    2. A propos of something or other, the Contesse tells me that Freddie Mercury was a Zoroastrian - I bet you didn't know that?

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  3. Hmmm ... Who says you that's pork meat?. Maybe the sausage is of artificial or soya meat and the wise men are astonished by the prodigies of the human science... alittle imagination and tolerance please...

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    1. Very true - the sausage roll could contain anything at all. Also, it had occurred to me that a small collection of ornaments on the sideboard may represent the Nativity, but it is only an icon - a representative toy. It is not in itself sacred, unless, of course, it was once owned by Saint Tronald the Unimpeachable.

      If the Zoroastrians, for example, traditionally celebrate Christmas by arranging a group of little figures around a sausage roll, is this unacceptable? And if no-one sees it, where's the harm?

      Since I am a mere wardrobe, I can only wonder at such things.

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  4. Which one of them took a bite out of it ?

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    1. I seem to remember that they did not stop for rest, nor eat, nor drink while they were following yonder star, so they must have been ravenous. I know the Three Kings [sic?] are very important in Christmas Festivities in Spain and South America, but they were always kind of minor players in Britain - the kids who got the roles of the Three Wise Men in the school Nativity play were not required to speak, but were one step up from the kids who had to play the ox and the ass. There was a long held tradition among Liverpool schoolkids that the wise men brought gifts of Gold, Frankenstein and Myrrh. Quality stuff.

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    2. I think you have the rights of it - they were famished. And the chap at the top (the one holding the baby dustbin) is saying: "Now, what about the other two wishes?"
      Or am I confusing the yuletide traditions?

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    3. Nope, I'm not of the school that assumes that they have eaten it or wish to. I think they look serious enough to be investigators pondering the very question of who ate the big bite and where are they now and how to catch and identify them.

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    4. Not to mention how to repair the damage so that Herod doesn't notice. I mean he's already a Baddie so is obviously the one who ordered it.

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    5. Superb, the three wishes bit - like it a lot. The baby dustbin I thought was a cocktail shaker, which is a good sort of 1970s present, which means that the wise man on the left of the photo is probably holding a fondue set - so maybe that's Frankenstein on the right?

      Best way to hide the evidence would be get rid of it somehow - suggestions on a piece of goat parchment. Certainly (and I speak with some authority) trying to square up the ends by alternate nibbles will not work. Only answer is to lose the whole lot.

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  5. I grew up surrounded by Greggs. Personally I wouldnt recommend eating the pork sausage rolls. They certainly have never seen a pig. Now the steakbake I can recommend.

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    1. Greggs is a fine institution - their sausage rolls are very appealing early in the morning - comfort food, but only one sausage roll - a second one and breathing becomes laboured. Steak bakes are good, right enough - they also do a sausage, baked bean and cheese pasty which is pretty solid, though, as you say, it might be suitable for a meat-free diet. Our village Greggs does good business, they serve surprisingly decent coffee (but in those surgical plastic cups with lids), and you can pay the VAT if you want to sit at a table in the shop, and join all those people ignoring each other, reading their texts.

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  6. Would it be offensive to ask if anyone has found a wargaming use for the figures from one of those Nativity scenes?

    I know it's been done the other way round. Back in the 70s our junior school went to the main C of E church in Cleethorpes where they had a model of Bethlehem complete with Airfix Romans and Arabs.

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    1. For some reason I can't quite explain, I have a suspicion that Atlantic might have manufactured a Nativity set in pink plastic - I can almost see how it would look - it would be the set in the catalogue between Pharoah's Court and the Wild West Rodeo.

      Airfix soldiers in the church is good - there must be another story behind this - was the priest a closet wargamer? Was the model town any good? Need to know more about this...

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    2. OK - I had a look - Odemars do a Nativity set in 1/72, which includes Santa (which must be as jarring as a sausage roll, if you ignore the fact that he's a saint)

      http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.aspx?id=1109

      ...and - inevitably, now I come to think of it - there is a HO set by Preiser...

      https://www.modeltrainstuff.com/Preiser-HO-29091-Mary-and-Josef-The-Holy-Family-p/pre-29091.htm

      This is for people who want to model the Holy Family arriving by steam train, presumably.

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    3. A precursor to the Mad Padre you mean? I don't recall anything about who made the model. It looked good to my untutored eye.

      Maybe it was designed to get pre-pubescent boys interested in the Church. Subconsciously I probably took it as a blessing on my interest in model soldiers ('not toys!') . I don't think I referred to it as wargaming at that stage.

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    4. Martin S sent a late email, on the topic of the Odemars Nativity set including Santa Claus. If we take this literally, says Martin, (and let's not forget that the wise men arrived some weeks later, so this entire scene does not lend itself to literal interpretation), and we claim that Santa was actually present, along with the angel, shepherds etc, why was he dressed like that? How did he happen to have a suit like that, and how did he explain it to his friends? What was in the sack? Why?

      Martin reckons it would be tricky for him to play the Saint Privilege card, since he is uncertain whether they had saints at that time (someone will no doubt be able to help on this point).

      I feel a digression coming on - there is a legend around where I live, that St Baldred (our local saint, who is reputed to have lived in a cave down by the beach) is supposed to have crossed over to the Bass Rock by sailing on a rock, which is still called St Baldred's Boat. My youngest son, when he was young enough to (supposedly) be impressed by such stories, was very dismissive of the whole idea. So a saint crossed the sea on a rock? - so what? - that is the sort of thing saints do all the time. If a non-saint had achieved this, we'd have been more interested. Apart from anything else, why on earth would St B wish to go to the Bass Rock? - there's nothing there. Nichts. Niente. Nowt.

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  7. He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty sausage roll.....

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  8. It's a thin line between the Flying Spaghetti Monster's meat-based raiment's and a sausage-roll. As an occasional follower of the Flying Spagetti Monster (my atheism gets in the way sometimes, well; most of the time actually) I'd just like to say I was deeply offended by Greg's original hate-crime, and this post has only opened the scabs on those deep emotional wounds . . . some things are best left unsaid!

    H

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  9. It's either all very unsavoury ... or unsavioury ...

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  10. Excellent, gentlemen - thank you for entering into the spirit of - oh, what's it called? Hugh - I had a read about the FSM. I'm still not sure if it's me that's crackers or them.

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  11. It certainly leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

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    1. Well it is supposed to be the body of Christ, I don't care how good you fridge is, it's going to be a bit gamey after 2000 years!

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  12. Apropos of nothing - and in the same vein (and I apologise for being late to the party, I was on holiday), but did you see the articles this morning from some woman who said schools should immediately stop using "Sleeping Beauty" since it clearly demonstrates an unwarranted sexual advance in that she didn't ask the Prince to kiss her??? Some people seriously need to get a life...

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    1. ...but ...but - golly Steve - wouldn't she have slept on forever?

      A propos of even less, there was a story about two girls chatting in Starbucks...

      Tracey says, "...so anyway, you can imagine my surprise when this frog actually speaks to me! He tells me that he is really a very wealthy accountant, who has had a wicked spell cast upon him. He says that if a young girl kisses him he will change back, and they will live happily ever after."

      Emma is stunned - "OMG Trace - are you going to kiss him, then?"

      Tracey is dismissive - "Not likely - wealthy accountants are ten a penny, but a talking frog, now that's something."

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    2. LOL! (As the young people write...)

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