That's a Wrap
First it was jerk rice, now it’s biryani wraps, togas and sombreros that are raising the heckles of the easily offended. Someone set up a taskforce...
By Nick Ferrari
April 26 2019
As you're reading this magazine, chances are you’re quite keen on food. So how would you view a new wrap on the market that contains sweet potato, rice, lettuce and sauce?
As a possibility if you needed a quick snack on the run? Or as a blatant sign of cultural oppression and racial discrimination and also displaying overtones of an uncaring and bullying Empire?
That is the latest in the seemingly endless row over what’s being called ‘cultural appropriation’, in which Marks and Spencer found itself on the receiving end of criticism after launching a Sweet Potato Biryani wrap. Apparently, for some putting biryani in a wrap rather than a bowl brings back memories of the days of the Raj, when India was the jewel in the crown of the British Empire. It’s just a wrap, but to these narrow-minded, oh-so-easily offended, puerile prigs it may as well be the Amritsar massacre.
Their criticisms included the accusation that it was not ‘genuine’. But how could it have been? It’s from Marks and Sparks, not Mumbai. The development of dishes has always been an evolutionary process, just study how creole cooking began: it’s pretty much hurling everything into a pot, chucking spice all over it and then serving it. Pizza was a peasant food in Italy, but now you can as easily spend a small fortune on one in a five star hotel, loading it with squid ink, octopus and truffles, as you can on a high street Margherita.
We’ve also seen ‘Jerk Rice’, a Caribbean-inspired Jamie Oliver concoction, dragged up for apparently causing hurt and offence by lacking certain ingredients of a jerk marinade.
Quite how a packet of microwaveable rice can hurt anyone is beyond me, unless you cook it for too long and burn your mouth when you eat it.
It’s not just food that’s in the sights of the crazed zealots. At some recent student parties the following were banned: sombreros because they could upset Mexicans, Roman togas because it cold be seen to be supporting slavery and hi-vis vests because it could be interpreted as taking the rise out of the working classes who wear them as they dig the roads or fill in the potholes.
Anyway, while we’re on the subject of the Romans, we can be utterly delighted about the “appropriation” that went on there. Thanks to them we got roads, bridges, aqueducts and rudimentary sanitisation and sewers. Next time you pull the chain to flush just think, in some small part you’ve got Julius Caesar to thank for it.
... A career has been blighted and an actor finds himself a pariah for talking about some unpleasant thoughts he had 40 years ago and didn’t act upon. Welcome to the world of the modern day witch hunt, where legions of small minded loons can – through the wonder of social media – get any supposed wrong-doer strapped into the ducking stool or burnt at the stake within minutes.
Let’s be straight about this. Liam Neeson’s thoughts about wanting to beat up a black man after he discovered a close female friend had been raped by a black assailant were shameful, indefensible, vile and positively racist. Neeson knows this and admits to it. His voice shook as he recounted the story and he said he was “ashamed” of his “horrible, horrible” thoughts.
Can any of us honestly say we’ve never had dark, or even evil thoughts, about someone or some organisation? What I wanted to do to a bank I was once with, and who had managed to miss an entire month’s direct debits and standing orders, would have got me 20 years in Wormwood Scrubs. But they were thoughts, not deeds.
Quite why Neeson inexplicably decided to go public with this story, from which he emerges with nothing but disgrace, will most likely never be known. However, as we do now know, he can be forgiven – while the sorry saga cannot be forgotten.
Or are we really now living in a time when you are judged by a mis-deed or vile thought, for the rest of your life?
As this is being written, it has just been revealed by the Metropolitan Police that half of all knife crime offenders in London are teenagers or even younger children, some as young as ten. This comes after the Home Secretary Sajid Javid unveiled new knife crime prevention orders for children aged 12 and above.
Get ready for task forces to be set up, plus ‘full scale reviews’ and ‘urgent action plans’. All nonsense. Indeed, there’s a dark but superbly illustrative saying among lower-ranking police officers that highlights the futility of such measures: “If in doubt, set up a bleedin’ squad... because it sounds good!”
The grim truth is the Home Office needs to talk with the Department of Education. More than 40 children are expelled from schools in England every day, and to the year ending 2017, there were 7,720 permanent exclusions – a rise of 56 per cent over three years.
Those disillusioned, dispossessed and dismissed youngsters become the next wave of drug mules, dealers and gang members. Find a way to help those who’ve been cast aside, and you’ll see all those grim figures start to reverse.