Political Correctness in Sodding Sudbury Bingo

Filed under Random Grumps & Raves, The Demise of Democracy and Freedom, Things to Consider
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The cancer of Political Correctness is now affecting the popular English game of Bingo – believe it or not!  In the town of Suffolk town of Sudbury, England, the local officials have banned bingo-callers from using the traditional number identifiers “Legs Eleven” (for the number eleven) and “Two fat Ladies” (for the number eighty-eight), on the grounds that they are politically incorrect and may spark lawsuits against the council from outraged portly persons, or from women who might deem them sexist!

Oh, good grumping grief!  Are the Poms going mad?  Bingo calling is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game for the players – the rhythm, pitch and cadence of the caller’s voice, the traditional embellishments that globally identify the numbers.  These are as old as the game itself, as instantly recognisable as a market fishmonger’s patter, square-dance calls or a running joke in a sitcom.

The bingo call “Two fat Ladies” is so much a part of the English bingo tradition that it was adopted by two gifted female chefs as the very name of their highly successful television cooking show.  Get this – the two lady chefs were indeed fat, cheerful, entertaining and talented.  And obviously unabashed by being two fat ladies and happy to adopt the term as their own.

If a caller used the platform of the bingo hall to make gratuitous racist or derogatory jokes, then I would expect lawsuits to be a likely consequence.  Not to mention a black eye.  But bingo calls are not gratuitous insults like racist jokes.  They are the traditional fabric of bingo, part of it’s colour and ambiance, giving pleasure to the players.  What court of law would uphold such a lawsuit?  Or are English jurists as bonkers as some English local officials?

P.S. Bingo is a Pommie tradition that has even found its way to some of England’s former colonies.  The harmless group gambling game attracts faithful followers, who revel in the company, the cheerfulness, the excitement, the chance to make some extra cash for the price of an outlay so small that it has no more significance than the cost of a movie ticket.  And given the low quality of the average cinematic pot-boiler, bingo can be more entertaining.

Players each draw bingo cards, that have rows of numbers.  No two are alike.  The players pay a small fee for each game.  The pot of their fees is the jackpot for the game, and the winner takes all.

The game is led by the bingo caller, who has a sheet for each game, for which he calls the numbers in turn.  Players mark off each called number on their own card (if it is on the card).  The first player to have marked off all the numbers calls out “Bingo!” and subject to a quick check by the caller, the game is won.

P.P.S. “Pom” is an antipodean colloquialism for an Englishman.  When used without any other qualifier, it is a fond term, not a derogatory one.

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