Bear with me for a moment, because I'm going to write (only fleetingly) about cricket. In the aftermath of the sorry debacle concerning the Indian cricket team being accused of racism against Australia’s Andrew Simmons, and the subsequent sacking of umpire Steve Bucknor by the ICC (a monumentally dreadful decision IMHO), I watched a TV program the other morning on which the panel discussed whether using the name Monkey is the action of a racist.
I’ve got several mates who I refer to – entirely affectionately – as Monkey, one of whom will also be familiar to anyone who regularly reads Autocar. On his passport it may say Christopher Harris, but to anyone who knows him personally, it’s Monkey (below right... I mean left). He has a T-shirt with the word written right across the back of it to avoid any potential confusion. I should also point out that, while there are several stories in circulation about where the nickname comes from, not one of them has anything to do with the bloke's ancestry or ethnicity.
Yet according to UK law it is the victim who decides whether they are, or have been, the subject of racial abuse. So if Chris were to walk into the office one day and accuse me of being racist for calling him Monkey, theoretically – and legally – I’d be in trouble. Now that really would be a laugh.
I therefore wonder just what the likes of Mercedes might be thinking right now, considering that it has just launched a new, distinctly racy range of cars entitled Black editions (see below). And what about the VW Polo Bluemotion? Sounds quite rude to me, not to mention offensive to anyone who happens to make honest money out of the porn industry.
And if we’re talking about nicknames being offensive, how about the Porsche GT2 being referred to as The Widowmaker? Take this kind of ludicrous thinking to its extreme conclusion and Porsche, presumably, can now be sued. Not because the GT2 is such a monster to drive but because the nickname it has ended up with might be offensive to any one who’s lost their partner in a road accident.
One question. When – precisely – did Mr Common Sense leave the building? Did I miss a meeting? Was there a vote? And does anyone with anything between their ears actually give a monkey's about this sort of thing?