COMMENT: New Zealand's running the risk of becoming a politically correct society of sycophants.
We'll all be cowered so much that we'll soon have to check Mrs Beeton's book on good manners and correctness in dealing with others before we open our mouths for fear of causing offence.
It's well over a century since Mrs Beeton laid down the rules for impeccable manners in her book Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management. Today we're having to learn to tiptoe through the minefield of sexual stereotyping given there are so many types these days that we have to consider.
In recent weeks we've had the Gay Pride parade's ban on cops wearing uniforms which seemed to contradict their enthusiasm to embrace all comers, then we had the ridiculous spectacle of Santa Claus being banned as Father Christmas because he said it was a job for blokes which would seem to be bleedingly obvious. The ban was lifted at the last minute because of the outcry.
Nelson then added insult to the injury of enthusiastic local kids by having "Santa" perched on his coach at the tail end of the parade, only he was a Maori bloke in a Hawaiian shirt draped in a red cloak with the idea of bi-culturalism leading multi-culturalism. Fair suck of the sav!
We shouldn't overlook one of Wellington's poshest girls' schools Queen Margaret's College changing its dress code, allowing for shorts and trousers after its rainbow students argued gender dysphoria (whereby you feel opposite to your birth gender). Uniform change had been argued for, but rejected, in the past by females who'd felt comfortable with themselves.
But now our attention's becoming focused on bullying and harassment in the workplace, thanks to Parliament's Speaker Trevor Mallard who would have known it'd reflect worse on National than Labour, given the former was in power for nine years employing many more people.
Maggie Barry was outed by anonymous former staffers for what seemed pretty trifling transgressions, like taking the proverbial out of a staff member who'd grown a moustache and calling staff the hired help.
At least the North Shore MP is able to turn up at work which isn't the opportunity being given to the Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell who, after complaints of bullying from staff, was told to pack her bags and take an early Christmas holiday while the allegations are investigated.
Minister Kris Faafoi gave her the marching orders without even talking to her. The allegations apparently include her publicly shaming employees and tearing up work in front of them.
Yeah well no-one likes being embarrassed at work and bosses do hold the balance of power. But from personal experience standing up to them, giving as good as you get, usually did the trick.
Clearly we live in much more sensitive times - but are we any the better for it?