Friday, March 19, 2010

Assaulting a dragon will even land a Lord in the hot seat

Lord Norman Tebbit is an interesting man. I agree with him on a lot of things. A Member of Parliament since 1970, he has campaigned against the Maastricht Treaty (the first step in consolidating the European Union), had the guts to opine that some immigrant communities would not assimilate into the majority society, a view he claimed vindication for in the wake of the 7/7 London bombings, and once told someone that rioting, as happened in Brixton in 1981, was not a natural consequence of unemployment. Tebbit told the young man in question, "I grew up in the '30s with an unemployed father. He didn't riot. He got on his bike and looked for work, and he kept looking 'til he found it."
He also dared to criticize the "saintly"—and just recently deceased—Michael Foot, and was injured in the IRA bombing of the Grand Hotel, where the 1984 Conservative Party Conference was being held.
But I was somewhat bemused to read that Lord Tebbit could be prosecuted over "dragon assault" charges.
During the Chinese New Year celebrations in his neighborhod of Bury St. Edmunds in late February, Tebbit was so upset by the noise of the parade that he ran outside his home to complain. He put his hands over a drum that someone was beating, and then he was jostled by someone in a dragon costume. This did not sit well with him.
"I got my knuckles rapped for my pains. I then got jostled by a dragon. I have never been jostled by a dragon before. I gave it a shove, then got on my way."
Lord Tebbit, you're not one of the crotchety creatures I kept having to avoid in the supermarket this morning, are you? Sometimes we dragons have to jostle you—it seems to be the only way you elderly folks ever get the message to let all the younger folks do their shopping. Honestly, I am so tempted to tell your kind, "Hey, I'm sorry that I was only born in 1969—I know you see me as just another uppity young person—and I don't blame you for moving only one-mile-per-hour, but when I respectfully stand out of your way and wait for you to pass, a 'thank you' would be nice!" So much for the civility of the older generations. Grumpy old bags ...
Anyway, the story is, Tebbit didn't just shove the Chinese dragon. He reportedly kicked at it. The front of the dragon was held up by an adult; the back was being commandered by a child. Tebbit was kicking at the back. A witness at the parade reported, "'He grabbed the drum and cymbal being played and then started violently kicking the dragon itself."
Suffolk Police have simply said that "inquiries are continuing into this incident." I don't think it's a stretch to say that Lord Tebbit will probably face nothing more severe than a fine.
In Tebbit's defense, he was new to the area where the Chinese New Year celebrations were taking place. But it's not much of a defense. I mean, it was a dim moment in his life to see all the costumes and Chinese paraphernalia and not put two and two together. Here's hoping the old boy can get his dignity back.
In the meantime, Lord Tebbit, don't go kicking at dragons anymore, OK?

1 comment:

dennis hodgson said...

The Chinese love making a noise, but it sounds as if we're talking expatriate Chinese here. A dragon dance is not traditional at Chinese New Year. In any case, a lion dance is far more spectacular and requires great acrobatic skills. We have one in our village every year [and it's noisy].