Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Essexy beasts and Essexism

So the Essex Lion appears to be an overfed cat. The police have called off the search and the papers are revelling in a superb silly season story. The Sun has three pages on the "Essexy beast". The Daily Mirror has a front stage story "Revealed: The Lion of Essex" next to a picture of Tom the ginger cat who sparked a two day lion-hunt. It also exposes a Twitter fake picture with the memorable headline, "You can't hide your lion eyes".The story also makes the front page of the Guardian and the paper includes an internet picture of the lion superimposed upon the Towie cast in front of their Essex logo.

Meanwhile the Independent opts for the moral high ground with a piece by Patrick Strudwick lambasting anti-Essex snobbery. He claims "There's no moral difference between laughing at people simply because of where they were born and mocking people because of the amount of melanin in their skin, their chromosomal make up or their inability to walk." This PC viewpoint rather ignores the fact that much of the internet commentary, such as the brilliant Essex Lion Twitter account, was very funny and that most Essex people can laugh at themselves.

"Essexism, it seems, is the last unchallenged prejudice," writes Strudwick. Sounds like the geezer needs a slap from the Essex Lion round the back of Sugar Hut. (Sorry, that's a joke, been reading too much of the Essex Lion, Bruv.)

Yes, there's some truth in the stereotype in Estuary Essex, but most people are intelligent enough to know that not everyone in the county is like a Towie character and that Saffron Walden, Maldon and Manningtree are different in character to say Basildon or Grays. And the one thing worse than having a dodgy public image is not having one. Essex could be as bland as Bedfordshire were it not for the jokes.

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