Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Nazi Uniform Faux Pas Horror

In an excruciating plot twist straight out of a Ricky Gervais script, I have a mortifying update on the Nazi uniform issue.

Some of my colleagues and me were discussing the relative merits of World War Two Teutonic military garb this morning. In that typical London creative agency way, we were having a bit of a post-modern ‘how shocking can we be?’ laugh about it. I happened to notice that a freelance Information Architect nearby, an American woman, kept looking up and scowling. Not much of a sense of humour, I thought.

So, a little later, I had a meeting with her about some work, and I said up front that I’d seen she’d been uncomfortable with the conversation and I hope she realised that I wasn’t a fascist and that my interest was unsympathetic.

She looked really shocked. “Sympathetic?!” she said.

“No no no! God no! UNsympathetic!”

“Oh OK, well – I did think it was a little peculiar. You know, a number of my relatives were killed in the holocaust.”

This was when the floor dropped from beneath me and I began to seriously rue what can only be described as a god-given ability to say the wrong things in front of the wrong person. Not to mention regretting my crass, prurient personality, of course.

It was also when I began to eat a huge serving of humble pie. Then came back for seconds and thirds at the foot-in-mouth buffet.

I am still genuinely horrified. Thinking about it seriously, it’s no different to discussing how cool Ku Klux Klan outfits look in front of a black person.

I hasten to add that I’ve never made THAT particular faux pas.


Steve said...

I knew I was right to side with the Frankie Howard thing. A toga is never offensive.

Tristan said...

You could be right, Steve - unless Johnny Vegas started wearing one.

Steve said...

...or John McCririck.