THE AL GILKES COLUMN: From C-word to B-word
Barbados “jumped” recently when Rihanna told the world how prevalent is the use of the C-word on our rock and how surprised she was at being scolded for using it in public out there.
Hypocritical as we are, nuff-nuff Bajans called the radio programmes, wrote letters to the newspapers and expressed themselves vociferously on social media condemning Rihanna for “telling lies”.
But, truth be told, Rihanna was correct and if you doubt that, open the windows of your ivory towers and let everyday conversation flow in from any social level – from rum-washed, white yachts cruising lazily along a Saturday afternoon west coast; from students of all ages expressing themselves on and off school premises; from English football supporters in argument over whether Arsenal is better than Man U, or Man U better than Chelsea and so on; from loosed collar-and-tie office workers and professionals engaged in de-stressing conversation at Friday after-work bar limes; and so on and so on.
And now that discussion on the use of the C-word has faded, Barbados “jumped” again a few days ago when British Prime Minister David Cameron caused the B-word to take prominence once more after languishing at the bottom of now seldom used words.
As it was with Rihanna’s C-word, columnists and letter writers with opposing views have been slinging balls of condemnation and ridicule at each other in every newspaper edition and, as expected, the B-word is among the hottest topics for discussion on call-in programmes.
There seems to be more disagreement these days over whether it is right to B or not to B than there has been since the 1600s over the meaning of one of the most famous quotations in world literature, William Shakespeare’s “to be or not to be” from the play Hamlet.
And listening to the arguments for and against, including those based on biblical admonitions, a visitor from another planet would be convinced that men deciding if they want to B or not to B is a new thing in Barbados, as much as that mini-skirts or girls smoking cigarettes is new, or bullying in schools is new and so on and so on.
In fact, to B or not to B today is nowhere close to where it was back in the day when, for example, one of the biggest productions in Barbados was the annual Queen Of The Bees competition and when the real Miss Barbados queen show, then held at the Globe Cinema, would be blocked by a well timed, last-minute entrance of a long B line, bedecked from head to toe in the most extravagant female fashion.
And at intermission, the real women in the place would be begging the real men for a break to use the male toilets since the female ones would be occupied by names like Irma la Douce and Candy The Virgin.
The contention now is over whether Barbados should rearrange the Beatles’ advice in song and Let Them B.