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Thursday, 29 April 2010

Where do these bigots come from?

One can't help being disappointed with the British media once again over the minor spat between the prim minister and a 70 year old widow from Rochdale. Not that they shouldn't be concerned when elected politicians act spitefully towards members of the public, but because they missed the irony that he should call her a bigot simply because she enquired about the number of Eastern Europeans.

"bigot" is a very old word, and as far as we can tell it comes from the same French word, which the Parisians applied to the neighbouring Normans, implying that they were sanctimonious and stubborn bores. The Normans as we know had Scandinavian origins and were somewhat brutish fellows, so the epithet is hardly surprising, but where did it come from?

As any student of comparative linguistics will tell you, the consonants 'b' and 'v' are often interchangeable and as a result, it would not be a wild surmise that the "bigot" is in fact a contraction of the word "visigoth", a tribe whose sanctimonious boorishness far exceeded that of the most zealously partisan Norman.

It speaks volumes about today's media that Wapping's finest failed to spot that the Prime Minister had condemned Mrs Duffy as a member of a tribe that originated in North East Bulgaria in the 4th century AD.

Which didn't answer her question, but almost did.

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