Tuesday 21 October 2014

Time to Grow Up?

In the last week or so I have read a couple of links posted by people that are young, intelligent and know quite a bit about beer.

The first was a blog post by Rowan Molyneux about the now infamously recalled CAMRA young members recruitment leaflet and how sexism is still going strong amongst the ranks of CAMRA members.
Had CAMRA actually paid any sort of attention to the young people it had asked about how to portray potential members in the leaflet would have been very different and almost certainly not have to be recalled over a very public shaming of the organisation.
The young CAMRA members told the HQ that the leaflet was not fit for purpose but HQ went and ran with it anyway. Putting it as kindly as i can at this point....Muppets.

Secondly was a link thrown onto twitter by Matt Curtis. The link was about a local CAMRA branch defending a pub that was putting on racist entertainment and Matt made the point to me on twitter that CAMRA HQ probably had no knowledge of the event and wouldn't have known about the branch defending the 'entertainment'. Fair enough but as a Branch Secretary and Festival Publicity Officer he's probably helped book the entertainment, of course he's going to defend it!
The language used to defend it is interesting too, it's quite belligerent and unapologetic, not an image that the membership(in my eyes) portrays generally.

Now as you may know, i am not a CAMRA member and i never will be, it has no real appeal to me and i cannot see that changing so you may see this as a bit CAMRA-bashy but i'm really trying not to be.

That said, isn't it time that these sorts of occurrences became an odd slip-up rather than an almost weekly event?

Considering the average age of the membership i find it ironic that the organisation needs to grow up, not just a bit either, quite significantly in my view. If it doesn't the organisation will be marginalised in the very beer industry it worked so very hard to help save.  Let's face it, without CAMRA the beer scene in the UK would not be anywhere near as interesting as it is at the moment!


Cooking Lager said...

I think what you have here is a dichotomy. In exhibit one you have an organisation lacking in confidence and trusting professional consultants before its own members and making an error. Answer, trust the members!

In the latter you have an autonomous regional branch causing offence through racist ignorance. Answer, don’t trust the members, and force an edict from above telling what to do!

Difficult choice. If you want to promote the ale to old and young, black and white, men and women, gay and straight, you’ve gotta avoid songs about bongo bongo land I would reckon. I would suspect that went without saying? However the CAMRA volunteers are just that, unpaid volunteers. You can’t send orders down to them and still expect them to dutifully work for nowt. You have to trust them not to be so stupid.

As to why they are stupid in this instance. I’m not going to accuse all old people of being racist but in my observation racism is seen as a greater evil and offence among the young than the old. An organisation of old white men might make the mistake of not condemning a racist act with the vigour modern morality thinks it should. In this case they even defended such an act. No confusion there then. They like songs about bongo bongo land in that beardy branch. Jesus wept.

In the former instance, CAMRA withdrew the leaflet. Not a bad response but too little too late. A firmer apology and acknowledgement of error would have resulted in better PR. In the latter instance I suspect there is a case for HQ to sanction a branch for putting on racist acts and chuck those members out. Why those people are still there defending it is anyone’s guess. Makes a mockery of a volunteer’s charters promising respect to all.

It’s not an advert to join and become the future of beardy ale appreciation, eh?

rabidbarfly said...

isn't that 3rd paragraph a bit ageist...? ;-) very good points, well made, Cookie!

Zak Avery said...

I think that these two things, and the objections to them, are pretty representative of the country as a whole, to be honest.

rabidbarfly said...

I think you're probably right, Zak.

ABrewHaHa said...

You can't use such broad brush strokes and say these things are representative of CAMRA as a whole. There are unsavoury elements in most organisations, as a former TU Rep I was frequently surprised at the racism, sexism and downright intolerance displayed by some of my comrades. And yes I did challenge them on it. As for the leaflet I would say look to the NE member with responsibility.
And some branches are run by fuckwits.

rabidbarfly said...

The reason to use such broad brush strokes is to try and make the organisation as a whole start changing their stance from within.

Branches may well be run by fuckwits but it's up to CAMRA as an organisation to make sure they don't bring it's name into disrepute.

As i've said i'll never be a CAMRA member but it doesn't stop me from being annoyed than an organisation that has done such good things in the past cannot change or get rid of a few individuals giving it a bad name now.

J Mark Dodds said...

The whole country needs to grow up, and wake up. The Scottish referendum said a lot about England. Britain is sleepwalking.

J Mark Dodds said...

This rubbish is typical of much outpouring from the beer and pub sector altogether, male dominated, oafish, ignorant out of touch celebrating laddishness. The Fosters lager ads. Wonderful.

Mind you cider has been getting its act together recently.