In Ireland there are two constructs, “The Man” and “A boy”, that are used by parents to corral their kids in. “A boy” is usually a person that got himself injured doing something stupid and is used as a warning to other kids, “A boy broke his legs climbing over those rocks”, or “A boy almost had his finger cut off climbing in that window”. (There is a window in the primary school of Dungeagan in Ballinskelligs, Co Kerry and I was that boy that people get warned about).
“The Man” however is the marginally empowered person that flexed it when ever he can. You meet them all the time when you go through metal detectors in airports and they take away nail clippers, or the security guards that tell you you can’t take pictures of a building. The comedian’s John Kenny and Pat Shortt, also know as D’Unbelievables, capture the phenomenon excellently at the start of the performance on D’Video :
I was reminded of “The Man” while reading Bruce Schneier blog, where in the UK a four year old girl was asked to remove her hoodie for vague “security” reasons:
“She had her hood up on her cardigan, a young lad came across and asked her to take her hood down because of security.”
When Ms Lewis learned what had happened, she spoke to the worker. She said: “He said ‘It’s policy, they don’t allow any hoodies in there.'”
While it would be great in society to slap these upside the head and tell them to stop acting the maggot that usually doesn’t help so we’ll always be stuck with them. Here’s another example of “The Man” from Father Ted :