We've all been there – those awkward situations where you've blurted out an offensive remark, then had a fight about it, then almost got the sack, then bewilderingly gone to rehab because everyone thinks you're a tit.
When we said 'all' we pretty much just meant Isaiah Washington from Grey's Anatomy, who learnt the hard way that you can't go round screaming the word 'faggot' at gay people when you work on a vaguely whimsical television drama about hospitals. Isaiah Washington's road to recovery has been long and hard, and now it's time for Isaiah Washington to display what lessons he's gained in a series of television commercials that will preach tolerance to the masses. The first one, entitled 'A Man Who Hates Gay People Patronises You So He Can Keep His Job' was premiered last night.
It's political correctness gone mad, isn't it, when a man can't even roar the word 'faggot' at a secretly-gay actor during a fight with another actor without having to go on TV and making announcements about how shouting slurs relating to individuals' sexual orientation is wrong. They'll be telling us we can't throw bricks at immigrants next. Cuh.
And it's all Isaiah Washington's fault too – if he hadn't followed Mel Gibson's anti-Semitism and Michael Richards' racism with a blast of homophobia during his befuddling Grey's Anatomy actor-fight with Patrick Dempsey, then his co-star TR Knight would have never been forced out of the closet and everyone on Grey's Anatomy wouldn't have tried to get him fired and Isaiah Washington wouldn't have had to apologise for hating all the gays and everything would still be as it was.
But Isaiah Washington has learnt from his mistakes. Even though it's more of a place where you call yourself the devil and then attempt suicide, Isaiah Washington chose to go to rehab to understand why he's such a bastard to homosexuals and – now that he seems to have got the measure of it – Isaiah Washington has made a series of television commercials to preach tolerance to people who just want to watch their favourite TV shows without having to listen to a homophobe grovel to keep his job. In these televised messages, Isaiah Washington says:
"Words have power. The power to express love, happiness and joy. They also have the power to heal… When you use words that demean a person because of their sexual orientation, race or gender, you send a message of hate. … We have the power to heal and change the world by the words we use."
It's a nice sentiment, and one that has been welcomed as timely by various gay and lesbian support groups, but it's fairly inaccurate. Words don't have the power to heal, and that's why our local GP was recently struck off the medical register. In retrospect he probably should have stuck to medicine and bandages like everyone else, since their power to heal is slightly more scientific.
But anyway, at least these television appearances have proved that Isaiah Washington has learnt the most important lesson of all – it's OK to hate as many different types of people as you like, just never ever say you do out loud.