On the same day in mid-March, the ABC news service in Australia (which is, as far as I know not affiliated with ABC network in the U.S.) published these two brief stories.
The first item concerns an unexpected twist to “Book Week” at a British school:
“Book Week, where children dress up as their favourite book characters for a day, usually attracts debate as to whether characters from films like Frozen count.
“But 11-year-old Liam Scholes instead decided to go as Christian Grey, the protagonist of the sexually explicit novel and now film, complete with cable ties and mask.
“His mother Nicola defended her son’s choice of costume, saying she was happy when he came up with his own idea. . . .
“’Liam’s argument was: it’s the most talked-about book character for the past couple of years. So I said, “Yeah”.’”
Although Liam has apparently not read the book, Ms. Scholes said he had a rough idea of what it was about, but that the costume was intended as tongue-in-cheek.
“’Apparently it went down really well with the vast majority of the students. They all took it for the tongue-in-cheek joke that it was meant to be. There’s nothing sinister, no offence intended. It was meant to be a laugh,’ she said.
“’The school, however, didn’t see that. They found his costume offensive.
“’Liam was told he had to change his character, which I don’t think he did.
“’And they wanted him to be James Bond, [who] ironically [is] a very promiscuous character who kills people. So I don’t know which is [the] worst of the two.’”
The second item concerns a snafu at a wedding in rural India:
“An Indian bride has walked out of her own wedding after the groom failed to solve a simple math problem.
“The woman stormed out after her husband-to-be failed to come up with the correct answer for 15 plus 6. He answered 17. . . .
“Afterwards, despite pleas from the groom’s family, the wedding was called off, leaving hundreds of disgruntled guests behind. . . .
“Police were called to intervene in the row, but it was eventually resolved by the families, who returned all the jewelry, gifts and cash traditionally exchanged at an Indian wedding.
“Most marriages in India are arranged by the families of the bride and groom, and it is common for men and women to marry without having spent much time together.”
Perhaps if the groom had come to the wedding dressed as Christian Grey, he could have avoided the math quiz altogether—unless, of course, the bride-to-be would have preferred James Bond.