We would. Snigger that is. After all we're so much more sophisticated than in times past.
Not so very long ago there was a very fine gander. He was strong and smooth and beautiful and he spent most of his time singing to his wife and children. One day somebody who saw him strutting up and down in his yard and singing remarked, “There is a very proper gander.”
An old hen overheard this and told her husband about it that night in the roost.
“They said something about propaganda,” she said.
“I have always suspected that," said the rooster, and he went around the barnyard next day telling everybody that the very fine gander was a dangerous bird, more than likely a hawk in gander’s clothing. A small brown hen remembered a time when at a great distance she had seen the gander talking with some hawks in the forest. “They were up to no good,“ she said.
A duck remembered that the gander had once told him he did not believe in anything. “He said to hell with the flag, too,“ said the duck. A guinea hen recalled that she had once seen somebody who looked very much like the gander throw something that looked a great deal like a bomb.
Finally everybody snatched up sticks and stones and descended on the gander’s house. He was strutting in
his front yard, singing to his children and his wife. “There he is!“ everybody cried. “Hawk-lover! Unbeliever! Flaghater! Bomb-thrower!“ So they set upon him and drove him out of the country.
Yesterday, a twitter fury erupted because the on-line, human equivalent of that old hen misread or misheard the word "snigger" turning it into a terrible racist slur. And I guess that the only thing is for us to take the 'moral' from Thurber's modern fable to heart - having told the Very Proper Gander's tale, our James concludes:
Moral: Anybody who you or your wife thinks is going to overthrow the government by violence must be driven out of the country.
Or off twitter!