I was having coffee with a good friend of mine last week and during our discussion he produced a paper back book entitled “The Official Politically Correct Dictionary and Handbook” which he had come across when de-cluttering his book collection.
The book was dated 1992 and we both looked surprised that the PC crusade had started so long ago. Inside the book were a couple of articles he had cut from the Sunday Times newspaper in 1992 and 1993 just as the movement was gathering momentum.
Just to illustrate how crazy things were becoming here are a couple of examples:-
- The cultural services committee in Hull has tried to ban all reference to the seven dwarfs in this years pantomime
- In Inverness a woman councilor took offence that dogs were described as “mans best friend” in a handbook for pet owners, so the phrase was changed to “peoples best friend.”
What also began to emerge was a redefining of certain word and phrases and some of my favourites are listed below.
Handicapped Differently abled
Failure Deferred success
Fat Alternative body image
Dead Terminally inconvenienced (I kid you not)
Wife swapper Consensual non-monogamist
Unemployed Involuntary leisured
Hunter Bambi butcher (love that one)
Serial killer Person with difficult to meet needs
Stupid Differently brained
I could go on with the list but it would just get more and more depressing. But I do have to admit I find some of them, probably unintentionally on the writers part, extremely funny.
Since these articles were written I thought we had moved on and matured as a society and that people were less censorious about use of language but I was mistaken.
A little while ago I was discussing this topic with an old friend who still works for a Local Authority and she was telling me that she had been sent on a “Diversity Awareness” training course. During the course of which the issue of language came up and she was presented with a list of acceptable and non acceptable words and phrases.
“Little people of the rainforest”
One of the words that was now banned was Pygmy, instead they had to be referred to as “little people of the rain forest”…………..I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at this.
And you wonder what your money is being spent on by local councils!