New PC BS...

From Tounge Tied on FoxNews:

This month’s Atlantic Monthly includes an excerpt from Diane Ravitch’s new book, The Language Police, which is either amusing or horrifying depending on your point of view. The piece is a simple list of words and phrases banned by major textbook publishers and their suggested alternatives. The piece is not online.

The best among many:

Blind leading the blind, the (banned as handicapism)
Busybody (banned as sexist, demeaning to older women)
Confined to a wheelchair (banned as offensive; replace with “person who is mobility impaired”)
East, Eastern (banned as Eurocentric)
Elderly, the (banned as ageist; replace with “older people”)
Fairy (banned because it suggests homosexuality; replace with “elf”)
Founding Fathers, the (banned as sexist; replace with “the Founders” or “the Framers”)
Huts (banned as ethnocentric; replace with “small houses”)
Jungle (banned; replace with “rain forest”)
Little person (banned as offensive; replace with “person of small stature”)
Lumberjack (banned as sexist; replace with “woodcutter”)
One-man band (banned as sexist; replace with “one-person performance”)
Regatta (banned as elitist)

And the best (Stalin’s minions couldn’t have done better):

Mother Russia (banned as sexist; replace with “Russia, vast land of rich harvests”)

Ok… I don’t want to sound insensitive here, but isn’t this a bit too far? If you want to go extreme with PCness, how about adding a few more… lets see what I can think of:
“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch” - an obvious attack on pro-lifers
“Human race” - first, and obvious case of speciesism, secondly, very offensive to those that do not run quickly.
“Alive” - very offensive to those that have passed away.

I could think of more, but I’ll leave that up to you.


In the immortal words of P.J. O’Rourke:

“If meat is murder, are eggs rape?”

That list is fairly nauseating–and reinforces my belief that textbook publishers are not doing our students any good.

On the other hand, why is the web site (and the thread title) claiming to attack Political Correctness, specifically? The phrase PC is generally aimed at the political Left, yet the Right is just as capable of censoring ideas and language. (The web site’s story on the trip to Hooters could have been the result of outraged Right wing parents as easily as Left wing teachers.) I do not know whether Ravitch’s book focusses exclusively on the Left, but if it does, it does nothing to challenge the problems that schoolkids face. If its focus is on the evils of Left wing censorship, then it would seem to simply seek to replace wholly bland pap with Right-biased pap. (Of course, it wouldn’t be possible that Fox is playing up only the attacks on the Left while Ms. Ravitch has a more thorough attack on blandness from all sides.)

I don’t know, especially about hut.

I mean, Jabba the Small House just doesn’t inspire the same sense of fear and loathing. And do you really want to order from a place called Pizza Small House?

Not to mention Pizza the Small House.

History textbooks are and always have been quite useless for teaching history. They are written so as to offend the fewest people possible. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of offensive stuff in history.

Textbooks are the tools of the lazy. For a lot less money, a dedicated teacher can go down to the public library and make xeroxes of newspaper articles, speeches, legal decisions, letters, diaries, and other first-hand source material for whatever period you’re learning about. They’re bound to be a hell of a lot more interesting and substantive than memorizing names and dates.

Well, Stalin IIRC restored the term Mother Russia with references to the “motherland” and so forth. I was under the impression that it was because they never stopped saying it entirely in the part of the country he was from, and maybe it was useful metaphorically to raise spirits of those fighting the war. Potentially then, the usage of that phrase historically in Russia is significant to a study of Russia, so this would actually be preventing a complete study of the topic in a history textbook. Baffling.

Replacing jungle with “rain forest” is just silly too. I’m surprised they didn’t also mandate that “dredging a swamp” be replaced with “endangering a wetland”. The enviromentalists have the best spin doctors :wink:

And what’s with “hut” being replaced? A “small house” could be anything. We all know roughly what a hut looks like…well considering the obesity “epidemic” we at least know what a Pizza Hut looks like :cool:

Hmmm, I thought the word elderly was supposed to be a euphemism for “old person” in the first place! Sheez! It’s like we’re going around in circles here! :rolleyes:

I agree, the whole list is pretty stupid. So what are we supposed to say when we mean “east” or “eastern?” Longitudinally advanced? Gimme a break!

Give it time.

I agree. The best history teacher I ever had (college, American history) used this method. When teaching about the early years of colonization, he brought in period advertisements used to market the “New World”. During the Civil War unit, we studied first-hand accounts from slaves, describing the atrocities that were endured, as well as chilling “wanted” posters used in tracking runaway slaves. I learned a lot from that man, and very little of it had to do with exact dates.

However, that was ten years ago. If the boring, bland textbooks are under such attack, I would not be at all surprised to find out that he is no longer allowed to use such “controversial” material. Bleh.

The whole notion of “PC” is an attempt to cover up the original oxymoron, Politically Correct. It is an attempt at revisionism by skanks who think they can use politics to change human nature.

They should be culled from the herd, because it would insensitive to say they should be heinously killed.

I am glad that The Straight Dope hasn’t caved in and decided to be called The Sexually Ambiguous Dope. :smiley: (This may be an old joke rant but I didn’t search to find out)

When I went to college at St. John’s University the team’s nickname was the Redmen. Not because of Native Americans but becasue they wore RED (See Syracuse Orangemen). They decided to be PC (I believe from outside pressure) and change their mascot from a Native American to a man in a red tuxedo (fine with me). Then the PC Police told them that their name was still offensive so they changed their name to the Redstorm.

I believe they may be the only college/sports team that caved under the PC pressure. Are there others?

Here are some other “imagine ifs”

ugly - genetically deficient
albino - pigmentally challenged (or does that insult Muslims?) -see OP link
drunk - alcohol enhanced

A lot of the words we now consider offensive began as euphemisms. “Little Person”, from the list, is obviously one for “midget”.

IIRC many of the “stupid” insults we use now, such as “moron” and “idiot”, started as medical terms for different levels of mental retardation (and yes, I’m probably not supposed to use the word “retardation” any more. I can’t remember anymore).

Dont’ mind me, I thought this was going to be a computer rant.

This isn’t the only one. Years ago “colored people” was considered offensive. So, we went from “black” to “African-American” (even if they were from Europe :eek: ) to “person-of-color.” But, don’t call them “colored people.” :confused:

Round and round we go.

Yes, there are.

Stanford used to be the Indians, now they are the singular “Cardinal” as in the shade of red, not the bird.

Eastern Michigan University used to be the Hurons (a local Native American tribe), now they are the Eagles.

Central Michigan U is still the Chippewas (another NA tribe, also known as Ojibwa), but they did away with all “Native American” imagery including a football helmet design that was the same as the Washington Redskins used for some of their games last season (burgundy shell with gold and white spear and feathers logo).

Wayne State (Detroit) University used to be the Tartars, now they are the Warriors.

I am pretty sure there are others I am not thinking of among colleges.

The only pro team that comes to mind here is the NBA Washington Wizards, who used to be the Washington Bullets, and before that, the Baltimore Bullets. For one or two seasons, they used “Capitol” (as in Washington, DC) as their geographic name.

Miss Hoover, this map only has three directions…

Don’t you mean the “Not-Western Michigan University”?

Thanks Jerrybear I had no idea there were so many other colleges.

I think the Bullets name change was self influenced though. I thought the ownership just didn’t feel right about the name with all the deaths caused by gunfire in America (or maybe it was just D.C. area). They could have picked a better name than Wizards though.

Damn I was gonna make the Jabba the Hut joke so I’ll make the:
Rain Forest Boogie??

one instead.

You can’t say something like “illegal drugs may retard your growth” without offending the mentally retarded.

You can’t say “big fat liar” without offending the fat people or those on the bigger size.

Or how about…
Bald: Follicularly challenged.

Housewife: offensive to stay at home dads, use domestic engineer instead.

Plagiarism: Previously Owned Prose

Lazy: Motivationally deficient.