I remember, back in the good old PC '80s..
how we used to refer to one of the local pubs as the 'Fentiperson Arms'...
Chichester District Council has provoked the wrath of Middle England by suggesting to staff and members that the phrase "man on the street" would better be expressed by "general public", since the former is "based on the assumption that the world is male and makes the views or work of women invisible". The West Sussex …
Why are only 'persons' allowed 'spokes'?
What about furries, vampires and zombies? They can hardly be descibed as 'person'. Further, use of the word 'spoke' implies that only beings capable of audible communication can participate and when our gaseous bodied thought-communicating alien overlords finally arrive* they will not be pleased at this attempt to exclude them from mainstream life and cultural activity.
I would suggest we need a radical overhaul of the language in which we replace all species specific references with the word 'dooh-dah'.
Colonel RC Matheringham-Smythe
IHIOGA** that this is scheduled for a week next Monday.
** I have it on good authority
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"Rather more plausibly, council operatives are advised to avoid dismissing old timers as "old woman", "old fool" and "old codger" in favour of "old person"."
Surely that's *less* plausible? I can readily imagine people referring to "the man on the street" but how plausible is it really that on issuing that statement, hundreds of council staff will be hastily reviewing their annual reports and Tipp-Exing out the phrases "old codger" and "old fool"? It seems the sort of advice that should be superfluous, like suggesting that staff don't refer to pensioners in council documentation by using the phrases "blue-rinsed wrinkly" or "senile old twat".
Actually, if one wants to be pedantic about this whole PC nonsense, then we should stop calling them 'women' and refer them as 'men' from now on - after all, female actors are no longer referred to as actresses, etc., and calling them 'women' really marks them out as different.
"This includes the sensitivity of various individuals and groups, and current thinking in society in general."
So for the troubled few they decide to enlighten everyone. I sure as hell don't have a problem with "man on the street" and most defiantly don't assume it means a man!
Could we stop this guessing that someone somewhere will be offended PC nonsense please?. FFS people these phrases have been used for countless years if anyone was offended don't you PC nutters think you'd have heard about it by now?
Wait until someone complains then, like the ASA, uphold that one complaint. Just don't let trivial things like one complaint out of 60-odd million citizens stop you.
'... operatives are advised to avoid dismissing old timers as "old woman", "old fool" and "old codger" in favour of "old person".'
It is good to know that there are politically correct terms for dismissing old people. What are the politically correct terms for dismissing children, and the middle aged? Do we need some quotas to ensure that people of all ages are dismissed equally?
"This kind of thing really _gets my goat_ - it's not as though anybody _in their right mind_ would believe that the 'man in the street' referred solely to the _male sex_. It's just _stupid_, I've never heard anything like it."
His quote is offensive to goats, homosexuals, mental patients and stupid people. He should have said:
"This kind of thing really _annoys me_ - it's not as though anybody _who is not mentally challenged_ would believe that the 'man in the street' referred solely to _males_. It's just _obtuse_, I've never heard anything like it."
Well with all the problems facing society today; education, environmental problems, crime and violence in the streets, unemployment and the credit crunch.
I'm glad to see that so much time, resource and money is being spent making sure that totally inoffencive and harmless expressions no longer repress and discriminate the common person.
No doubt millions of affected people will now sleep soundly in their beds tonight, under the safe and unassuming blanket of political correctness that are local governments provide.
"This includes the sensitivity of various individuals and groups, and current thinking in society in general."
I thought it was fairly well acknowledged that society currently thinks this is a load of bollocks, a waste of taxpayers money and is usually traced back to some hal-wit councillor who thought he/she/it could win more votes with the shirt-lifters/darkies/baby-droppers by patronising them and treating them like kids.
I was considering brainstorming some new PC terms but I thought it would be a load of nanny-state labourised bollocks.
There is nothing wrong with suffusing the word 'man' into posts. Should we relabel our species as Hupersons?
Get a grip you overpaid council idiots - get the bums off the streets, help out the broken homes, stop treating fat people like they are diseased and pour money into education instead.
I get really wound up by people nit-picking at what are now considered to be non-pc terms.
Britain is officially* the most PC state in the world and I want to leave.
*I made that up but it feels that way.
Mine's the man-sized one in a manly dark colour.
Gareth: "My dad, for example, he's not as cosmopolitan or as educated as me and it can be embarrasing you know. He doesn't understand all the new trendy words - like he'll say "poofs" instead of "gays", "birds" instead of "women", "darkies" instead of "coloureds"."
Gareth: "I'm not homophobic, all right? Come around, look at my C.D collection. You'll find Queen, George Michael, Pet Shop Boys. They're all bummers."
...and it also promotes the view that everyone is "on the street".
What percentage of people are in their houses or offices at any given time? Are their views to be ignored, beholden to the point of view of people whom have nothing better to do than stand in the middle of the street?
On what basis does the Council Spokething presume to claim that "they" are "Community Leaders"? The civil servant is getting its role out of perspective. If there are any "Community Leaders" then it is the politicians - and there are precious few who can claim either title honestly - who are voted into office. If the politicians have asked the Civil Servants to waste taxes preparing this nonsense the voters should so enquire and then hold the politicians to account. The Politicians determine policy, the civil servants advise and implement - or have I missed something? - I guess I have in this "new" world.
First of all, I suggest you find out what your local council dose, how much choice it has on spending and how much people there a paid. You will probably feel a little better and live a little longer.
Just as a starting point, a front line customer service officer, who has to work face to face with people day in day out, dealing with the finances and problems of alcoholics, drug addicts and so on (the type of people you really don't want to spend to much time with and can be violent) earns around £17-£19k in most places. Would you like to sit and explaine to people like that why they owe you money they don't have?
Perhaps they should have a council meeting of the 100,000 inhabitants of Chichester and ask them, the 'man on the street', what they think about the amount of taxpayers money has gone into producing the seven page load of bollocks..
Let's see what sort of response they get from that.
The only problem here is that it's exactly right.
"it's not as though anybody in their right mind would believe that the 'man in the street' referred solely to the male sex," fumes some (male) Tory twat. Except that it is. The phrase is sufficiently old enough that it was used to mean exactly what it said. When a newspaper discussed what "the man in the street" thought it really did mean the man in the street, because the woman in the street was supposed to be thinking about knitting.
Call it political correctness all you like, but that doesn't make it wrong.
Knee-jerk reactions to anything at all which attempts to address sexism, racism, or any other form of prejudice as "political correctness" are far more damaging in the long run.
== misguided thoughts derived from believing Guardian op-ed pieces. Whereas we all know that current thinking in society in general is mostly: "how little can I pay for 24 cans of Stella? what's on 'Stenders tonight?"
OBTW WTF is the IT content in this ridiculous piece? Did Chichester BC use Google translate to render these guidelines into the 21 requisite languages?
We recently got canvassed by our local council about a residents' parking scheme. 1 page of questionnaire about the scheme, consisting of four questions. 3 pages of 'community & personal information' consisting of 21 questions including seemingly needing to understand if I originate from one of twenty seven possible ethnic backgrounds including "Irish (traveller)"
How in the name of all that is sane can anybody imagine that someone who is "Irish (traveller)" would
a) have become a settled resident?
b) want to park a vehicle?
c) at least by paying for the privilege??????
"manning the switchboard"
They use an actual switchboard?? like a board of switches?? Surely they should be using something with buttons and integrated circuits?
Now, what about one of my school teachers... Mrs Manning... should she now be referred to as "married-person personning" to avoid gender-specificity?
I was told by a local council PC manager last year that you cannot use the term "OLD" as it;
1. Refers to age of a human
2. "OLD" is refers to decrepid or unreliable as you often throw things out simply because they are "OLD"
So unfortunately this particular council has dropped a major PC clanger here!
Anyway I must go as we have a "very unreliable" human wearing a skirt waiting for me in the welcome suite!
Paris! because she will still be horny when she is "unreliable"!
Greg quoting some council flunky: "what we are seeking to do is to be more sensitive and responsive to the needs of others in our society."
These are strictly imaginary needs. The thought process is closely akin to the insane health & safety regulations that forbid all interesting activities on the grounds that someone *might* get hurt, instead of accepting that, yes, people do get hurt on occasion and H&S regulations should be limited to the relatively few activities that have a proven track record for causing serious injury. A skinned knee or a wounded ego is not a serious injury. Likewise, calling someone a spokesman does not deny anyone any needed ego stroking -- except for a few insane feminists with no sense of perspective.
Chris: "The manual runs to seven pages because it has been printed in 21 different languages inlcuding braille and esperanto."
Reminds me of when I was working in a public body that annually issued property assessment notices to all property owners in British Columbia and prided itself on having had the information leaflet translated into a large number of languages, including some indigenous tongues with under a dozen speakers left. I laughed myself silly when a gentleman whose name implied he was a Sikh wrote an indignant letter about the paternalistic attitude implied in the translation. To paraphrase, he bitched "you are telling me that someone capable of buying real property is incapable of reading English."
Good point. The PR types and spin doctors were puzzled and could not formulate a coherent response.
Let me guess, you either forgot the humour tag or you work in HR.
If the former, sorry mush.
If the latter; you fucking parasite!
General question to HR twats: How do you sleep at night knowing that you have never, ever, ever made a positive contribution to the bottom line at ANY company.
Those of us that bring in revenue should rise up. Rise up I tell you!
Although I hesitate to wade into this sea of raging linguistic testosterone, duty compels.
The ridiculousness of the situation really lies in a government or any other corporate body preaching sensitivity and compassion. These are, and always have been, attributes of individuals and not of groups. Governments only seem to have them when good individuals succeed in manifesting them in the course of their official duties.
(Religions are also groups, but membership in them is usually voluntary and preaching is expected in any case.)
You can't legislate sensitivity any more than you can legislate a head for numbers or singing ability. Such initiatives are superfluous when good intentions are present. Their apparent success in other cases will only be a veneer of patronizing hypocrisy.
Bottom line: right sentiments, but utter cluelessness as to an appropriate venue.
"I imagine she's rather happy to have all the relevant council information translated to Chinese. I don't see how communicating with people in their first language is "paternalistic"."
Aah - now you're making the paternalistic assumption - if it's like most council/governments efforts it will be in Putonghua only - fine if your partner's mother speaks/reads this language, but if, like many non-Han Chinese, she doesn't then you're correct - it's just your imagination that this is of help to her and not just a paternalistic gesture..
Look, I'm a non-man and I don't feel invisible if someone says 'manning the switchboard'. Partially because I'm senior enough that I don't have to man the switchboard but also because it's frigging irrelevant.
I'm just so tired of all this posturing quackery. The council bans the use of the word 'man' but they're quite happy to persecute women, children, minorities, whatever it is they feel like today by their assish ways.
There's nothing wrong with translating official docs into someone's language, particularly if they're a relatively recent immigrant, as such. But there's everything wrong with SAYING on the one hand 'look how PC we are, we don't allow people to say slightly off-colour things' (pun not initially intended but hey, I'm talented - or not) and DOING on the other hand racial and ethnic profiling of the 'you have an Arabic name, we'd best strip search you then hold you for 42 days' variety. Or going 'look how PC we are, we don't talk about manning the switchboard' and then cutting funding for afterschool programmes and then bitching because a couple of single mums walk out from personing the switchboard and end up back on benefits. (Yeah, that's going to be a whole debate in itself.)
IT angle - well, probably the fact that the COWncil claims to have spent a big budget on Unified Comms but persons a SWITCHBOARD. Ugh.
Keep the masses involved with useless semantic crap then we can all feast under the table while they're not looking. Aliens.
would be to insert a slash between the distinguishing versions of the word you want to use... e.g.
valuable member of society (us) / thieving parasite (civil servant/politician)
Also, (I.T. angle) why be mean to Windows, by exclusively using Unix slashes, one could employ the Windows backslash too...
man/\woman or woman\/man etc.
On a statistical note, the feminine perkin that has chosen to spend a significant portion of it's adult life with me, is a nurse, and is often amused to see an obviously nonwhite/nonbritish perkin describe themselves as white/british on those stupid fucking forms, and there is not a thing she/he can do, even if he/she wanted to. So despite the efforts of the stupid wankers that misuse our taxes to be accurate about stuff and collect meaningful (to them) information, if the client/customer/patient does not want to play ball, the client/customer/patient won't.
With due respect to Markie Dussard's very valid point that this entire article is basically a huge troll, I'm going to do my bit for Have Your Say.
By the way, what's the IT ang... oh, forget it.
"Actually, if one wants to be pedantic about this whole PC nonsense, then we should stop calling them 'women' and refer them as 'men' from now on"
That's not the joke you think it is. In Old English, 'man' meant a human being, not a *male* human being. To distinguish between the sexes in Old English, you would have to have used the sex-specific terms 'wer' for a male, or 'wyf' for a female. We have the words 'werewolf' and 'wife' to remind us of this distinction (strictly speaking, a woman can't be a werewolf because it specifically means a human male who changes into, or has the characteristics of, a wolf. Sorry, Angua).
In the few instances in modern English where the supposedly offensive sequence *does* actually refer to a person, and isn't rather derived from 'manus', meaning 'hand' (manual, manipulate, manage, etc), there is an etymological history for the word that legitimises it for use to refer to human beings in general.
In constructions such as 'manned', meaning 'crewed' or 'staffed', it's arguable whether the term refers to the people doing a job, or to the fact that someone's hand is on the (possibly metaphorical) controls.
"FFS people these phrases have been used for countless years if anyone was offended don't you PC nutters think you'd have heard about it by now?"
The problem is the sacred-cow fallacy that if even one person could potentially be offended by something, then it's universally offensive and should be avoided. It's a very brave person today - especially in councils and other public sector organisations - who'd venture to suggest that maybe, sometimes, it's the *complainant* who's unreasonably oversensitive. Nevertheless, that is sometimes the case.
But the main point here is that this isn't exactly a shock-horror news item, because it's happened so many times before. In fact, I'm surprised the Reg gave it house room (actually, no I'm not: the Reg is a tabloid, after all).
Take comfort, though, in the fact that where these stories are true, rather than being occasional re-emergences of urban mythology, the new policies are usually derided by the public and are swiftly forgotten about.
And finally - Adam Williamson:
"Knee-jerk reactions to anything at all which attempts to address sexism, racism, or any other form of prejudice as "political correctness" are far more damaging in the long run."
I disagree. Bear in mind that when initiatives such as this are rolled out - new policies designed to avoid causing offence - it usually isn't the group supposedly vulnerable to offence that's formulated the new policy.
For example, when councils and educational authorities replace, as they supposedly do from time to time, a certain black sheep with green sheep or rainbow sheep, it's usually *not* because black people have complained. Rather, it's because some self-serving (white) council drone angling for a diversity award has decided to take it upon him- or herself to decide what black people are offended by.
Likewise, on those occasions where nativity plays and other Christmas traditions are discouraged on the grounds that they might offend the Muslims, you can bet it's not a Muslim that's come up with the idea. But you can equally bet that it's Muslims who'll cop the blame and the derision.
And this is why these moves are dangerous: they create resentment between communities and groups of people. People don't like change, as a rule - especially change that's forced on them. If nativity plays are banned in the name of Muslim sensibilities, then people are going to resent Muslims - even though it wasn't their idea. These moves create friction. The friction is the price of change. If the rewards of change are significant enough then they're worth paying that price. But in this case, I very much doubt that enough benefit will be gained to outweigh the loss of credibility with the public.
It's not that people dispute the overall sentiment: they question how and why it's being done in the way it is, and whether this sort of council activity represents efficient and effective government.
* By which I mean those women (usually) who do the cause of feminism incalculable damage by carrying it far beyond its intended goals, and ultimately using it as an excuse to indulge their personal misandry.
"Although that makes me wonder what sort of format it could possibly be in, since literature has to consist of either 2, 4, 8, 12, 16 etc. pages."
Printed on typical local authority laser printer which can't duplex. Now, why haven't the politically-correct, ecologically-aware loonies got legislation which would ban non-duplexing laser printers?
..that Mr Colpoly's HAS heard of concetration camps and probably thinks that they they have their uses when dealing with ne'er-do-wells.
Oh and to everyone winging and bitching about how they're just words and wondering what the problem is I suggest you find the nearest big black guy, engage him in conversation and see how many times you can drop the word 'coon' into the discussion before you end up eating your own testicles.
Languages change for a reason, a conscious society recognises the inequalities in it and changes accordingly.
I see that you have the same breed of bungling morons infecting your Councils etc. as we have here in New Zealand.
I spent some years designing Sewers ,and inspecting them,etc, so I have intimate knowledge of shit . It was more appealing than the stuff issued by the
above admin. creeps
Icon of a more pleasing thing.
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@ NT - I think you have just replaced JonB in my affections...which could be a problem for me if you turn out to be a woman.
@ AC Wed 09.57 - I don't know where your local authority is, but trust me, not only do all our offices have duplexing printers (I'm not saying every printer is a duplex one, just every office has at least one available) but the set up defaults to duplex. Which is fine until you hit print on a run of 500 leaflets (single sided) and forget to turn the option off (hey, I'm human;). Bingo, 250 completely useless leaflets, straight into the green recycling bag. Didn't think about the carbon footprint of that now did they?
@ NT - Unfortunately I'm now going to have to post this anonymously in case people who work for my authority read this. Still, it could keep you busy for hours trying to figure out who I am...;)
"@ NT - I think you have just replaced JonB in my affections..."
Why thank you. I'll read up on JonB's posts to decide whether that's a good thing or not. :o) I'm just annoyed that, having posted early in the morning, I wasn't awake enough to realise that I'd taken out the reference (to 'overfeminists'*) that my asterisked footnote was referring to...
Take it as read that I wasn't objecting to feminism as a campaign for sexual equality - in fact, I'm very fiercely in favour of equality, but I think it works both ways round. I'm not even opposed to diversity training or the idea of paying due regard to people's sensibilities - in fact I'm bang alongside that idea, too.
(But I'm not going to argue the toss with Secretgeek because I've already made my points, and if he sees the situation here as the equivalent of going up to a black guy and calling him a 'coon' then I'd suggest that, just like the council in question, he probably needs to work on his sense of perspective.)
* I could've gone for 'uber-', I know, but I was trying for a sense of 'excessive' rather than 'greater'.
(I am ridiculously wordy and am now going to shut the f*** up.)
I would agree with your criticism of my post, except that you've fallen for the Daily Mail bit. The amount of times where the sort of nutty over-enthusiasm you cite has happened are either very small or, possibly, zero - as I recall, the last time the 'nativity banned for dirty towel-heads!' meme cropped up, it turned out to be an urban myth. The Mail and other august institutions *love* to try and find isolated examples of nuttiness like that in order to tar any and all attempts to combat prejudice as "political correctness gone mad". This is what I don't like.
As I wrote, this is not the same case. The phrase "the man on the street" was expressly designed to be sexist (though of course it wouldn't have been thought of that way at the time), it's not a case where the word is being used in the sense of 'a person'. If you perpetuate the use of the phrase it - in a very small way - perpetuates the mindset of valuing male opinions over female ones. Attempting to replace it with a gender-neutral alternative is - in a very small way - a positive step to take. Not everything has to be a big deal, but that doesn't make it absurd or useless.
As I noted in the comments on that story (which seems to have now disappeared from the RSS feed...), the same Reg which posted this story poking fun at 'political correctness' over sexism on the grounds that we're all so enlightened we don't need it any more posted a story on the same day which featured this gem of an opening sentence (and no, amazingly, it wasn't intended to be sarcastic):
"If the Missus always nags you to help her with the cleaning, she’ll faint when you offer to vaccum (sic) the whole house."
Yes, sure, we don't need to fight sexism any more. Good job, Reg.
As you said:
"the last time the 'nativity banned for dirty towel-heads!' meme cropped up, it turned out to be an urban myth."
And as I said:
"where these stories are true, rather than being occasional re-emergences of urban mythology"
Maybe I should've said "wherever" rather than "where", because it could've been read as "whereas".
Otherwise I stand by my comments, and my view of the damage that overzealous enforcement of communication standards can cause.
"it's not a case where the word is being used in the sense of 'a person'"
Yes, it is used in *precisely* that sense.
"we don't need to fight sexism any more"
No, if it's all the same to you, I'm going to continue to oppose it as I always do. But I'll direct my efforts to the battles that are worth fighting.
"We introduced the guide because as community leaders we must be aware of what modern society requires of the public sector."
Like providing efficient cost effective services happen not spending time on crap. I don't care if the bin men(I ain't seen many women!) are fat; what their race/religion is or even their sexuality - only time I'll notice them is when they don't do their job.
Paris because bin men are dirty and smelly but good at humping.
The incidence of broken limbs in Chichester has increased substantially since the removal of non-compliant manhole covers. Following a heated meeting between the local council and the HSA it has been decreed that the covers be replaced immediately and as a compromise re-named "arsehole covers" in honour of Abigail Arsehole, the official responsible for the original decision. Abigail can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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