|photo by Katie Tegtmeyer||via PhotoRee|
Can I say mad?
Reading over the protests against the proposed SOPA / PIPA legislation recently my thoughts wandered from censorship to the limits society put on what we say or write.
Example 1. In the times BC (before children, not before Christ!), during a particularly busy day at one of the bases I worked in I said “Jeez! It’s like Paddy’s Market in here!“. A hush fell over the colleague with me. “You can’t say that!” she whispered, looking around to make sure no-one had heard my faux pas. I was baffled to be honest! “Jeez? I didn’t mean it as Jesus, just erm like gosh?!“.
“No, you can’t say Paddy’s Market! It’s may upset someone who is Irish“.
Jeez! I did explain that my Father was Irish and that as far as I know it’s not a hanging offence to utter such a thing but the PC police had spoken.
Example 2: When doing my counselling training, we split into groups and proceeded to brain storm ideas for …… No we didn’t. We were informed by the tutor that Brainstorm was no longer respectful as it may belittle those with epilepsy or similar conditions. I’m now told “Mind” isn’t the correct term, so “Thought shower” it is.
Example 3: Englishman, Irishman, Scotsman jokes – for many these are a no go. The stereotypical way the Irishman is always portrayed as “dumb” and the Scotsman as a tight-fisted whisky drinker is unacceptable (jokes about the death of Amy Winehouse, the Riots, Bin Laden etc are fine, because these are just funny though).
Perhaps I’m missing the point?
I’m not talking about blatant racism / sexism etc, I’m talking about once common terms that seem to be unacceptable now but it’s not always clear why. Sometime it seems that people find fault where there is none. Perhaps I’m being blinkered and such things are offensive and I just can’t see it as well as others.
I’m a freelance copywriter when I have my professional hat on so of course have to be mindful of these things, it is very important to not add anything in that may cause offence however with the goalposts constantly hanging, who is to know what the next no-can-do thing to say or write will be?
What do you think? Are there any examples like mine above that make you groan or am I behind the times and need to wake up to the political correctness revolution?
* I was taught many of the Englishman / Irishman / Scotsman jokes by someone who is Irish. I never once got cross about the Englishman being the one who seemed to always miss out on all the fun times.