From: News and Views | Opinion |Saturday, August 12, 2000
No One Is SafeFrom PC Madness
A Tot Brought to JusticeIn Canton, Ohio, a 6-year-old boy who jumped from his bathtub and ran to a window to stop a school bus was suspended by his school for sexual harassment. The boy's mother said she put him in the tub so he wouldn't see the bus go by — he had a doctor's appointment and couldn't attend school that morning.But when his sister said she saw the bus coming, the boy ran to the window and shouted for the driver to wait. Since he was nude at the time, the school ruled that he had harassed youngsters on the bus. The school forced him to a sign a paper admitting that he knew the nature of the charges against him.
Now Sit, Ingvar
Young women in Sweden, Germany and Australia have a new cause: They want men to sit down while urinating. This demand comes partly from concerns about hygiene — avoiding the splash factor — but as Jasper Gerard reports in the English magazine The Spectator, "more crucially because a man standing up to urinate is deemed to be triumphing in his masculinity, and by extension, degrading women."A feminist group at Stockholm University is campaigning to ban urinals from campus, and one Swedish elementary school has removed them.Some Swedish women are pressuring their men to take a stand, so to speak. Yola, a 25-year-old Swedish trainee psychiatrist, says she dumps boyfriends who insist on standing. "What else can I do?" said her new boyfriend, Ingvar, who sits.
Can't They Play Without Violence?
The British Labor government authorized a pamphlet urging teachers to ban the children's game of musical chairs on the grounds that it promotes aggression and allows the biggest and strongest children to win. Good idea. Let's get rid of all the damaging kids' games. Goodbye to pin the tail on the donkey and monkey in the middle (violence toward animals), jacks (sexist) and hopscotch (obvious mockery of limb-deficient disability)
.Butchering the Truth
The federation of meat shop owners in France is offended that reporters refer to murderers as "butchers," since most butchers are "gentle, peace-loving" workers. An architect in New York complained about a news report identifying "the architect" of a shooting spree."There it is," wrote columnist Clyde Haberman of The New York Times, "the ugly face of anti-architect bigotry."
New, Nicer Language!
Mutilative elective surgery (the declawing of cats), pet guardians (pet owners), peace room (war room), guest service employees (bellhops), people of advanced chronology (the elderly), nondiscretionary fragrance (body odor) and Green Bay Pickers (new name for football's Green Bay Packers, suggested by the animal rights group PETA, which doesn't think anyone should eat meat, or even pack it).
What About Hissing and Herpes?
Because it begins with the masculine-sounding syllable "his," the word "history" has been banned at Stockport College in Manchester, England. Also banned are the phrases "ladies and gentlemen" (offensive connotations of class), and "slaving" over a hot stove (which "minimizes the horror and oppression of the slave trade"). No word, though, about that offensive first syllable of "Manchester."