BBC censors the term “girl”

June 2nd, 2014 at 7:21 am by David Farrar

The Daily Mail reports:

The BBC was embroiled in an extraordinary censorship row last night after cutting the word ‘girl’ from a documentary about the Commonwealth Games, fearing it might cause ‘offence’.

Broadcaster Mark Beaumont, 31, joked after being hurled to the floor by a judo champion: ‘I am not sure I can live that down – being beaten by a 19-year-old girl.’

His remark was broadcast in full when the 30-minute episode of The Queen’s Baton Relay was first shown on the BBC News Channel in April.

But evidently sensitive to charges of sexism, BBC executives decided to edit out the word ‘girl’ when the programme was repeated last week, leaving an awkward pause in place of the offending word.

Asked by a viewer what had happened, Mr Beaumont tweeted: ‘Maybe the editor thought it was sexist – it wasn’t. I’m not worried about it.’

Even the judo champion involved, Cynthia Rahming, was left bemused. ‘I wasn’t offended – I didn’t find it sexist,’ she told The Mail on Sunday.

It doesn’t matter whether or not people think it was sexist. The BBC should not be censoring what someone said because it is politically incorrect. Deliberately editing a word or words out should only occur when it is a word not suitable for broadcast.

Feminist novelist Kathy Lette, 55, however, said: ‘If the athlete didn’t find it upsetting why should the BBC mount their politically correct high horse and gallop off into the sanctimonious sunset?’

Exactly.

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Colin Craig says

December 13th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Audrey Young interviews Colin Craig:

Increasing oil and mineral exploration

It’s almost criminal to be so well vested with resources and not use them. I wonder at the logic of that. I find it fascinating that if you dig a hole and plant a tree in it, you are a greenie; if you dig a big hole, take the gold out of the ground and plant a forest, suddenly you’re an eco-terrorist. There’s no consistency in that. I do think we should make sensible use of our resources. I’m not so keen, however, on letting foreign corporations take the lion’s share … Norway did it well.

Well said.

Labour’s target to get 50 per cent women MPs by 2017

I don’t believe positions should be picked on the basis of whether you are a man or a woman. I think it should be merit. I’m not a politically correct person. I despise political correctness because what it actually really does is just keeps people quiet. I would rather live in an environment where we could freely debate things.

Hear hear.

On the Maori seats and the Treaty of Waitangi

We think the Maori seats served a purpose at a time; that time is over. They don’t serve that purpose any more so we need to move forward and moving forward means getting rid of the Maori seats.

I think they should go, but only if Maori agree. What I would do is have a referendum every nine years on whether to keep them, amongst those of Maori descent. I’d replace them with the recommendations of the Royal Commission on the electoral system to have no threshold for Maori parties to gain List MPs.

Parliament now has 25 MPs of Maori descent. I doubt there is another Parliament in the world that has the indigenous minority so over-represented in their Parliament. I don’t think it is a bad thing we have such over-representation. But I do think it weakens the case for retaining the Maori seats.

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Another man ban

July 14th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Calwatchdog reports:

The radical feminists are on a roll. They continue to make gains in their attempt to make “man” and “men” officially unacceptable terms in government.

The latest weird politically correct idea to make it into legislation seeks to remove alleged “gender bias” from the language — at taxpayer expense. Using the word “man” is no longer allowed.

Washington state is now actively replacing “gender bias” words with new gender-neutral references, and requires the use of such words as “handwriting” instead of “penmanship,” “signal operator” for “signalman,”  ”fisherman” with “fisher” and  ”freshman” with “first-year-student.” There are no more “journeyman plumbers”; now they are “journey-level plumbers.”

I’m not sure what a “journey-level” is. This ridiculousness proves that gender-neutral language is ungrammatical, and not allowed in AP Style. How will I write?

And further:

When I was in college, I worked at a grocery store as a “box boy,” also known as a “bag boy.” During my two-year stint, the offensive term was changed to “courtesy clerk.”

“Nearly 3,500 Washington state code sections, out of a total of about 40,000 have been tediously scrubbed of gender bias, although most involve adding pronouns ‘she’ and ‘her’ to augment the existing ‘he’ and ‘his,’” the Huffington Post reported recently.

Washington’s Legislature,  controlled by Democrats, recently passed the bill outlawing these manly words and ordered the state’s law books to be painstakingly edited to reflect the new man-free law.

According to the Huffington Post, Washington is the fourth state to eliminate gender “bias” from its official lexicon. Florida, North Carolina and Illinois preceded Washington.

Some think this is a proper use of lawmakers’ time, and taxpayer money because of their belief that we must eliminate gender “bias” from the language.  ”Nearly 3,500 Washington state code sections, out of a total of about 40,000 have been tediously scrubbed of gender bias, although most involve adding pronouns ‘she’ and ‘her’ to augment the existing ‘he’ and ‘his,’” the Daily Mail UK reported.

I recall when I was on the Otago University Council the OUSA SRC passed a resolution demanding the university rename Chairmen of Departments, Chairpersons. I told the SRC they could pass what they wanted, but I wasn’t going to undermine my credibility on Council by wasting their time with such trivia. It wasn’t that I was against a name change, but that it ranked around 99/100 on my list of priorities after lecturer assessment, fees, facilities etc etc.

 

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Greens ban perfume and aftershave

June 3rd, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Note this is not a parody post.

A friend e-mails:

I was at a friend’s place last night. There were about 15 of us catching up and one of my mates who is in the Green Party had been to the Green Party Conference earlier in the day.

He told me that the conference was “fragrance free” that no one could wear aftershave or perfume (and I wonder if that extended to deoderant as well??).

It was written in the agenda booklet too.

This is really too funny for words.

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Equality at work

November 16th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Food News reports:

A school lunch lady in Falun, Sweden has been told by education authorities to get in step and stop serving better quality meals than lunch ladies at other schools.

Horrific. That means there is no food equality. It is not fair kids at one school get better meals than kids at another school.

She has been told to stop baking her own bread in favour of the store-bought version and to reduce the range of vegetables she offers in her now famous vegie buffets.

In spite of working within her budget, and meeting all health and nutrition standards, Annika Erikson has been told her super lunches are unfair on students at other schools, and she must stop such anti-social behaviour immediately.

Yes, initiative and excellence are anti-social behaviour.

Katarina Lindberg, head of the authority which overseas school meals in the region, told local news media, “A menu has been developed. …It is about making a collective effort on quality, to improve school meals overall and to try and ensure everyone does the same.”

Oh yes the collective effort, This is the same collective effort that argues against performance pay for excellent teachers because it is all about the collective effort.

Another article on this has a great quote:

The “same,” even if everyone is worse off. Or as Winston Churchill put it, “socialism is the equal sharing of misery.”

Equality, comrades!

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School bans hugging!

November 13th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Yvonne Tahana reports:

North Shore students have been banned from hugging during school hours because too many of them – mainly girls – were consistently arriving late to their classes.

Umm, then you should ban being late to class – but not ban hugging.

A trend among groups of year 8 students – 12- to 13-year-olds – had driven the call, Mrs Cattell said.

“It’s just a little thing that they’re doing. It got out of hand towards the end of morning tea time especially. There would be groups that got back to class 10 to 15 minutes late because they were going around making sure they’d hugged the whole group before they got back to class.

I think hugging is a very healthy positive activity. It’s great kids want to show their friendship for each other with hugs.

More than 600 attend the school and there were also concerns that some children’s feelings could be hurt if they were left out.

Oh dear God.

Parent Lorna Subritsky, whose daughter attends the school, said she could understand it might be annoying for teachers for have stragglers to their classes but the issue could be dealt with by addressing the lateness, not the physical contact.

Exactly.

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Also too sensitive

October 4th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson breached BBC guidelines by comparing a Japanese car to people with growths on their faces.

A report by the BBC Trust’s editorial standards committee (ESC) found he “strayed into an offensive stereotypical assumption” with the scripted remarks during an episode of the hit motoring show.

A member of the public complained about the “offensive” remarks after Clarkson likened the shape of a Prius campervan to someone with “a growth on their face” and referred to it as the “elephant car”.

He also described it as “not a car that you could talk to at a party unless you were looking at something else”.

The ESC said the show’s audience enjoyed the presenters’ “sometimes controversial and forthright views” but ruled this remark “played on a stereotypically negative reaction to facial disfigurement”.

It said it “strayed into an offensive stereotypical assumption” and was “not editorially justified”.

Oh Good God you can’t even joke about elephantiasis now?  This must be one of the least offensive things Clarkson has said!

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More political correctness gone mad

January 5th, 2012 at 3:21 pm by David Farrar

Do you remember how Air NZ changed its safety video, after a few people took offence at the gay steward lining up (unsuccessfully) for a kiss from the All Black, after the stewardess got one.

Those taking offence were a small minority, and the steward himself didn’t think it was at all offensive – in fact he wwas annoyed it got censored.

We have much the same with the Libra ad:

The drag queen star of a controversial tampon advertisement, pulled amid backlash from the transgender community, has defended the campaign and has hit out against “dragphobia”.

The Libra ad features a blonde woman and a drag queen in a bathroom seemingly competing against one another as they apply make-up and adjust their bras.

When the woman produces a tampon, the drag queen walks out defeated.

Transgender advocates slammed the ad as transphobic, by implying people could only be women if they got their periods.

No, it was just a joke.

I’m all for gay marriage, gay adoption, non-discrimination etc, but this does not mean one can’t be the butt of a joke. It’s not as if it was mean or vicious. People should concentrate on real issues of discrimination.

The Melbourne drag queen who stars in the ad, Sandee Crack, has defended his involvement in the ad.

In a blog post yesterday he said he identified as a gay man who dressed in drag as a performer, and had never considered himself transgendered.

He slammed the backlash against the ad as “dragphobia”.

“Unfortunately, a small portion of the trans community have chosen to view the ad as a personal attack on their fight to be viewed as equal women within society. This is a fight I also feel strongly about and I hope to help educate the wider community on.

“However, I feel hurt that representing myself as a drag queen on television and playing out a common place scenario in my life has lead to a clear ‘dragphobia’ among some transgendered individuals, who wish to pull the plug on something that reflects true honesty about the life of a drag queen.” …

He said he was shown the ad before its release and was “thrilled with it”.

“I believe strongly that by putting a drag queen into the mainstream media, we are one step closer to acceptance and this is something I am very proud to be part of.”

Any use of humour is almost inevitably going to offend someone.

I guess the scene in Wedding Crashers where Todd hits on Vince Vaughan’s character who is tied to his bed, should be banned because it makes gay men looks like predators. But hell Isla Fisher’s character makes women look like rapists, so that scene should be banned also. Let’s just ban anything which uses a stereotype.

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Kids Rugby

June 4th, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

James Ihaka at the NZ Herald reports:

The Rugby Union has stopped kids winning their matches by more than 35 points, saying it makes the game more enjoyable.

But one coach describes the changes as “political correctness gone mad” and says he and other coaches will lobby for the new rule to be dropped.

Under the NZRU’s Small Blacks development programme for children aged 13 and under, coaches from opposing sides can meet at halftime if one side has put on 35 or more points against the other to agree on how they can “generate a more-even contest”.

A score of 100-nil is now posted as 35-nil – the maximum points differential allowed.

If a side wins 90 to 5, the score is recorded as 40 to 5.

Oh please tell me you are kidding. A friend on Twitter said she was going to read 1984 for the first time – there should be a chapter on faking the rugby score.

I reckon kids will feel worse knowing that they lost by so much, that the score had to be faked. And as if they won’t keep track themselves.

On this issue, I agree with Trevor Mallard.

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Kedgley attacks Key for calling Liz Hurley hot

January 30th, 2011 at 8:14 am by David Farrar

Oh dear. How dare a man, let alone the PM, say that Liz Hurley is “hot”. Next he’ll be hosting “bunga-bunga” parties like Silvio.

Sunday News reports:

Proving he’s a typical Kiwi bloke Key said that if he could be any sporting star he’d be an All Blacks captain but added he wouldn’t mind taking a swing at being Tiger Woods either.

“Obviously for the money I would be Tiger Woods. You get paid a truckload of money,” he said, adding “there are other benefits that clearly come with the job” too.

The conversation took a sexy turn after Veitch asked the jovial PM if he’d like to be love-rat Warnie. “Yeah, well given his current liaisons with Liz Hurley,” Key said.

“I like Liz Hurley actually. I reckon she is hot.”

And he is also an Brangelina fan:

He later said Sin City star “Jessica Alba looked pretty hot” despite her latest movie, Little Fockers, being “rubbish” and that Brad Pitt’s squeeze, Angelina Jolie “is not too bad” either. While Key’s comments might have been well received by Radio Sport’s predominantly male audience, they didn’t impress veteran MP and women’s rights campaigner Sue Kedgley.

The four-term Green MP, who will stand down at the upcoming election, said Key’s comments were boorish and unbecoming of a prime minister. …

“They do seem a little bit 1960s comments, rather than what you [would] expect in the 21st century.”

I suppose Key should have said that Angelina was aesthetically pleasing or something, to comply with Sue’s demands.

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Political Corectness wins again

December 13th, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Tim Donoghue at the Dom Post reports:

Air New Zealand is removing a scene from its in-flight safety video after complaints from members of the gay community.

The offending scene depicts a coy All Black Richard Kahui turning down an opportunity to peck the cheek of gay Air New Zealand flight attendant Will Coxhead.

Operations and safety manager David Morgan said among the complaints was a suggestion from a professor that the video could lead to gay male suicides.

It could also lead to a plane crashing as enraged militants blow up the plane in protest.

Captain Morgan said the video Crazy About Rugby, involving members of the All Black squad and with coach Graham Henry and captain Richie McCaw filmed in the cockpit, had been a phenomenal success.

“When we created this video and discussed the scene featuring a gay male flight attendant and a rugby player with key stakeholders, including a number of the gay community, we received none of the feedback we have in the past week,” Mr Morgan said.

“The scene was not something that we, the people we tested the scene with, or indeed the participants in the scene, viewed as distasteful or likely to cause concern.”

You’d have to be bloody precious to take offence.

The adverse reaction to the scene had shocked the Air New Zealand flight attendant in the safety briefing, Mr Coxhead.

“I’m absolutely gutted that a couple of people in the gay community have ruined this for everyone else.

“I’m proud to be gay, proud to be an Air New Zealander and extremely proud of my role in the safety video. Obviously there are some people in the gay community that can be a little precious and need to lighten up.”

Hear hear.

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WA police no longer allowed to refer to race

November 30th, 2010 at 7:11 am by David Farrar

Unbelievable. news.com.au reports:

WA POLICE have defended their policy of banning ethnic or religious words to describe offenders after it was attacked by the Police Union as ‘political correctness gone mad’.

The policy, a direct order from Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan, means officers can no longer use details such as a suspect’s nationality, race or religion when seeking public help.

Instead, they have been told to say if the person is light or dark skinned.

Are they allowed to still describe the gender?

WA Police are standing by their policy, saying many people don’t actually know what people of different nationalities look like.

“More general descriptors limit the chances for people to make error,” WA Police Media spokesman Samuel Dinnison says.

“People have different terms of reference and if we narrow investigations down to specific race, the person may have gotten it wrong and that may limit an investigation. Narrowing it down too much can be detrimental to an investigation.”

Yes some witnesses may not get the ethnicity right. But some may. Surely the sensible thing to do is use specific ethnicities when the witnesses are certain, and use more general terms when they are not.

Also from what I can tell, even if CCTV footage showed the offenders, the Police would still refuse to refer to their ethnicity. Incredible stupidity.

WA Police Union president Russell Armstrong wants the rule overturned, arguing that using “scant descriptions” makes it harder to catch criminals. …

One police insider said the policy had prevented the capture of suspects.

“These rules don’t give a true indication of who police are looking for,” the source said.

“There is a big difference between a dark-skinned person being Aboriginal or African. And if we are looking for an Asian person-of-interest it’s a bit narrow to describe them as simply having fair skin and dark hair.”

Exactly. One might not be sure if they are Korean or Chinese (for example), but would be sure they are Asian.

Other states, such as Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory use the nationally agreed ANZPAA policy which limits the description categories to broad groups including Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander, Asian, Middle-Eastern or Caucasian appearance unless there has been a positive identification of the nationality of a person described.

That seems far more sensible.

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Inmates no mates

October 23rd, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

From the Herald political diary:

Political correctness is still alive and well in the Labour Party. In a remit relating to Labour’s prisons policy, the word “inmates” was changed to the more anonymous “people”.

Was it because mates implies males?

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Bats and fellatio

May 19th, 2010 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Sage at No Minister blogs:

A British scientist has been disciplined for sexual harassment by his Irish university for showing a female colleague a research paper about fellatio in bats, triggering an outcry over academic freedom.

Leading scientists and academics including Steven Pinker and Daniel Dennett have rallied to support Dylan Evans, after University College, Cork (UCC) placed him on probation for two years and ordered him to have counselling.

Supporters of Dr Evans, a behavioural scientist, said the university’s actions sent a dangerous message that areas of legitimate academic debate can be deemed off-limits if certain people find them offensive for personal reasons.

Who can be offended by fellatio amongst bats? Now if it had been a video of said activity I can imagine the upset, but a research paper??

While an investigation cleared Dr Evans of sexual harassment prior to his showing her the bat fellatio paper, it found that this incident amounted to a joke with sexual innuendo, though it accepted he had not intended to offend.

Professor Michael Murphy, the UCC president, declared that the complaint of sexual harassment had been upheld, and punished Dr Evans by imposing a two-year period of “monitoring and appraisal” and requiring him to complete special training.

What an hysterical over-reaction.

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Silly

March 17th, 2010 at 11:03 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Women are being prevented from taking part in a two-day conference on male suicide rates.

The conference, with more than 100 participants from around New Zealand, features male-only guest speakers.

Wairarapa suicide prevention coordinator Barry Taylor said women were excluded to encourage men to take responsibility for their own mental health. “Men’s mental health has been a hidden subject over many years. Part of the problem is that they don’t talk about their feelings and they don’t ask for help.”

Mr Taylor said some women had asked to be part of the conference but were told no.

How silly. I’m all for a focus on men’s health, but banning women from attending a conference on it, is as silly as banning men from a conference on women’s health. Doctors and professionals tend to be of both genders.

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No animal lawyers in Switzerland

March 8th, 2010 at 4:03 pm by David Farrar

I saw this article in the Telegraph:

All of the 26 Swiss cantons on Sunday voted against the proposal by animal rights activists to extend nationwide a system already in place in Zurich.

Overall, just 29.5 per cent of voters were in favour. In seven cantons the “No” vote was more than 80 per cent. …

If citizens had voted for the initiative, each canton would have appointed a lawyer to act on behalf of animals at taxpayers’ expense.

The canton of Zurich has had its own animal lawyer since 1992. Antoine Goetschel’s clients include dogs, cats, guinea pigs, farm animals and, recently, a large pike.

“It took 10 minutes of struggle to reel the pike in before killing it. I regard that as cruelty. If someone had done that to a puppy, there would have been outrage,” he said.

“People accused of animal cruelty very often hire lawyers to defend themselves. Why shouldn’t someone speak for the animal as well? It’s about fairness and defending a minority.”

I await the Green Party proposal here. It turns out Switzerland has extremely detailed laws on animals:

Under a new Swiss law enshrining rights for animals, dog owners will require a qualification, anglers will take lessons in compassion and horses will go only in twos.

From guinea-pigs to budgerigars, any animal classified as a “social species” will be a victim of abuse if it does not cohabit, or at least have contact, with others of its own kind.

The new regulation stipulates that aquariums for pet fish should not be transparent on all sides and that owners must make sure that the natural cycle of day and night is maintained in terms of light. Goldfish are considered social animals, or Gruppentiere in German.

So if you don’t turn out the lights at night for your goldfish, you might be in court!

Anglers will also be required to complete a course on catching fish humanely, with the Government citing studies indicating that fish can suffer too.

The regulations will affect farmers, who will no longer be allowed to tether horses, sheep and goats, nor keep pigs and cows in areas with hard floors.

The legislation even mentions the appropriate keeping of rhinoceroses, although it was not clear immediately how many, if any, were being kept as pets in Switzerland.

If you have a rhinoceros, I suspect you go to some lengths to keep it happy!

It gets even better. Switzerland even has a law to protect the dignity of plants:

Over a decade ago, an amendment was added to the Swiss constitution in order to defend the dignity of all creatures — including vegetation — against unwanted repercussions of genetic engineering. The amendment was turned into law and is known as the Gene Technology Act. However the law itself didn’t say anything specific about plants, until recently, when the law was amended to include them. …

Recently, the Swiss Parliament asked a panel of philosophers, lawyers, geneticists and theologians to determine the meaning of dignity when it pertains to plants.

Lo and Behold, the team published a treatise on “the moral consideration of plants for their own sake.” The treatise established that vegetation has innate value and that it is morally wrong to partake in activities such as the “decapitation of wildflowers at the roadside without rational reason.”

Okay everyone you have been warned. Any more decapitation of flowers, and you’ll be prosecuted.

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Give that Judge a promotion

March 6th, 2010 at 11:56 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Jim McCorkindale, 70, of Gore in Southland, told the Weekend Herald that while dropping off children last July, he saw two boys pulling the hair of a girl and got out of his driver’s seat to try to stop it.

“I went over and touched the boy on the arm to attract his attention, and that was the assault.”

When the boy did not respond to being told to stop, “I threatened to hit him in the ribs, and he flinched and let the kid’s hair go to protect his ribs”, Mr McCorkindale said.

“But I never touched him again.”

The boy had continued misbehaving after Mr McCorkindale returned to his seat.

Children on the bus called the police and he found officers waiting to talk to him when he finished his run.

When police rejected the option of diversion, Mr McCorkindale received a court summons.

Amazing. If the boys are assaulting the young girl in question, he had every right to intervene to protect her.

What were the Police thinking?

But in the Gore District Court, Judge Kevin Phillips threw out the charge.

Instead, he told the boy he should be “thoroughly ashamed” of himself and had a policeman take him to the cells, the Southland Times reported.

Clap clap clap. Bet you he was smirking the whole time, until that happened.

Well done Judge Phillips.

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Political Correctness gone mad

January 3rd, 2010 at 9:20 am by David Farrar

The SST reports:

AN AMERICAN academic missed out on a top university job because of a letter she wrote to New Zealand Listener magazine lamenting the Kiwi habit of going barefoot in public.

The incident has been highlighted in a new book which looks at the rampant “political correctness” that is said to infect many American campuses.

Erin Mackie, a lecturer in English and cultural studies, worked at Canterbury University for six years, and wrote the letter to the Listener in 2006. The letter (itself a response to a Listener article which made fun of a no-shoes/no-service policy in a Texan food store) described New Zealanders’ public shoelessness as “not only backward and uncivilised, but dangerously unhygienic and repulsive to North Americans”.

Trouble started when Mackie returned to the US. According to US author Cary Nelson, university staff had found out about Mackie’s letter and decided it was an attack on the Maori people and thus racist. On those grounds, Mackie missed out on the job.

The ironic thing is the racists are the US professors who decided her complaints about people in bare feet being uncivilised was automatically a reference to Maori.

Incidentally I love walking about in bare feet – but only on beaches and lawns!

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Waiter vs Waitress vs Waitron

September 22nd, 2009 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

An amusing column by Karl du Fresne:

After wittily skewering the pretentiousness that frequently characterises restaurant reviews in newspapers and magazines (and of which I’ve probably been guilty myself), Joe confronts the terms “waiter” and “waitress”.

He notes that the “ess” suffix has fallen out of favour, supposedly because it’s demeaning. Disappointingly, he seems to capitulate on this issue when I would have expected him to put up a fight.

Although acknowledging that he has never met a waitress who said she found the word demeaning, he nonetheless turns his attention to the quest for an acceptable, gender-neutral alternative and comes up with “waiters”.

This term, Joe writes, describes their job precisely and is by definition sexually non-specific. But alas, “it has been deemed unsatisfactory by the people who resolve such matters. It seems that usage has smeared the word permanently with testosterone.”

He then pounces with glee on the preposterous neologism coined to get around this non-problem – namely, “waitron”.

I’ve seen this term used occasionally and assumed the usage was tongue-in-cheek; a satirical poke at the political correctness that now contaminates the English language. How could it be otherwise?

But no; it appears the word is making a serious bid for acceptance. It’s not in my 2005 edition of the New Zealand Oxford Dictionary (though the hideous “waitperson”, a word that almost justifies the reintroduction of capital punishment, is). However we have seen silly, gender-neutral words infiltrate the language before, and a googling of “waitron” indicates it might be gaining ground.

I’m with Joe when he laughs this ridiculous word off the page. He says there are only four words he can think of that end with -ron: cyclotron, electron, neutron and moron. “One is a machine for boffins, two are sub-atomic particles, and one describes the character who invented the word waitron,” he writes. Classic Bennett.

Heh. If someone put on their CV they had been waitron, I would not hire them on principle!

I agree with Joe that there’s nothing degrading about being described as a waitress – or an actress, for that matter. The words waitress and actress simply acknowledge the reality that these people are intrinsically different from their male counterparts.

Does anyone think less of Katharine Hepburn, Meryl Streep or Julia Roberts for being called actresses? Any discriminatory connotation exists only in the minds of crazed ideologues. …

But there’s more to it than that. The English language is a wondrous tool that enables us to narrow down meanings and nuances very precisely.

One of the purposes of words is to create mental pictures and impressions. A writer or journalist using the gender-neutral terms waiter or actor leaves the reader in doubt as to whether the person in question is a he or a she.

This can be a crucial distinction. If I were to write that I had chatted up a cute waiter in a Courtenay Place bar it would create a very different impression than if I had used the “ess” suffix.

Either scenario is highly unlikely – but it illustrates why people who use words for a living should fight like fury to prevent the English language from being de-sexed.

Someone should start a group on Facebook!

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Two seats for price of one for obese Canadians

November 22nd, 2008 at 11:47 am by David Farrar

Whenever you think regulation has gone mad in New Zealand, it is reassuring Canada is usually worse.

The Canadian Supreme Court has rejected an appeal against a ruling that airlines must provide extra seats free of charge to morbidly obese flyers.

Canadian airlines should be able to charge what they want. Hell if an airline wanted to charge passengers based on their weight, I would support that. You pay for luggage over a certain weight, so why not people?

But this isn’t even that. This is telling airlines that if a passenger is so obese that they can’t possibly fit in one seat, then they must get that second seat for free.

How idiotic.

This is what you get when you take a good principle such as non discrimination, and apply it to extreme ends.

Interestingly in NZ, Air NZ has started charging for empty seats. How? If there are empty seats on a flight, then you can ask to be next to one for $75 on a flight to the US. Now that’s a smart idea. In Canada no doubt it would be illegal.

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Badges

June 23rd, 2008 at 8:30 pm by David Farrar

Bernard Hickey doesn’t want no stinking badges!

This is the guts of the problem that faces public servants on the front line and taxpayers alike. Too much money is being spent centrally on dreaming up fancy ideas for the workers at the coal face to carry out, while the poor people at the coal face don’t have the resources to do some real public service.

Talk to any nurse, teacher, police officer, principal, social worker and there is enormous resentment and anger at how much money is spent by head office dreaming up policy frameworks, policy documents, communications strategies and monitoring regimes. Not nearly enough money is spent actually providing the service.

I’m all for government employing doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers, police officers and road builders. But why so many bureaucrats working out of fancy office buildings writing policy papers and ordering the workers around? Any business would ask the question: Why so much middle management?

Schools seem to getting quite militant with the ever increasing workload being placed on them by the Education Ministry and the Government, when they see stupidity such as this sucking up funds they could do with.

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Labour MP lashes out at political corectness

March 9th, 2008 at 10:20 am by David Farrar

Retiring Labour MP Dover Samuels has lashed out at political corectness:

“We’ve got to learn to laugh at each other. This PC, culturally correct brigade will actually destroy our New Zealand lifestyle. There’s this inherent part of our country that is being destroyed because we’re becoming so PC.

“You’ve got these culturally correct loony tunes who think everything’s offensive come on, it’s time to wake up.

and

“The Treaty of Waitangi seems to be the antidote for everything from tagging to wagging school and colonisation which is absolute cultural bullshit.

“Frankly, I think a vast majority of Maori have had a gutsful of it, just like the average New Zealander that’s why I’m going to Australia.”

Samuels lashes the Maori Party for their part in it, but as they have been in Parliament only two years it is hard to resist the conclusion that he is also sending a message to his own colleagues.

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