I Don’t Want To Hurt Your Feelings

There is tact, and then there is over-the-top, bureaucratic-nonsense, political-correctness.  The New York City Board of Education clearly demonstrated the latter recently.  They put out tenders for the printing of new standardized student tests.  In an attempt to ensure that none of their students get their little feelings hurt, there was a list of 50 words/thoughts that could not be included, lest someone be offended.

Here is the complete list of words that they believe should be banned.

  • Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological)
  • Alcohol (beer and liquor), tobacco, or drugs
  • Birthday celebrations (and birthdays)
  • Bodily functions
  • Cancer (and other diseases)
  • Catastrophes/disasters  (tsunamis and hurricanes)
  • Celebrities
  • Children dealing with serious issues
  • Cigarettes (and other smoking paraphernalia)
  • Computers in the home (acceptable in a school or library setting)
  • Crime
  • Death and disease
  • Divorce
  • Evolution
  • Expensive gifts, vacations, and prizes
  • Gambling involving money
  • Halloween
  • Homelessness
  • Homes with swimming pools
  • Hunting
  • Junk food
  • In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge
  • Loss of employment
  • Nuclear weapons
  • Occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling)
  • Parapsychology
  • Politics
  • Pornography
  • Poverty
  • Rap Music
  • Religion
  • Religious holidays and festivals (including but not limited to Christmas, Yom Kippur, and      Ramadan)
  • Rock-and-Roll music
  • Running away
  • Sex
  • Slavery
  • Terrorism
  • Television and video games (excessive use)
  • Traumatic material  (including material that may be particularly upsetting such as animal shelters)
  • Vermin (rats and roaches)
  • Violence
  • War and bloodshed
  • Weapons (guns, knives, etc.)
  • Witchcraft, sorcery, etc.

Incidentally, I notice that one of the words on the list is pornography. The chancellor has offered no explanation for how schools will avoid including this term on standardized tests considering it is part of the middle school curriculum.

The tests can’t refer to the number of birthday or Christmas presents Mary got, because Jews and Muslims don’t celebrate Christmas and Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate birthdays.  I see they didn’t include weather.  Presumably we can still discuss that.  Dinosaurs can’t be mentioned, because that assumes evolution.  Expensive presents and homes with pools would depress the financially downtrodden.  References to homelessness, job loss and poverty would just rub their noses in it.

I’m all for not offending the next guy, but this just seems to take it to the level of absurd.  This is George Orwell’s 1984.  If there isn’t a word to describe it, the concept doesn’t exist.  If either the potential offender, or the possibly offended actually knew what they were talking about, I might accept the concept, but neither does.

I worked with a young Jehovah’s Witness.  Shortly before Mother’s Day the inspector on the line asked him what he was doing for his mother.  “We don’t celebrate mothers.  We celebrate Jesus.  We do what the Bible tells us to do.”  One of the important passages in the Bible, perhaps THE most important, The Ten Commandments, orders us to, Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother!  Surely this applies to Jehovah’s Witnesses, as much as to the rest of us.

We can’t make it a nice world, just by wishing it so.  It would be nice if bad guys didn’t have, and use, guns.  Canada is still busy taking guns away from responsible owners.  A .22 calibre varmint rifle has been declared a dangerous weapon, and all of these guns sold in the last twenty years must be turned in to police, with no compensation.  The reason is, that they were designed to look like an AK47, and AK47s, by Government definition, are evil.

Seventeen states passed legislation allowing concealed carry for handguns.  Canadian pundits almost had a bird.  The words Hell, and hand basket, were bandied freely.  Two years later, gun-related crimes in those states are down an average of thirty-seven percent.  When the bad guys don’t know whether or not a potential victim might lethally fight back, they’re not so likely to commit a crime.

I don’t feel that the school system is doing students any favors when they pass them on to the next grade, even though they didn’t achieve the required marks.  They don’t want to make the students feel like failures.  Check the definition.  They are failures!  Better to find out now, than when the boss asks, Do you have that report finished? and you reply, Well, I’ve got some of it done.  Do you want fries with that?  Damn it Hopkins, the customer ordered onion rings.

If an inner-city black youth is not told about the existence of a $17,000,000 mansion, he is still stuck in poverty, and maybe, he thinks there’s nothing better.  If he finds out that other people live better, he has something to aspire to.  These words and ideas will exist whether kids are told about them or not.  I feel that there should be short-term pain for long-term resistance and health.  Like germs, continual, light exposure can produce immunity.  Remember, the ostrich with his head stuck in the sand, can still get it stuck up his….Ask me if I still feel this way in five years.

Advertisements

What We Say – What We Think

Cognitive dissonance.

No, no!  Don’t reach for the mouse yet.  This isn’t a post about difficult English words.  That will come a little later.  Cognitive dissonance is just a term to describe holding two conflicting opinions in your mind at the same time.  This happens in everyday life, but is most common in politics and religion.  The scientist who carbon-dates fossils goes to Catholic Church on Sunday, and Believes that the Earth was created seven thousand years ago.  It’s a delicate mental balance.  Some people are much better at it than others.  George Orwell, in his book 1984, described the process perfectly.  He also showed how people can be trained to change their opinions, without even noticing that they have been changed.

Having given a Christian example, I also have a couple of Canadian Muslim female examples.  The weekend paper had an article about The Veiled Vogue.  This is a new type of fashion show where the models are veiled, or head-scarfed Muslim women.  The clothing isn’t quite as outré or revealing as normal, but the point of the veil is supposed to be modesty.  It’s pretty hard to claim modesty, when you’re strutting your stuff, on the runway.

Speaking of modesty, I almost had a Muslim-modesty car-crash the other day.  I stopped at a red light, near a high-school.  Students streamed across the crosswalk in front of me.  Almost the last to cross on the green….well, it had gone to orange, but high-school students don’t give a damn, were three 14ish girls.  Two appeared “normal Canadian”.  The third, definitely a Muslim, was identifiable by the scarf concealing all of her head and neck, except the face.  This was two feet above a skirt which didn’t have quite as much fabric.  She buys her yellow panties at Muslims-R-Us.  I know.  If she wanted to look like a little slut, why didn’t she just do it like her two slutty girlfriends?  This outfit speaks two conflicting opinions at the same time.  Who’s she lying to?  Herself, or the rest of us.  Or both?

The Church has always been good at this type of two-faced, or two-brained stance.  One of the most obvious instances was Joan of Arc.  When she was winning battles and saving the country, she was a heroine.  When the war had been won, she was an embarrassment, able to do what the Church and its knights could not do.  Suddenly she was declared a heretic and burned at the stake.  A couple of hundred years later, when the Church needed heroes, especially outstanding women, in an organization too full of men, she was hauled out, dusted off, her “heresy” ignored, and she was raised to the status of saint.  The “unchanging” Church has many of these volte-faces, where conflicting positions rapidly reverse themselves, or where both are held at the same time.

In the Middle Ages, the Holy Catholic Church sold indulgences.  People with enough money could donate to the Church, and be forgiven their past sins.  This soon progressed to prepaying for sins which were anticipated to happen in the future.  Sort of a Cosmic Monopoly, get-out-of-Hell-free card.  The Church eventually realized, but didn’t publicly admit, that the selling of indulgences was immoral, and wrong.

Several hundred years have passed, and the Church’s revenues are going down as more and more people leave the Church, or can’t afford to pay the tithe.  Suddenly, indulgences are back.  This time, instead of giving money directly to the Church, those who wish to pay for play, can donate money and/or time and effort to Church-approved charities and projects.  See how different this way is from the old way?!  I guess immoral and wrong are actually okay – for the right price.

Priests diddle little boys, and little girls.  Family-values political figures hire hookers.  Anti-same-sex-marriage Senators have gay washroom assignations.  Flag-waving patriots are caught selling military secrets.  My head would explode from the stress of trying to go in two opposite directions at the same time.  It’s too bad some or all of these people couldn’t manage to do that.