Tuesday, November 18, 2008

On political correctness gone mad, on acid

On political correctness gone mad, on acid

The meeting reached a crisis point as we struggled with delivering a product in the face of unwelcoming technology.

"So," says the boss, scanning the row of tense faces, "how are we going to achieve this? Smoke and Mirrors?"

"I'm afraid not," I say, rifling through a pile of papers on the conference table before settling on one particular sheet, headlined in large, urgent-looking words.

"Oh for the love of crikey – what is it now?"

"It's that memo from Health and Safety. The list of words we're not allowed to use in meetings."

"The brainstorming one, you mean?"

"Shhh..." I say, glancing at the shocked faces of colleagues across the table, "You don't know who could be listening. Thought showers, boss. Thought showers."

I lay the memo on the table for all to see. "List of words, phrases and sayings that may be discriminatory to minority groups", the large, urgent-looking words read.

About a third of the way down, in jaunty Comic Sans – the typeface of the mentally challenged – my finger rests against the offending words:

"Smoke and Mirrors – May be discriminatory toward asthmatics and vampires."

"Riiiight... And what does this work of genius suggest instead?"

"Ventolin and Non-reflective surfaces."

"OK," says the boss, barely fazed by this temporary and lunatic set-back, "Ventolin and Non-reflective surfaces it is, then. Just to make sure we're all singing from the same hymn sheet."

"Ah. Sorry, that one's out as well. In fact, the document suggests that no-one speaks at all, as ALL language will be invariably offensive to at least one minority group."

"Cock. In which case," he says, veins sticking out on his forehead in a way that suggests P45s are imminent, "I WILL PERSONALLY KILL THE NEXT MAN WHO SPEAKS."

"Or womyn."

The meeting came to an abrupt end at that point.

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