“It’s political correctness gone mad” seems to be one of the modern age’s most often repeated phrases.
A quick perusal of the news will reveal any number of people using it to attack a policy from their rivals.
Just this week, Justice Thomas of the American supreme court claimed the world has gone PC mag, while Brexit campaigners invoked the phrase to describe a decision to ban a Union Jack rubbish truck.
While political correctness has often been used correctly to help under-protected groups, there are many examples of overzealous decision makers taking it way too far.
Here are just a few examples of some of the daftest PC decisions.
Dennis the polite young man
The clue is in the name: Dennis the Menace has always been a catapult-toting nuisance. Well, until now. A makeover of the famous character, who first appeared in the Beano in 1951, was given a politically correct new look to make him less of a troublemaker. A source at BBC, who reworked the cartoon, said: “Dennis can’t be seen to use weapons and giving other kids grief in a BBC cartoon.” (Credit: Beano/BBC)
Punch & Judy gets the boot
Punch & Judy shows have been a staple of the British seaside for centuries. In fact, its history stretches back to the diarist Samuel Pepys, who wrote about seeing a show in Covent Garden over 350 years ago. That hasn’t stopped Barry Town Council from banning the show from a festival next month because of its “inappropriate hitting” – and because it depicts an “abusive” relationship. (Credit: WikiCommons)
Undoubtedly the rudest-sounding dish in your recipe book, Spotted Dick is pudding made with suet, raisins and currents. It dates back centuries – the earliest reference is 1849 – but that didn’t stop one overly concerned council from changing the name to Spotted Richard. Flintshire County Council was apparently sick of all the jokes, so changed the name – much to the chagrin of everyone else. (Credit: WikiCommons)
You may already be spotting a pattern here. Another example of political correctness taken too far, and another council behind the decision. This time it was Tunbridge Wells Borough Council in Kent which banned the term “brainstorming” and replaced it with “thought showers” – for fear of offending epileptics. Quite bizarre.
The kids aren’t alright
A huge Who fan who liked wearing a Pete Townshend-style Union Jack jacket was twice told to remove it – in case someone was offended. Jason Mawer, a publican, was told by an “official” his jacket could be deemed offensive. Of course, it’s not the first time the flag has been “banned”. Last year, police were told they were not allowed to wear a Union Jack patch in tribute to killed PC David Phillips. (Credit: WikiCommons)
Wanted: lazy worker
‘Reliable’ and 'hard-working’ – surely the two keystone employers look for in an employee? Well, maybe not: a Hertfordshire recruitment agency boss was once told she could not request those qualities – Jobcentre Plus in Thetford, Norfolk, told her such an advert could be "offensive” to unreliable people. (Credit: Monkey Business Images/REX/Shutterstock)
Too rude for TV
Arthur Ransome’s novel Swallows and Amazons has been popular with children for generations – but, according to the BBC, one of its characters is too rude for today. The corporation decided that Titty was an unsuitable name and went for Tatty instead. Not for the first time, we add: it made a similar decision back in 1963, when it opted for Kitty. (Credit: WikiCommons)
The Mis-Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Banning racist or inappropriate language, of course, makes perfect sense. And many works from generations gone contain language we wouldn’t think of using today – but doesn’t banning works literary genius seem an unwise step to take? One school in American decided to remove Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from its curriculum because of the racial slurs author Mark Twain used. (Credit: WikiCommons)
No more heroes
We’ve seen the likes of cakes and tag banned in some schools in the name of health and safety, but this particular example of political correction is one of the weirdest you will see. An unknown school in England banned a Wonder Woman lunchbox for being “too violent”, according to a viral image posted online by a mum. “We have defined ‘violent characters’ as those who solve problems using violence. Super heroes certainly fall into that category,” read the letter from the school.
All out of love
Workers at council offices in Bristol have been banned from calling visitors “love” and “dear” in a particularly mean-spirited ruling. Receptionists at the city council have been told not to use terms endearment, which are considered part of the city’s dialect, because they are unprofessional – and because they could offend some. (Credit: WikiCommons)