Fascinating tidbits from Once-Great Britain:

  1. Steve Boyce comments: “On a flight back from Spain the other day, I overheard two stewardesses. … One told the other that she was told by the management that she could not wear her crucifix whilst working, or at least hide it behind her blouse as it may cause offence to any Muslims traveling on the plane. Now, it’s hard for me to imagine a Saudi or Syrian airline forbidding jewelry that might offend Christians. As I said, it’s a one-sided game we’re playing.”

    Yes. But it wouldn’t be so one-sided if we began restricting leadership positions to those who are at least minimally aware of what’s going on around them. The people who make rules about crucifixes are the same ones who take “The DaVinci Code” seriously – in other words, the hopelessly disoriented.

    One of my favorite “Candid Camera” gags was a simple one, staged on a sidewalk in Manhattan where they asked passers-by, “Excuse me, which way is west?” The kaleidoscope of answers was hilariously random. And as I recall, they were all soooo confident – prime candidates for airline supervisory positions.

  2. Susie Inkson observes, “In more than one call center job, I have been told to substitute the words Yankee and Zulu in the phonetic alphabet with yellow and zebra to avoid causing offense.”

    In 1957, when Army phoneticists went through the painstaking process of changing the old World War II alphabet Able Baker Charlie Dog Easy … into the more NATO-friendly Alfa Bravo Charlie Delta Echo …, they probably high-fived each other when they thought of Yankee and Zulu – the perfect garble-proof words. It would not have occurred to them that a generation later, tenderhearted souls would find them offensive – or, as is usually the case, decide that others would find them so. But therein lies the core of political correctness: pre-emptive victimhood, being offended in advance on behalf of Those Less Fortunate.

  3. In a 2003 bleeding-heart memo, the United Kingdom’s Teacher Training Agency told trainees to say “thought shower” instead of “brainstorm” to avoid offending epileptics. Yet afterward, the Daily Telegraph was unable to find anyone in the epileptic community who objected to the word “brainstorm.”

  4. Johnnie Casson writes, “My friend is a 30-year civil servant in pensions. Throughout this time, any inter-office correspondence has to be sent in a transit docket, always called a ‘tranny’ for short. Recently, they had a memo from ‘upstairs’ saying they could not longer call this a ‘tranny’ for fear of causing offence to transsexuals or transvestites.”

    How do these people manage to tie their shoes?

  5. In the 2005 run-up to allowing “civil partnership ceremonies” in municipal offices of the United Kingdom, the Liverpool Echo reported that “paintings of wedding scenes have been removed from a civil registrar’s office there so as to avoid offending gay couples who have registered to wed there when a new law goes into effect next month.” The pictures – one of Romeo and Juliet and another showcasing a heterosexual couple – are being replaced with landscapes that are “less likely to offend,” said registrar officer Janet Taubman.

So it has come to this. Shed a tear for the great and glorious land that gave us Alfred the Great, Henry V, Sir Francis Drake, Richard the Lionhearted, Elizabeth I, the Duke of Wellington, Lord Nelson, T.E. Lawrence and Winston Churchill. Today, the spirit of Neville Chamberlain rules.

The prominent disease infecting all these vignettes, I feel, is cowardice, giving way to evil.

Though usually invisible (for we prefer to ignore it in ourselves), cowardice and other moral flaws briefly took on solid form for the delirious Cyrano de Bergerac in his dying moments, as he cried out:

“Let the old fellow come now! He shall find me on my feet, sword in hand. [He draws his sword.] I can see him now – he grins. He is looking at my nose, that skeleton. What’s that you say? Hopeless? Why, very well! But a man does not fight merely to win! No, no, better to know one fights in vain! … You there, who are you? A hundred against one, eh? I know them now, my ancient enemies. [He thrusts his sword at the empty air.] Falsehood! … There! There! Prejudice! Compromise! Cowardice! [Thrusting] What’s that? No! Surrender? No! Never! Never! [He slashes his sword wildly.] Ah, you too, Vanity! I knew you would overthrow me in the end. No! I fight on! I fight on! I fight on!”

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