Monday, November 30, 2009

The Sun comments on 'silliness that is attempt to change the way we think'

Bold print stating BAN ON WORD 'YOUTH' could be seen on the front cover of The Sun on Saturday Nov 28th. The article on p4 expanded on the 'potty language changes' in the code of practice issued by the Ministry of Justice and the Department for Children, Schools and Families on how to give out conditional cautions. According to the Sun, it reads: 'A number of responses suggested the term 'youth' had negative connotations and should be replaced by 'young person'. Therefore throughout the code (with the exception of the term 'Youth Conditional Caution') 'youth' has been replaced.'
Interestingly, the article itself refers to the young people as 'yobs' and shows a picture of a 'hoodie!' The writer states: 'Politically-correct penpushers have banned calling yobs 'youths' - so as not to hurt their feelings.'
What terms are acceptable when referring to teenage criminals? How is the Sun reader being encouraged to think about young people? Is there any difference implied or stated between young people and young offenders (or are you all the same?)
The topic is expanded upon in the Sun's editorial exploring other aspects of extreme political correctness such as 'winterval' which 'is making a mockery of Christmas.' It goes on to say that 'This stupidity is no joke. It prevents us dealing with real problems in society because people feel nervous talking bluntly about their causes.' After quoting extreme PC examples such as 'Baa Baa Rainbow Sheep' it states:' but behind all this silliness is an attempt to change the way we think.' A familiar theory?
After 'banging on about this' in class today (quote from Ben -thanks!) there was some discussion about whether I should have written 'youth language' on the board as a cause of language change or whether I should have reworded it! What do you think?


Phil Woods and Steve Smith said...

I volunteer at a youth club. Members and any friends they bring along call it a 'youth club' but maybe we should change its name to 'yob club' or 'hoodie club' just in case the poor dears are too shy to point out that they're offended at being called 'youths'. That'll sort it.

Julia Homan said...

Great point! I wonder how the media would represent that one!


Dan said...

Thanks for posting this, Julia. It came in handy in today's lesson where we looked at PC and language. Well, I say that...I was ranting about media lies for most of it.

Mark Pack said...

The 'Winterval' stories of the sort that the Sun has a go at are heavily laden with myth and distortion. For example, the original Winterval in Birmingham was a decade ago, only happened twice and included Christmas within it.

There have been a range of stories this year but the facts behind them very questionable. See my piece here for some of the details.

Dan said...

They're interesting points you make, Mark and ones that I've tried to cover in class when we talk about these kinds of "PC myths".

Baa baa black sheep being banned? Cobblers. Christmas is cancelled? Rubbish. Short people must be called vertically challenged? Arse!

It's an anti-PC backlash that's instigated by a conservative media that doesn't like its "common sense" views being challenged.

Dan said...

...and I should add that the links you provide and the research you've done are really helpful too.

Thanks very much!