In the previous editorial I posted for this blog, I expressed some bemusement about schools in the United Kingdom formulating policies designed to accommodate the feelings of transgender children. I have now learned that the leader of the Girls' School Association (GCA) has suggested that headmistresses and other staff refrain from using the word ‘girl' when addressing their pupils. The GCA fears that this word can be seen as discriminatory and upsetting to those pupils in girls' schools, who are not quite sure whether they are in fact girls. The care that we are all being encouraged to take when saying anything about anyone is becoming so burdensome that it cannot be many years before the best policy will be to remain mute. After all, might it not be possible to order fish and chips in a café only to learn that liver and onions feels hurt or otherised for not having been chosen? Now, I agree that is probably a pretty daft idea, but what an adjective best describes the suggestion from the GCA?Is there not a flavour of righteousness with many of such pronouncements? Some official or other pops up and tells us all that our behaviour, heretofore, in some mattrer or other, such as referring to young human females as girls is intolerable and must be changed. Unfortunately, fearing to be seen as reactionary, most go along with such stuff. The following bits of tosh make my point rather nicely, don’t you think?
“In assemblies, instead of saying ‘Girls, go to lessons’, staff should consider saying ‘Pupils, go to lessons’ or ‘Students, go to lessons’, That is something our schools are thinking about and some are already doing."
“I feel that every year there are more and more young people posing questions around their gender identity. I do not want anyone to think that girls’ or boys’ schools are invested in one way of being a girl or one way of being a boy. My view is that where you can use gender-neutral language about people that is a good thing.”
I came across a couple of ill-thought our headlines in the National Post, one of two newspapers in Canada that has a complete cross-country reach. The first read as follows: 'Extremists may be headed to France, Belgium’. The second gem was, ''Police probe shooter's wife’. I think the first might have been better expressed as, ‘Extremists may be on their way to France, Belgium’. The second prompts the questions: with what, how and where? Perhaps the sub-editor was having a coffee break.
European Cup, knock-out stage: England 1 Iceland 2; Belgium 1 Wales 3. Association Football or soccer is supposed to be the national game. Unfortunately, the English are not very good at it. One is reminded of the occasion in 1950 during a World Cup when they lost to the USA, who at that time had a team composed of college boys.
PS The cartoon was nicked from the Sunday Times, June 19, 2016
Latest piece: Political turmoil in the Anglosphere