Thursday, March 08, 2007

The newest PC worry

Did you hear that the Geico caveman is in negotiations with ABC for a TV sitcom based on the ads?
"These particular cavemen are so interesting because they are so angry," said Robert Thompson, professor at Syracuse University and head of the school's Center for the Study of Popular Television. "It's a way we can deal with those issues that have come with raised consciousness and have merged into political correctness, and you can do it in a way that is safe because you're making fun of cavemen and not some other group."
Well, think again. Because there are groups who are worried over insults against the Stone Age. I kid you not.
"All anthropologists would agree that the negative use of the terms 'primitive' and 'Stone Age' to describe tribal peoples has serious implications for their welfare," the British-based Association of Social Anthropologists said Tuesday. "Governments and other social groups have long used these ideas as a pretext of depriving such peoples of land and their resources."
They're not just objecting to those terms being used to describe tribal groups, but to the terms themselves.
The edict is the result of a kerfuffle that began last March when Jenny Tonge, a Liberal Democrat member of Parliament, described two Botswana tribes as "trying to stay in the Stone Age" and "primitive" during a spirited debate. Though she later said she was misunderstood, Mrs. Tonge was criticized in the British press as "primitive" herself.
In a letter to the Guardian newspapers, tribal representatives stated: "She says it is not an insult. But if you call someone stone age or primitive, it sounds like you think they are inferior to you."
Survival International, a London-based activist group that supports tribal rights, quickly started a campaign to "challenge racist descriptions" in the press. The group has asked the public to monitor news organizations for violations. The New York Times, the Canadian Broadcasting Co. and the Times of London are among those cited for using "Stone Age" in their coverage.
Are the people whose feelings they're worried about offending reading the newspapers and watching the telly? Are they going to be in therapy like the Geico caveman? These do-gooders are upset on the behalf of people who could care less if they knew about the whole campaign.

Sheesh! The vocabulary that is acceptable for use is getting more and more limited each day.