Blasts from the past
I’ve been working a bit on the Political correctness article in Wikipedia and I ran across the best “PC beatup” story ever, starting with a claim from last year that nursery school students in Oxfordshire had been banned from singing “Baa Baa Black Sheep”. Among the ramifications were the foundation of a new political party (with a plug from Harry’s Place), and worldwide circulation leading to a claim in the Adelaide Advertiser that “black coffee” had fallen under a similar ban. Having visited Adelaide recently, I can assure anxious coffee-addicts that this is, like the rest of the story, a load of old bollocks. (I will admit that “doppio” has displaced “double-shot short black” in Australia over the last few years, a boon to addicts like me who are really in a hurry for their fix).
Going back even further, I once ran a contest to find a Mark Steyn column without either a gross error or a distorted or misattributed quotation. There weren’t any entries, though I gave an award to Tim Dunlop for coining the term â€œSteynwallingâ€? (failure to respond to repeated demonstrations of error). But now thanks to Tim Lambert and TBogg, we have a winner. It’s Steyn himself, who states “incidentally, I stopped writing for the (New York) Times a few years ago because their fanatical “fact-checking” copy-editors edited my copy into unreadable sludge.” (John Holbo has a little bit more fun with Tim’s debunking here)