23 September 2008

The phrase Old Masters is sexist, authors and students are told - Telegraph

You can't even take the mickey any more. Some sociologists seem determined to behave like caricatures of themselves. And yes, I checked, the newspaper was not dated April 1.

The phrase Old Masters is sexist, authors and students are told - Telegraph:
Publishers and universities are outlawing dozens of seemingly innocuous words in case they cause offence.

Banned phrases on the list, which was originally drawn up by sociologists, include Old Masters, which has been used for centuries to refer to great painters - almost all of whom were in fact male.

It is claimed that the term discriminates against women and should be replaced by 'classic artists'.

The list of banned words was written by the British Sociological Association, whose members include dozens of professors, lecturers and researchers.

The list of allegedly racist words includes immigrants, developing nations and black, while so-called 'disablist' terms include patient, the elderly and special needs.

It comes after one council outlawed the allegedly sexist phrase 'man on the street', and another banned staff from saying 'brainstorm' in case it offended people with epilepsy.

I am inclined to agree with another sociologist, Peter Berger, who described this kind of thing as "infantile misunderstandings masquerading as hermeneutics".

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