Friday, October 28, 2005


I love that word. And yesterday I discovered an instance.

Early in the day I found this wonderful article in the Times (h/t Harry's Place), specifically about the proposed religious hatred legislation in the UK., but with much larger implications about the insidious effects of such legislation. The best summary paragraph, responding to claims that the law will not have a serious impact because charges will rarely be laid:
Of course it will. It will have an impact every time the the local arts centre decides that perhaps it had better not book a certain act, or a cinema chain decides not to show a certain film, or a school decides not to hire out its hall to certain speakers. It will have an impact every time the wording of a council leaflet is changed or the local church changes its mind about the topic of its study evening.
Or perhaps a school board gets nervous about some of our traditional fun holidays! Later I stumbled across this article in The National Post (h/t Peaktalk).
Teachers should forego traditional classroom Halloween celebrations because they are disrespectful of Wiccans and may cause some children to feel excluded, says a Toronto District School Board memo sent to principals and teachers this week.

"Many recently arrived students in our schools share absolutely none of the background cultural knowledge that is necessary to view 'trick or treating,' the commercialization of death, the Christian sexist demonization of pagan religious beliefs, as 'fun,' " says the memo.

It is impossible to parody this; perhaps it was a parody. Or just some runaway earnest bureaucrat. And I have clearly missed some key cultural history, as I have failed somehow to recognize either the Christian or sexist elements of Hallowe'en. (OK the witches are somewhat stereotyped, but it seems to me this is somewhat of a forced way of looking at things.)

In any case it is a perfect illustration of the point of the first article.

What is coming next?


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