"call a spade a spade" furor

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Wed Nov 14 19:06:43 UTC 2001

In a message dated 11/14/01 1:45:56 PM Eastern Standard Time,
laurence.horn at YALE.EDU writes:

> "In the early 1990's, a humorous item in the British Guardian
>  newspaper reported that the Fresno Bee, a California newspaper, had
>  been forced to run a curious correction.  Inadvertently, the Bee had
>  referred to 'a plan for putting Massachusetts back in the
>  African-American.' "

Many years ago (quite possibly in 1936-1939) the _Courier-Journal_ in
Louisville, Kentucky, had a then-politically-correct house policy always to
use the term "War Between the States" rather than "Civil War."  This policy
was dropped when one day an article appeared int he _Courier-Journal_
referring to "the Spanish War Between the States".

Moral---if you have a house policy, sooner or later someone will find a way
to take it overly literally.  This is a minor corollary of a proverb which
I'm sure Fred Shapiro has recorded: "Once you make something idiot-proof,
they invent a bigger idiot."

          - Jim Landau

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