Retrograde Steps for Personkind; Thorns from the Thistle

Daily Mail (London), March 10, 1997 | Go to article overview

Retrograde Steps for Personkind; Thorns from the Thistle


Byline: JAMES GRYLLS

IF non-sexist language is to be used in Glasgow City Council and phrases such as man-made, mankind and policeman replaced, we are, I told the Colonel, left with a problem. What should happen, for instance, to such words as `manhole', `mandatory' or `manipulate' and can we really have a huperson resources committee? The Colonel, for his part, remarked he very much doubted if the Mandingo tribe in Africa would take kindly to being referred to as the Persondingo and residents of places such as Manitoba and Manchester would feel distinctly uneasy at what might be their fate. One gets the feeling that a committee is about to be formed, one which meets twice a week to discuss such weighty matters and, before you know it, the members will require frequent stress counselling. This will, no doubt, lead to the need for more stress counsellors and, as we all know, an increase in manpower (oops) costs us, the taxpayer, more money. These thoughts crossed my mind as, neatly evading a swerving car driven by a non-traditional commuter (joyrider), I purchased a copy of the Big Issue from a permanent outdoorsman (self-explanatory) and headed home to my mansion (oops2). This may all be done in the name of liberation but, as the Colonel sagely commented: `If a fire-fighter fights fires and a crime fighter crime, what does a freedom fighter fight?

STRUGGLING IN A HYPER TEXT WEB

IN A similar fashion computer language is taking over the world. One feels like a dyslexic man (sorry, person) staring at a bowl of alphabet soup when one contemplates the latest terminology. Bunter, great-aunt Hortense's grandson, tells me in a letter the fun game in his brother's office is to spam the boss with a mail bomb by getting fellow trolls to bombard his system with so much e-mail it crashes, thereby fouling up his snail mail. In effect this means you and fellow internet addicts (they are the trolls) conspire to send so much information to you employer's computer that it no longer functions and he is unable to receive conventional computer mail. …

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