There is a genre of stupid, very nearly content-free stories that get far more attention than they deserve. Here’s a prime example from The Telegraph: Talk of brainstorming ‘may offend epileptics’. The first two paragraphs feed the PC “anti-PC” impulse in us all. They say that the word “brainstorming” has “become the latest target of political correctness, according to a charity. Trainee teachers are being told to avoid the word for fear of offending pupils with epilepsy. Instead they are being advised to use ‘word storm’ or ’thought shower’.”
Shocking, eh, yet another example of misguided left-wing nanny-statism why can’t we just call a spade a spade (if you know what I mean) honestly where has common sense gone I ask you doesn’t it just drive you nuts bet that’s the next one on their hitlist just you wait and you can’t even get a glass of Watney’s Red Barrel because you’re still in England the kids are crying and vomiting and breaking the plastic ashtrays and when you finally get to Malaga airport, everybody’s queueing for the bloody toilet.
The problem is that the remainder of the story is devoted to sawing off the legs the first two paragraphs stand on. First, the report says “charities working with epilepsy say “brainstorming” is not offensive.” They checked, with a survey. Next, the Teacher Training Agency is quoted saying “it was not responsible for the suggestion that students avoid the word.” They point out that they are “responsible for overseeing the general quality of the courses provided by universities and colleges and we don’t get involved in the minutiae of what they teach.”
So, what are we left with? Nada. Nothing. No source for what trainee teachers where were being told this, or by whom. No quotes from the trainees involved or their instructors. Instead, each official agency contacted said “this is not a problem” or “this is not our policy”. So where, I ask myself, is the damn story here? Why bother making this stuff up when there are so many great examples of genuinely offensive and wholly stupid commentary from actual, quotable important people?