January 14, 2014

Self Censorship, Ctd Political correctness is the worst kind of censorship

Jo Swinson MP, the equalities minister announced that she wants to ban "fat talk", which The Sunday Times covered here. In response to this, India Knight wrote in The Sunday Times of December 22 2013 here:
"The actress [Jennifer Lawrence] is one of an increasingly vocal band of women — the television presenter and former model Tyra Banks being one and the equalities minister Jo Swinson being another — to call for an end to “fat shaming”, that is, to calling people fat. 
At first glance, this is a great idea, and one that clearly comes from a good place. “It should be illegal to call somebody fat on TV,” Lawrence said last week. “Because why is humiliating people funny? . . . If we’re regulating cigarettes and sex and cuss words because of the effect they have on our younger generation, why aren’t we regulating things like calling people fat?”
Lawrence, who doesn’t have a spare inch of fat on her, told Elle magazine last year: “In Hollywood, I’m obese. I’m considered a fat actress.” 
I’m all for promoting healthy images of healthy women — indeed, I sometimes feel like I write about little else. But I do slightly question the wisdom of this “banning the f-word” business. 
It is true that a frankly terrifying number of young and not so young British women have issues around food, but it is also incontrovertibly true that we have a chronic obesity problem in this country. 
The latest statistics for England (see tinyurl.com/l3vtwso) show that just 34% of men and 39% of women have a healthy body mass index; that 24% of men and 26% of women are obese; and that 9.5% of four- and five-year-olds in reception class are also obese. Poor people are far more likely to be obese than richer ones. 
Do we seriously think these people would benefit from the word “fat” being banned? Do we think it would improve their health prospects — prospects that are, currently, at the calamitous end of disastrous? Because I don’t think that would be the case at all. Take these poor, obese four-year-olds. How do we think they got that way?"
Interesting quote from Charlton Heston:
"Political correctness is tyranny with manners."
Previous post in the series here. My post on civil intolerance here. Post on journalistic self-censorship and prior restraint here. My blog post for Loyalists Against Democracy on self-censorship and the silenced majority, here.

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