This is what happens when your fear of offending religious sensibilities goes too far:
Top academic publisher the Oxford University press has issued guidance that authors should avoid using pork-related words.
Today Programme presenter Jim Naughtie, who is married to writer Eleanor Updale, said: “I’ve got a letter here which was sent out by Oxford University Press to an author doing something for young people.
“Among the things prohibited in the text that was commissioned by OUP was the following; ‘Pigs (plus anything else which could be perceived as pork.'”
He added: “Now, if a respectable publisher tied to an academic institution is saying you’ve got to write a book in which you cannot mention pigs because some people might be offended, it’s just ludicrous. It is just a joke.”
To his credit, one Muslim government leader agreed completely:
The guidance was condemned by Muslim Labour MP Khalid Mahmood.
“That’s ludicrous,” he said. “That’s absolute, utter nonsense and when people go too far that actually brings the whole discussion into disrepute.”
Well, it was ridiculous when we were talking about cartoons, too, but this is just silly. What does an Islamic version of the Three Little Pigs even look like?
And, for what it’s worth, if people actually wanted to avoid mentioning pigs or pork products, that would mean altering or censoring the Koran, which mentions swine in order to prohibit it.
Keep in mind OUP didn’t tell authors to avoid gratuitous, purposely-offensive mentions of these things, but to avoid them entirely. If someone can’t handle the appearance of the word, perhaps the works of an academic press isn’t for them.
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