Watford Council has banned parents from playgrounds in case they're paedophiles! Wuurgh! Perlidigol-Creckniss-Gawn-Mayyd, yoo-coodern-mayyk-id-upp!*
See, 'Parents banned from watching their children in playgrounds... in case they are paedophiles' (check the comments), 'Council bans parents from play areas'. To be fair, Smellyface's inevitable coverage doesn't make any PC claims for once, but more on that in a bit.
Of course, Watford Council haven't banned parents from playgrounds in case they're paedophiles, in true Political Correctness Gone Mad non-story fashion. The Council has issued a statement and everything.
Having been fair to Smellyface earlier it's time to point out that the statement has been linked to from the front page of Watford Council's website since Wednesday, and any journalist who bothered to do a scrap of research rather than just regurgitated stuff they'd read in their own paper would have seen it as soon as they looked at the Council's website. But Richard Littlejohn's job is to reproduce any reactionary old piss that'll fit, not to actually check to see if what he's writing is true. That'd roo-in the column.
The thing is, though, right, the thing is, yeah, what would stopping parents from going into playgrounds in case they're paedoes have to do with amending language or traditions in order to remove things that are perceived as being inherently discriminatory anyway? Nothing, obviously. Duh.
Papers and assorted reactionaries now use the term 'Political Correctness' to refer to any rule that they don't like from anyone in any position of authority, however small. This is partly** because the papers created a market for Political Correctness Gone Mad stories in the 80s, and there's now a demand for them that the papers desperately want to meet - but genuine stories of this kind are few and far between. Even those kickin' it old skool 80s classics were mostly made-up nonsense themselves. (See 'The Culture Wars..' linked to in the list of books on the right for more).
So what to do? Include things that are a little bit like Political Correctness in the same category. That way it's possible to meet the need for PC Gone Mad stories with ones that have nothing to do with PC or loony lefties. This also allows left wing politics to be demonised in stories that might have zero to do with Labour Councils or anyone actually left wing. Brilliant!
The trouble is, even stories that are a little bit like PC Gone Mad ones are few and far between (although they're a bit more common than councils banning the term 'black hole' because it's racist and homophobic and replacing it with 'rainbow doorway' or something). So you get ones like this. Or the ones the Health and Safety Executive look at in their 'Myth of the Month' section. It's not necessarily that they're just made up, it's just that factchecking becomes less than lax when there's a demand to fill for certain kinds of story.
Having said all that - isn't it trippy to watch tabloids having a go at people for reacting to Moral Panics that the tabloids themselves whipped up in the first place, even when the people haven't actually been reacting to the Moral Panics anyway?
*Sorry. Smellyface didn't write a column on Tuesday and I've been jonesing for unfunny phoenetical spellings and shit catchphrases. Wot-abart-da-polah-beahz? Rock on Tommy. Et cetera.
**See, the word 'partly'. No red herrings here please!