Thursday, November 27, 2008  12:03 AM

The C-word

I made a bit of a faux-pas at work yesterday.

You see, I put the C-word on a public-facing part of the company website.

Of course I blamed the marketing people - that is what we in IT traditionally do - but they did put me up to it. Being a well-travelled, worldly type I didn't think much of it at the time, but this morning I woke up to an urgent message from the US branch telling me to make it as if the C-word had never been there in the first place, preferably by yesterday.

You see, apparently in the States the C-word is a bit of a no-no. People might get upset by it. So as not to offend the sensitivities of North American readers, I shall discretely place the C-word below the fold. (If you are upset by offensive language, you might want to stop reading now and read this much nicer article about ponies and butterflies which doesn't contain the C-word at all).

OK, here it is:


According to the email, the popular year-end pagan-capitalist tree-worshipping festival is "politically sensitive in the US", and also "a tree denotes Christmas". (Pagan tree-worshipper that I am, I had put a little picture of a decorated tree next to the offending passage as well).

So now the C-word has been replaced by the more generic "Holiday Season" and the tree by a picture of a dove bearing flowery things and the message "Wishing You a World of Peace".

However, on further reflection I am not happy with this solution as it still has potential to offend. For example, what if there is some ethnic / religious group for whom what is basically an albino pigeon is taboo? What about people who will have to be working over the so-called "Holiday Season"? And what about those whose religious beliefs involve violence, especially against people who don't share their religious beliefs? Surely they're the last group of people we want to upset?

Posted in Odd Stuff
Haha, nice!

I especially like how all these efforts to not offend people usually results in some people being offended.
Posted by: Mr. Salaryman | 2008-11-27 02:53
This is SO true! As soon as I saw the C-word I was even like, "uh-oh, that's won't work, he's going to have to change it to holiday..."

Sure enough!

Don't you love politically correct assholes?
Posted by: Tokyo Cowgirl | 2008-11-27 04:56
Isn't this the article you wanted to link to?
Posted by: Mr D | 2008-11-27 06:33
Mr. D, why, that is the very one! The mouse must have slipped while I was copy and pasting.
Posted by: ThePenguin | 2008-11-27 07:57
Filthy, insensitive IT person. You've deeply offended my religious beliefs. I'm not sure what exactly those beliefs entail, but your automatic assumption that I would participate in this "Christmas" debacle -- let alone go so far as to put a **tree** on your company Web site -- has left me so distraught that I have no choice but to commit suicide using household chemicals, perhaps taking out a few of my heathen neighbors in the process. I hope you're pleased with yourself and the damage you've wrought this Holiday Season.
Posted by: john turningpin | 2008-11-29 01:51
JT, I hope you at least have the decency to put up a warning notice in Japanese and English. And I might be insensitive, but I do shower at least once a day, and sometimes even use soap!
Posted by: ThePenguin | 2008-11-29 08:19