Eskom, the South African electricity company has evidently put out a notice - Eskom would like to remind its customers that it is no longer politically correct to refer to power failures as “black outs.” Reference must now be made to “previously lit” areas. Ben Herman from New York uses the word “outage” a horrid hybrid word like “insightful” but certainly an advance on “previously lit.” But what about when the electricity is restored? Is that an “inage?” Obviously the word black should no longer be used in the English language at all though all attempts at euphemisms have failed. All right, maybe black was once a derogatory term but is it any longer and is it really such a sensitive issue these days that anything black has to be renamed? Sure there is still racism in abundance but then unfortunately so is anti-Semitism still with us but do Jews baulk at being called Jewish? I don’t think so, at least I hope not. It is high time being black is no longer an excuse for taking no responsibility or engendering a feeling of inferiority but rather it should be a reason to be proud. ‘The bus hit me because I am black,’ or ‘The bus hit me because I didn’t look where I was going when I stepped off the sidewalk.’ Which is the more credible? Yet there are still instances of the first example being used. Even the great man, Nelson Mandela once fell into the trap and used it, much to his discredit, in reference to the one time Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan who was criticised according to Mandela because “he is black.” Tch tch tch! In other words a white head of the UN would definitely not have been treated in such a fashion.
Staying in Africa how about this for the latest piece of human idiocy? In Malawi there is a row over whether a new law bans farting. The justice minister said local chiefs would deal with those caught breaking wind in public
Two of Malawi's most senior judicial officials are arguing over whether a new bill includes a provision that outlaws breaking wind in public. Justice Minister George Chaponda says the new bill would criminalise flatulence to promote public decency. "Just go to the toilet when you feel like farting," he told local radio. Easier said than done if there ain’t a toilet handy or you have to let rip before you can make it.
The Solicitor General, Anthony Kamanga, says the reference to "fouling the air" means pollution. How any reasonable or sensible person can construe the provision to mean criminalising farting in public is beyond me," he said, adding that the prohibition contained in the new law has been in place since 1929.
The Local Courts Bill, to be introduced next week reads: "Any person who vitiates the atmosphere in any place so as to make it noxious to the public to the health of persons in general dwelling or carrying on business in the neighbourhood or passing along a public way shall be guilty of a misdemeanour." Mr. Chaponda, a trained lawyer, insists that this includes farting. When asked whether it could be enforced, he said it would be similar to laws banning urinating in public. What if it’s a deadly silent one in a group of people and no one takes responsibility or owns up for fear of punishment? Like naughty school children will they all be punished until the culprit comes clean?
The next step of course is to ban the sale and eating of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, peas, artichokes, in fact anything likely to cause the slightest bit of wind.