- For Teachers
The British Potato Council has a campaign to remove the expression couch potato from the Oxford English dictionary on the grounds that does a healthy and nutritious vegetable a disservice. They are also ignoring the fact that the term 'vegetable' is used for a person in a coma. 'Banana' comes in for real disresepect as it means 'mad' and also is used in banana republic. If they want one vegetable to have a positive image, shouldn't they extend their 'campaign' to all fruit and vegetables in the name of consistency?
It is easy to leap up and say 'it's political correctness gone mad', but there is more to this feeble attempt at censorship- it's not political correctness gone mad, it's bad business gone mad. Firstly, it's self-centred and hypocritical; if negative expressions using vegetables are offensive, then they should be complaining about the expression carrot and a stick too, which maligns another healthy vegetable.
But they aren't. They are concentrating on their business. They are also demanding that a dictionary fails to do what it is supposed to do: reflect language usage. They want the term to be replaced with 'couch slouch', a good alternative IMO. However, the job of the OED is simply to record what we say, so if 'couch slouch' takes off, then it'll record two possibilities. The OED's criteria are clear and laid out and 'couch potato' clearly warrants inclusion.
Potato sales are suffering from the Atkins 'diet', and being blamed for the part in the rising obesity problems; Bill Clinton pointed out that french fries make up nearly 50% of the vegetables eaten by children in the USA. Potatoes are, as the council say, a low fat vegetable when they aren't extruded, deep fried, given a good shake of white death (salt) then shoved under an infrared light to stay warm while waiting for someone foolish enough to eat them.
There is something particularly feeble about these people planning their protests outside the OED headquarters for 'misrepresenting' their vegetable. The 'I'm-offended-so-something-must-be-done' industry is one of the sadder offshoots of political correctness, but these people demonstrating outside the OED building for doing what a dictionary should do are particularly sad spudheads.