Authors advised: Avoid the ‘P’ word

Authors advised: Avoid the ‘P’ word

The words ‘pig’ and ‘pork’ and even ‘sausages’ are to be avoided if one is writing schoolbooks for the Oxford University Press as they might offend Jews or Muslims.

The ban came to light on Monday – according to this report – on Radio 4’s Today programme during a discussion about free speech.

Presenter Jim Naughtie, whose writer wife Eleanor Updale is in talks with Oxford University Press over an educational book series, said:

I’ve got a letter here that was sent out by OUP 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 sausages, or 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.

The OUP says its guidelines exist because it needs to make its educational material available to as many people as possible.

A spokesman said:

Many of the educational materials we publish in the UK are sold in more than 150 countries, and as such they need to consider a range of cultural differences and sensitivities.

Our editorial guidelines are intended to help ensure that the resources that we produce can be disseminated to the widest possible audience.

The London Evening Standard quoted Muslim Labour MP Khalid Mahmood as saying:

That’s ludicrous. That’s absolute, utter nonsense and when people go too far that actually brings the whole discussion into disrepute.

Jewish leaders said their religion prohibits pork being eaten – not the mention of the word.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

23 responses to “Authors advised: Avoid the ‘P’ word”

  1. AgentCormac says:

    This is insane. Just like removing Israel from a map of the Middle East, or airbrushing women politicians out of a photograph (both of which have been the subject of articles here in recent days), not mentioning pigs or pork-related products in a book does not mean they cease to exist. If someone wants to avoid eating pigs that’s there choice – but FFS don’t take offence at their existence. Or worse still, as a publisher be stupid enough to find perceived offence where none exists. Complete madness.

  2. barriejohn says:

    No more Peppa Pig? I foresee tears at bedtime!

  3. Cali Ron says:

    But I love pigs and all the wonderful pork products. What utter rubbish!

  4. Har Davids says:

    So, to avoid tantrums from feeble-minded Jews and Muslims we’ll pretend pigs don’t exist, ignoring those who can live with it, as long it’s not on their plate.

    If I were either, I would feel both insulted and humiliated.

  5. Daz says:

    To be fair, Animal Farm would’ve turned out much happier if it weren’t for those power-hungry pigs. Not sure where it would leave Charlotte’s Web though.

  6. andym says:

    Children’s books today, using the argument that it’s only a way a maximising distribution. Scientific literature tomorrow, then any fiction which involves its characters consuming alcohol. After a show of defiance last week, this week is about watching people slither down that slippery slope called “appeasement.”

  7. Peterat says:

    As Loony Tunes character Porky Pig said; “That’s all folks!”

  8. jay says:

    But Porky has no pants!!

    More absurdities

    (Though this list was somewhat modified after public outcry)

  9. Barry Duke says:

    This made me chuckle:

  10. zombiehunter says:

    The only “P” we should be avoiding is political correctness shite

  11. andym says:

    Only slightly OT, you may enjoy this. I thought that the people now talking about the need for restraint would come crawling out of the woodwork and not so directly contradicting themselves.
    See “Registered Saddler”‘s view at the end of page one. Then pick him up again towards the end of page three. I’m on there. I won’t say who ,but I think you might suss me.Have a look.I fear his reaction may be more typical than we hope.

  12. Cali Ron says:

    Barry Duke-
    I tried the link multiple times, but no go. And I was looking forward to a chuckle after reading that ridiculous list from NYC DOE. Why bother to even educate kids if we’re going to sanitize all references to real life situations? PC gone mad!

    We should ban NYC DOE, not words.

  13. AgentCormac says:

    Completely OT, but it seems that Potty Hutton’s latest pile of religious claptrap reveals that he has in fact been scrounging off the state (that’s you, me and everyone else) for years in order to avoid honest work and fund his unsolicited proselytising. I don’t know about you, but I want my money back! All of it.

    Thanks to Dave on Daz’s excellent ‘Hutton Delusion’ blog for highlighting the thieving bastard’s sponging lifestyle.

  14. Laura Roberts says:

    Cool, that gives me guidelines for future publications — I’ll try to build acronyms like PIG and PORK into my papers. Not that anyone will notice, but it will be a fun diversion.

  15. There is apparently a very good pork butcher in Luxor. Local moslems don’t shop there, but equally they don’t have any issues with it existing. They recognise that local Christians and foreigners actually like to eat a well prepared bit of pig. Funny how a society usually percieved as being intolerant has fewer problems with the porcine than OUP.

  16. Robster says:

    I’ve read that both the jewish and muslim old books of nonsense say nasty things about our porcine friends and I think I know why: It’s their intelligence. Pigs are intelligent animals, they’re social, sentient and are individual. The followers of the ancient Middle Eastern belief systems are concerned that the pigs are more intelligent than they are. Their silly behaviour and rituals prove this day after day. Pigs are fab, leave them alone.

  17. Dioniogi says:

    Being a lifelong vegetarian I find it abhorant that you should mention any animal whatsoever. whilst we are on the subject it is also taboo to eat humans so we should leave them out of all books also. Carrots or anything long is much too phallic and any thing round may raise thoughts of mammaries. Perhaps we should ban books altogether and not educate our children in anything but religious fairy stories. Oh I forgot there are pigs mentioned in the bible.

  18. Laura Roberts says:

    Robster: I did read a book years ago that made a case that religious proscriptions against eating pork, or traditions venerating cows, may have originated as basic health mandates. IIRC eating pork could give you any manner of diseases depending on how it was prepared, while cows were so valuable (milk, baby cows, manure for crops/fuel) that they became venerated. I’m sure I’ve missed a lot of nuances, but that was the book’s basic argument.

  19. Barry Duke says:

    AgentCormac, you can see here why Bob the Nob’s unemployable.

  20. barriejohn says:

    I assume that Hutton is supported by “the freewill offerings of the Lord’s people”, like a lot of other evangelicals who are scared of hard work, but he’s such a hopeless communicator that it’s often difficult to see what he is really trying to say. I suppose that his followers (all seven of them) would claim, as the Mohammedans do, that the fact that “God” has chosen to use an illiterate to convey his message is a sign of the miraculous!

  21. barriejohn says:

    Laura Roberts: Amazing claims have been made for the health benefits of Biblical rituals, etc, but others have called them simplistic and ridiculous nonsense.

  22. Robster says:

    Thanks for the response Laura. I lived in Papua New Guinea for a while and did suffer a couple of health issues from eating undercooked pork.The ancients probably didn’t have stainless steel ovens but it has been pretty common knowledge since that cooking the stuff properly fixes the problem. I know these middle eastern religiots still believe they’re living in the dark ages, perhaps they could consider microwave ovens if they live in places advanced enough to have reliable power supplies and get impatient waiting for their pork to cook.