In the past this sort of story has turned out to be much exaggerated. This one is in writing and is true. Oh dear!
From the BBC, via the Telegraph,
The Oxford University Press has warned its writers not to mention pigs, sausages or pork-related words in children’s books, in an apparent bid to avoid offending Jews and Muslims. The existence of the publisher’s guidelines emerged after a radio discussion on free speech in the wake of the Paris attacks.
Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, presenter Jim Naughtie 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.
“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.”
A spokesman for OUP said: “OUP’s commitment to its mission of academic and educational excellence is absolute. Our materials are sold in nearly 200 countries, and as such, and without compromising our commitment in any way, we encourage some authors of educational materials respectfully to consider cultural differences and sensitivities.”
Think of how many nursery rhymes they will have to censor!
Will people get arrested now, if they dare to chant “Barber, barber, shave a pig/ How many hairs to make a wig/ four and twenty, that’s enough/ give the barber a pinch of snuff”??
Or “To market, to market, to buy a fat pig/ Home again, home again, jiggety jig/ To market, to market, to buy a fat hog/ home again, home again, jiggety jog”?
Or ‘Curly locks, curly locks, wilt thou be mine?/ Thou shalt not wash dishes, nor yet feed the swine/ but sit upon cushions, and sew a fine seam/ and feed upon strawberries, sugar and cream”?
And I assume OUP from now on will not be publishing any recipe books that contain pre-21st century English recipes?
Nor books on agriculture that include instructions for the keeping of pigs?
I guess they don’t publish James Herriot’s books…lots of references to pigs and pig products, in *those*.
Question: will *dogs* be next on the ‘things never to mention’ list?
This is MAD.
Absolutely bl**dy MAD.
Is anybody going to protest?
Frankly, all British pork producers – from the farmers to those non-Muslim British butchers who still sell pork, and restauranteurs who still offer pork dishes – should be on the doorstep of the OUP demanding that this insane act of cultural suicide be reversed. Pronto.
Might be fun to release a herd of pigs in the street outside the publishers…
PS Is there going to be a ukase from on high, any time now, demanding that all libraries remove from their shelves all books that mention pigs at all? Because they’d have to get rid of every last ‘Asterix’ comic, given that every single one of those comics concludes with the Gaulish villagers on roast wild boar.