Warning: This post was published more than 11 years ago.
I keep old posts on the site because sometimes it's interesting to read old content. Not everything that is old is bad. Also, I think people might be interested to track how my views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured!
But given the age of this post, please bear in mind:
- My views might have changed in the 11 years since I wrote this post.
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Many thanks for your understanding.
From the Times:
Potato farmers held a noisy protest outside Parliament today to get the term “couch potato” removed from the Oxford English dictionary, claiming it harms the vegetable’s image.
A similar rally took place outside the offices of the dictionary’s publishers in Oxford, with demonstrators carrying signs that read “couch potato out” and “ban the term couch potato”.
The British Potato Council wants the expression stripped from the Oxford English Dictionary and replaced in everyday speech with the term “couch slouch”. It says the phrase makes the vegetable seem unhealthy and is bad for its image.
That seems foolish. What seems more foolish, however, is that Nigel Evans MP has spent in the region of £1000 of taxpayers’ money tabling an EDM on the subject. Normally I wouldn’t object to that, especially given that there have been such protests – it is important that these people’s feelings are recognised. But when the OED has already told the protesters that words are not taken out of the OED, since their usage has contributed to ‘the patchwork of the English language’.
So either Mr Evans has wasted your money by expressing support for a futile campaign, or else he wants to change the nature and function of one of Britain’s most respected institutions, the OED. Which is it?