Angela Innes (Letters, 8 August) asks how she can prevent people using the phrase “Bongo Bongo Land” without being accused of totalitarianism or “political correctness gone mad”. She can’t, because it is.
She refers to “older people” using unacceptable words. There is no such thing as an unacceptable word. They are all just, and only, words.
The idea that you can prevent someone using a word because it offends you (or a minority or majority group) is preposterous.
An individual or a society can’t tame their demons by banishing words used to describe them –sweeping them under the carpet – only by facing them, and if you censor what a person can say you inevitably censor their thinking – which is what political correctness is all about, of course.
The right to offend is intrinsic to the idea of freedom of speech, and is infinitely more precious than a make-believe right not to be offended.
Being offended is what teaches us our ability to confront. No offence – no confrontation: and a conformist, complacent society unable to stand up for itself in the face of aggression or political manipulation.
Thank you, Ms Innes – just what the politicians and the establishment want of you. I shall continue to use the words that I want, whenever I want and to whom I want, and anyone who doesn’t like them is free to challenge me – and probably get a mouthful.
Oops! That’s probably not a phrase we’re supposed to use any more, either.