Shit for BrainsPosted: Fri 20 August, 2010
I love the story on the BBC this week about a council who’ve used the word “shit” in their adverts about dog-fouling. (even though it’s starred out to “S**T”) Supposedly a number of people have complained about the word “S**T” appearing in print. Which strikes me as pretty Mary Whitehouse at the best of times.
Way back when I was working with the council in Oldham, this was something that we discussed heavily. One of my projects there was working on a lexicon of expressions that people actually used, and then translating them into council-ese. For example “roadworks” becomes “Highways maintenance”, “bins” becomes “refuse collection” and the like. I always said – and could prove with the search logs (pardon the pun) – that “dog shit” was the most common search-term when people were looking for information about dog-fouling, reporting issues with dog-shit etc. But the powers-that-be in the council at the time were very sure – despite all the evidence to the contrary – that having “shit” in the lexicon was A Bad Thing, and would lead to Bad Press – another Very Bad Thing. Considering that most people at the time used the word “Shit” as pretty much synonymous with that council in general anyway, I always figured they were on a hiding to nothing on that one.
Personally I could never figure out why people thought – and obviously still do think – that councils can’t use words like shit, when they’re the ones that most (if not all) of their constituents/inhabitants use.
*sigh* People are strange.