4 February 2004
And Mr Clean is sexist
Increasingly, intent is completely irrelevant. All that matters is that someone felt offended. There doesn't even have to be specific use of offending words; even similar sounding words can lead to trouble. An example was the use of the word "niggardly" in the District of Columbia, which forced a mayoral aide to resign.
And, of course, no teacher dares assign Joseph Conrad's The Person of Color of the Narcissus these days.
Curious to see the extent of this sort of thing, Scheie went looking for a household product that is seldom seen these days: Spic and Span, which was spun off by Procter & Gamble in 2001 but which is still being manufactured.
Thus motivated, I investigated, and verified that the original surname of Manny, Moe and Jack, the Pep Boys, was not, as I had imagined, Pepstein.