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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dumb and Dumberer

Yesterday I was recording something about Steely Dan for a Radio Four programme. Talking about the hook line of one of their tunes I described it, affectionately, as having "the dumbest" rhyme. The producer stopped the recording. Could I think of a word other than "dumbest"? They didn't much care for that at the BBC. It was "a compliance issue", apparently. Oh.

12 comments:

trail of bread said...

Donald and Walter would love that, I am sure. Maybe get a song out of it.

BLTP said...

Some songs are "dumb" in a good way "louie Louie" is joyfully dumb it's much more unpoetic to say "knowingly purposeful deleberately stupid" rhyme.

Archie Valparaiso said...

I don't understand the objection. Is "dumb" supposed to be offensive to the vocally different, or what?

David Hepworth said...

Yes. I think it was an objection to using a disability as a pejorative term.

smfifteen said...

...from a company that claims to be leading the charge against 'dumbing down', the word 'dumb' itself finds itself ring-fenced and placed on a shelf, for special occasions only. I wonder if there's and OED up there too, gathering dust...

Matthew Joy said...

Which song professor?

BLTP said...

do you know what i hadn't even thought of it in respect to people with vocal disabilities etc in this context.

Mr Murph said...

That's what comes of blindly following rules.

Terence said...

I'm deaf to your view.

Archie Valparaiso said...

Hear hear!

Andrew said...

I suppose the Beeb's objection, along with it being a pejorative reference to a disability, is that's it's very much an American term that has only crept into popular usage on this side of the world in the past few years.

What word did you substitute it with?

Lucas Hare said...

I was watching Fawlty Towers the other day - the one with the dead body - and was reminded of my irritation at the deletion of the line "Is it your legs?" when Basil is suggesting that his moribund guest could actually get up for breakfast. I've no idea why the BBC have removed this line from their official "complete" DVD boxed set of the series, but I can only put it down to the same pointless political correctness.