It is becoming increasingly difficult to describe a person without insulting them. And if not them, someone else.
Offence is taken where none was even imagined, let alone intended.
We know we are not permitted to say someone is fat, or short, or grey, or hairy. They are well-structured, vertically challenged, dusky blonde or folicularly endowed. No one is disabled any more; they are differently configured.
Even if they have no limbs, they are merely appendage-challenged. If someone has the IQ of a peanut, they have been mentally short-changed. I have probably just raised the ire of the Friends of the Peanuts.
Personally, I think we do ourselves a grave injustice by being so PC that no amount of description can give an accurate account of who someone is or what difficulties they face.
This sycophantic politeness also has practical drawbacks in everyday life.
Imagine the conversations one has with the police who are trying to catch a criminal and would like the public's assistance.
"We are looking for a short (can't say that), black (definitely can't say that) Congolese (can't say that) man (should we be allowed to say that?)."
If it is racist to describe the culprit (or, for that matter, the victim) as black, white or pink, then it surely is sexist to say he was a man, although in most cases this can be ta?ken as a given. Oops, I did it again. (This kind of personal opinion, or prejudice, depending on which side of the very fine line you're on, is simply not acceptable in this democratic paradise we live in.)
Why is the headline "Shop owner robbed by two women" okay? Imagine if it said "Shop robbed by two coloureds". Hello 1985.
And soon it will be ageist to say the assai?lant was young, middle-aged or old. In fact it already is. I recently mentioned that the main character in a story I was writing was "elderly".
Suffice it to say, the 76-year-old subject was rather youthful in her telephonic abuse of me after she read the piece.
The only people who seem to be happy with their labels are gay people. And with the law finally turning their way, they're getting happier all the time, except for those who are busy getting divorced, that is.
Gay people not only don't want to be called differently oriented. They want people to know that, if they would only try it, gay is better.
I recently witnessed a march where hundreds of gay people running around in fishnet stockings (and some in kortbroeke and veldskoene) were proudly brandishing placards that read "I was a teenage heterosexual" and "Bent is best".
They clearly didn't care about being equal - they thought they were better than the boring old heteros.
Despite this, unless you are writing for Die Son, you cannot say the word "gay" in an article.
The upshot of all the PCness is that one day soon, I predict that at the end of a crime report on a gruesome mass murder, it will say that police are looking for a person of no particular race, religion, height, size or gender. Anyone who can help track down such a person should contact Inspector so-and-so.
Heaven forbid anyone should be offended.