Microsoft Office swastikas and master/slave politically correct nonsense

A couple of bits of Politically Correct nonsense to have made me wince of late…

ZDNet report that Microsoft are issuing a tool to remove swastika symbols from a font embedded in its latest version of Office. MS’s font ‘Bookshelf Symbol 7’ was derived from a Japanese character set, and contains two swastika symbols. An MS spokesperson commented, "There was no indication of malicious intent."!!! ZDNet are enlightened enough to comment on the long sacred history of swastikas, notably as a Buddhist symbol in China and Japan. Here’s what they don’t comment on:

Office 2000 logo
  1. The symbol for Microsoft Office 2000—the Windows colours locked in a jigsaw fashion—had a noticeable swastika in its centre, though the new Office 2003 logo now is more ambiguous. PC nonsense is one thing; inconsistent PC nonsense is just crying out to be laughed away.
  2. Malicious intent?! Really, I won’t be able to sleep well tonight if I even suspect that neo-Nazis have infiltrated Redmond’s typography department, and even as I type are brutally, without mercy, inserting symbols that people find offensive into font packages. I mean, fire the lot of them! We can never be sure!
  3. What happens when some poor secretary at the Jewish Defence League is compiling a report on neo-Nazi activity, and needs to include a swastika symbol?
  4. Let alone the secretary at a Buddhist retreat in Japan…
  5. What about that lit bomb symbol in WingDings? Who wants to blow me up? There’s a skull-and-cross-bones in there for Christ’s sake! Microsoft say they’re trying to combat software piracy, but this is surely a major flaw in their strategy.

In related bullshit, Los Angeles County have raised concern about the use of the terms ‘master’ and ‘slave’ in IT products. Any home PC tinkerer will be familiar with the terms, used to indicate control relationships between two devices and processes. Well, apparently some people feel the terms "are antiquated and may be needlessly offensive".

[Dennis Tafoya, director of the Office of Affirmative Action Compliance] instructed employees in Los Angeles County to cover the terms with tape and to re-label devices as ‘primary’ and ‘secondary.’

The county also sent letters to 1,000 vendors concerning the issue. The county asked the vendors to remove product labels that could be considered offensive.

"We are not into changing industry standards, but we do have a responsibility to look at terms that may have upset someone," Tafoya said.

I can accept the idea that in stuff made from now on, maybe something like ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ would be both technically accurate and placate those insatiable, unhinged PC-heads. But… covering the terms with tape? Are they trying to be metaphorical about America’s attempts to deal with its dark past? They really think black people in Los Angeles will be spared being reminded of their subjected history if they don’t see the word "slave" printed—in a quite accurate descriptive capacity—on a network cable? They don’t think their subjected present will suffice?

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