Maybe it’s just me . . . and all other normal people. But I’m more worried about policemen who abuse authority than those too “culturally insensitive” in their cheerful greetings.
Yes, that’s the latest crisis: Bobbies who say “Good evenin’ all” as they walk the beat.
Or so says a police manual published in the English county of Warwickshire. The manual claims that this greeting is culturally confusing. Even if the beloved Dixon of Dixon of Dock Green, Britain’s long-running answer to The Andy Griffith Show, always opened with just those genial words.
A police spokesman explains that “‘afternoon’ and ‘evening’ are somewhat subjective in meaning. . . . In many cultures the term evening is linked to time of day when people have their main meal of the day.”
Someone’s gotta respond to this kind of concocted quandary, and a woman named Marie Clair of a group called the Plain English Campaign has taken on the chore. She asks: “Is anyone really going to be confused by [the word] ‘evening’? And if you can’t say what a lovely afternoon it is, what are you meant to say — what a lovely 3 PM?”
Other British agencies are targeting harmless words like “child” and “youngster.”
So, crime may be raging in the sceptered isle, but at least the bureaucratic monitors of politesse are bravely battling “insensitive” clarity and good will.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.