Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Mistress Mary is contrary. And proud of it.

Quite contrary, in fact. I'm all for politeness and sparing people's feelings up to a point, but I draw the line at fiddling with centuries-old nursery rhymes in the name of political correctness. An article in yesterday's Times of London reported that nursery schools in several areas of Britain are changing the likes of Baa-Baa Black Sheep and Humpty Dumpty to comply with the "equal opportunities approach."


Did I ever in my wildest, most 1950's segregated Southern-girl upbringing relate the black sheep in the nursery rhyme to actual black people? Nooooo. It was about a black sheep. I thought. Actually, it turns out to have something to do with 18th century wool taxes, but black folks? Uhn-uh.

And that Humpty Dumpty ended up a broken shell of an egg never haunted my nightmares. He was an egg, for goodness' sake! I was two years old. I got it. I find it hard to believe that little Oxfordians or Birminghamites are in therapy because of old Humpty. Reality TV or pop music, maybe. But not the HD.

I'm not a dwarf so I don't know how I'd feel about the Snow White thing if I were, but the fact that the sweet young thing has set up housekeeping for seven miners of any height/color/religion is the interesting part of the tale. That, and a stepmother who can turn herself into a real, live witch and hand out poison apples. Why, if I were a stepmother (whoops, I am!) who could turn herself into a witch (whoops, I know that's happened before) and hand out poison apples (whew! innocent of that one), I'd be totally offended!

I may not be a black sheep or an egg or a dwarf, but I am a Mary. Since several nursery rhymes star a Mary of one stripe or another, let me take a stand here and now. I am contrary - proud of it. Touch my nursery rhymes, and I'm comin' after ya'. I'm contrary that way.


petercmoore said...

Yeah - let's ban politically incorrect nursery rhymes.

I vote we start with "Wee Willie Winkie".

Because, erm... it demeans those of us with, ahem, ah.

Hey. Let's just live and let live shall we?

MaryB said...

Yeah, don't get us started PT. So what was up with Little Boy Blue and Bo-Peep? And that sadistic, knife-wielding farmer's wife cutting off the tails of poor blind mice? And you're right - poor Wee Willie.

Chris said...

But rainbow sheep???? The kids may not be offended but they sure will be confused.

Joy Des Jardins said...

You know, if you stick around long'll hear EVERYTHING. And just when you think you've heard EVERYTHING...BOOM! What's wrong with these people? You can't just go and change part of our childhood culture and mold it into what you may think is politically correct for the times. Stop over-thinking so much people....STOP, STOP!

Anonymous said...

Say it ain't so! The damn PC crowd is ruining our culture. We live in Orwellian times. Books, history, even innocent and harmless nursery rhymes are being rewritten to reflect the sick, twisted, psychotic personalities that happen to be in charge or have the loudest, most influential voices.

MaryB said...

So I think we're all agreed. This is one of the all-time stupidest ideas ever. Rainbow sheep, indeed.

Marie said...

The dumbing down of society marches on unabated. God forbid that we should think, feel or be anything other than bland.