can someone point me to the list instructions please ...

David Woodhouse dwmw2 at
Sat Aug 31 19:33:54 EDT 2013

On Sat, 2013-08-31 at 23:26 +0100, Rob Dixon wrote:
> On 31/08/2013 22:09, David Woodhouse wrote:
> > On Sat, 2013-08-31 at 20:46 +0100, Rob Dixon wrote:
> >
> >> I'm sorry David, but I find this very offensive.
> >
> > Before we continue, I would ask you to watch this video:
> >
> >
> > Watch it from 3:20 to 5:45. Before reading any further, please.
> I would much rather you explained to me directly what you wanted to say
> by linking this clip. I know Steve Hughes is a stand-up comedian; if you
> are having trouble explaining yourself then perhaps it would be better
> to cite a more authoritative source.

I have no trouble explaining myself, thank you. But Steve Hughes has
done such a good job of it that it seems redundant to reinvent the

I appreciate that video (well, audio in particular) is a pain in the
arse a lot of the time. But the written version is far too bland, and
loses much of its effect. Here it is anyway:

> > You seem to think that I was impugning Mable Syrup's intelligence when I
> > said it was simple. You're wrong; I wasn't.
> I don't think you mean "impugning". It doesn't make sense in that context.

You made me go and look it up now... the dictionaries say that it means
'to call into question', or 'cast doubt upon'. Which is fairly much how
I intended it. Why does that not make sense? I'll try again:

"You seem to think that I was calling Mable Syrup's intelligence into
question when I said it was simple. You're wrong. I wasn't."

Is that clearer for you now?

> But really? You think you can say without any implication that a thing
> someone doesn't understand is "simple"?

Yes. I know for *certain* that I said it without that implication.

You've made that *inference*, and wrongly so.

There are *lots* of "simple" things that I don't understand. There's no
shame in that. Especially when it comes to things which are actually
quite simple underneath, but which appear complex at first glance
because there is a lot of misinformation or gratuitous complexity
surrounding them, as I is the case here.

It is *completely* inappropriate for an adult to take offence just
because something they don't understand is referred to as 'simple'.

It is *doubly* inappropriate for you to take it upon yourself to claim
offence on behalf of a third party, just in *case* they suffer that kind
of childish attitude.

That behaviour has no place on this list. This is not a kindergarten;
this is a technical mailing list.

> This is the get_iplayer list. It is appropriate here to be as bland as
> possible, 

No. That is never something I have set out as a requirement or even
*desirable* on any of the mailing lists I provide.

The purpose of this list, as I stated, is to be *helpful*. Or failing
that, to amuse and enlighten. It is absolutely *not* to be 'bland'.

Since you are so keen that I put it into my own words...

I *abhor* the culture of political correctness and which increasingly
blights our society. We live in a New Salem, where accusations of
witchcraft have been replaced with cries of "I am offended!" — and like
in the original Salem there is no viable defence. By attempting to
explain the accuser's mistakes you only make things worse. So like an
accused witch, they get you either way. You either drown or burn; there
is no escape.

This desire for "blandness", in case some muppet misinterprets something
and wrongly takes offence, is a direct result of that. And it is one
which I wholeheartedly reject. It is *counterproductive* — pandering to
it just encourages people to think they were right to claim "offence" in
the first place, and thus makes the *real* problem worse.

I would like to make sure that you are in no doubt that your behaviour
was inappropriate. I've already explained technically why your inference
was wrong, and now I hope I have sufficiently explained why your
response was inappropriate and unacceptable even if you'd been right and
I *had* caused Mable Syrup to go crying to his/her mummy. Which I'm
fairly sure I didn't.

Please do *not* do it again.

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