— Go straight to page navigation

04. August 2008


From the wikipedia entry on Baa, Baa, Black Sheep:

In more recent politically correct times, the nursery rhyme has come under criticism for having racially discriminatory undertones. [...] More recently, in 2006, a nursey school in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England have contrived a version which contains the phrase "rainbow sheep". They claim this was for "educational reasons" and not for any reasons concerning race discrimination.

The subtle use of the word contrived in the quote is simply delightful. For those of you not entirely familiar with the word, here are two entries from my dictionary.

Contrived : "Deliberately created rather than arising naturally or spontaneously." : "Manage to do something foolish or create an undesirable situation."

The whole "racially discriminatory" thing is farcical of course, as the rhyme may date back as far as the middle ages. Effectively predating modern racial hate by a good couple of hundred years. Additionally, in it's older-ending form the rhyme criticized social imbalance:

Two for the master,
one for the dame,
but none for the little boy
who lives down the lane.

I've long since stopped expecting people to stop and think about their actions (I certainly know how frequently I fail at this). But wikipedia user, who so beutifully selected contrived in that excerpt; I salute you!

Published: 04. August 2008. Tagged: , .