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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Is this an example of carrying political correctness too far?

I just happened to be reading the October 2 issue of the Hindu's Literary Review yesterday. The cover story is dedicated to the newspaper's literary prize for the best fiction of the year and, in addition to the shortlist of seven novels, the front page provides a summary of the methodology of selection and the judges' opinions of the submissions for the prize.

Here is the sentence that had me gagging:

Each judge also had his or her own criteria of selection — wit and wisdom of craftspersonship, spontaneity, novelty, irony, poignancy, elegance, relevance etc — so that the final shortlist contains a variety of highly accomplished but dissimilar books.

For one thing, "etc." should be treated like a non-essential clause and so there should be a comma after "relevance". Second, when a writer (this short piece does not have a byline) uses "etc." in this fashion, it points to a lack of imagination.

But that is not what had me gagging.

It was the use of the word "craftspersonship".

Craftspersonship? Since when has "craftsmanship" been deemed derogatory to women? Aren't we carrying political correctness too far?