Don't insult our animal friends. 

Rosie Right

Rosie has always thought that a lot of what many people derided as "political correctness" was, in truth, good manners. Describing someone in a way that is not offensive to them seems polite and apt to encourage friendly discourse.

But it is a matter for bemusement to read on the Copy Editors online discussion group that in the Sept. 10 San Francisco Chronicle it was reported: "The Commission of Animal Control and Welfare voted 5-1 to ask the city attorney's office to draft language that would add pet guardian wherever pet owner is mentioned in city ordinances. ... Supporters of the change argue that guardian is a term that is more sensitive to animals."

Rosie would be among the first to argue for kindness and good care for animals. There are too many examples of thoughtlessness, neglect of or outright cruelty to animals. But this silly prescription to use the term guardian strikes her as a bit much.

Another posting on the copy editors newsline pinponts the ridiculousness of this political correctness even more. A correspondent jokes: "... if the story takes place in San Francisco, make sure that the people in whose homes the cats reside are referred to as guardians, not pet owners. ... And you can't use pet, either, since that would imply that humans are superior. The safest term would be other-species life partner."

Thanks to Don Dale, Style's TV critic, for forwarding the online discussion about our animal friends (?) to Rosie.

Pet Peeve: From a reader comes a complaint that he is tired of hearing TV and radio announcers speak of the capital of Dili. Dili is, in fact, a city and is the capital of East Timor.

Damning with Faint Praise:

Headline from a Times-Dispatch film review: "Film Not Totally Brainless"

Uh-Oh: An eagle-eyed reader has let us know we made a silly error in our Oct. 12 story about the opera "Otello." When we quoted Virginia Opera's artistic director Peter Mark we printed: "You are put through a ringer in a sense." No real excuse, but this must have been a spellchecker error, but also Rosie is reminded that more than half of the people on this planet are under 25 years of age. Who among our writers remembers using a clothes wringer?

Let Rosie hear from you by telephone (358-0825), fax (355-9089), letter 1118 W. Main St., Richmond, Va. 23220) or e-mail (rright@richmond.infi.net)

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