Officials at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (search) in North Adams, Mass., have denied two student groups' request to roast a pig on campus because it might offend vegetarians, reports the Berkshire Eagle.

The college's Political Science Club and History Society wanted to have the barbecue in the school's quadrangle. They even planned to offer veggie burgers and other non-meat options at the May 14 event to give vegetarians alternatives to the roast pig.

But school officials said nyet.

Clark H. Billings, a political science professor who advises the two clubs, said officials first said the event would offend vegetarians but later changed their story to cite "health and safety" concerns. "This is clearly political correctness run amok again on this campus," Billings said.

Movie Slights

Agence France-Presse reports that the director of X-Men 2 is under fire for having the nerve to portray a Muslim as a bad guy in the movie.

Project Islamic HOPE, a Los Angeles-based Muslim civil rights group, accused X-Men director Bryan Singer, who they point out is Jewish, of anti-Islamic propagandizing for showing the film's villain wearing a ring with "Allah," the Arabic name for God, inscribed on it.

"It's a major slap in the face to Muslims worldwide that this portrayal be made when the X-Men in the comics and movies have always fought against prejudice in society," said the group's director Najee Ali. "It was done intentionally," he insisted.

Those Wacky Berkeley Kids

The kids at the University of California (search) at Berkeley are at it again, this time directing their ire toward the Daily Californian, the student paper there, for a couple of misdeeds.

First, the Californian reports that a group of black students crammed its offices complaining that it had the nerve to publish a picture of a black football player accused of fracturing a student's skull with a bottle. The students said that by running the picture, the paper was perpetuating a negative, stereotypical image of African-Americans.

"Very easily something as simple as a picture gets translated in public mind as a mug shot because of the historic criminalization of African-American males," said UC Berkeley alumnus David Philoxene, a reader for an African-American studies class.

The students want a front-page apology and a mug shot of the reporter on the front page as penance. They did not say whether the alleged crime itself might contribute to the perpetuation of negative, stereotypical images of African-Americans.

Another group of students was irked by an editorial cartoon of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. They complained that the image was a "racist, anti-Asian caricature ... drawn with slanted, virtually non-existent eyes, jutting teeth, and an upturned, pig-like nose -- a mimicry of the bigoted xenophobic anti-Japanese cartoons of World War II."

In an editor's note about the issues, Editor in Chief Rong-Gong Lin II made no apologies for either of the transgressions.

Minutepersons

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst has hired a firm to replace its 30-year-old Minuteman mascot because the gun-toting patriot is too male for some tastes and too violent for others, reports the Republican.

A design team hired by the school for $10,000 is looking at wolf mascots, both cuddly and fierce, to replace the politically incorrect Minuteman.

UMass Athletic Director Ian J. McCaw said the company, following focus group sessions, "expressed some concern with the single-gender ethnicity of the Minuteman, and the fact he's carrying a firearm."

Fat Cows

Two fiberglass cows dressed in traditional Mexican garb were removed from their spot in front of the San Antonio airport following complaints from former Mayor Henry Cisneros that they were disrespectful, reports the San Antonio Express News.

The so-called "art cows," titled "Vaca Folklorico," feature erect bovines dressed in Mexican clothing.

Airport authorities insist Cisneros had nothing to do with their early retirement, but in a letter to the paper Cisneros expressed his distaste for the sculptures. "The focus on regional Mexican traditional clothing is hurtful to those who respect those traditions," he wrote.

Plane Crazy

A group of parents and teachers at a high school in California are attempting to thwart the return of an A-4 Skyhawk Marine jet to its spot at the front of the school because it glorifies violence and might make students from war-torn countries feel uncomfortable, reports the Sacramento Bee.

Encinal High School in Alameda, Calif. -- the former home of the Alameda Naval Air Station -- has hosted the jet for years. Officials sent it off for a new paint job several months ago, but now some people don't want it back.

"I would see it as sort of a leftover from a previous era," said computer teacher Carlos Zialcita. "The parents of our Vietnamese and Cambodian and Afghan kids especially ... have been affected by the tragedies of war, and I think we shouldn't say that that's insignificant or somehow not important."

The school's athletic teams are the Jets, its newspaper is the Jet Blast and its mascot is a smiling cartoon plane.

Reviled Re-Enactment

Organizers of a Virginia anti-tax protest, intended to be a re-enactment of the Boston Tea Party, ditched plans for a best-Indian-costume contest after Native American groups complained that it would be racist and demeaning, reports the Winchester Star.

The Virginia Club for Growth (search) sent out invitations for the event advertising the contest, but quickly cancelled it after the complaints.

Karenne Wood, a Monacan tribal council member, wrote to the organizers, saying the contest would be "insensitive, racist, and demeaning."

Mother Lode (Pt. 2)

Anyone interested in the subject of over-the-top political correctness who hasn't read Diane Ravitch's new book, The Language Police, should if he or she harbors any doubts about the pervasiveness of this nefarious trend.

Ravitch, an NYU professor and former member of the National Assessment Governing Board, which was charged with devising national standards for school testing, chronicles an array of absurd censorship and over-sensitizing of textbooks and standardized tests.

An earlier item here cited an excerpt from the book in the Atlantic Monthly some time back, but the full text cites many more examples. They are as numerous as they are spine-tingling.

Among them:

An inspirational story of a blind man who climbed Mt. Everest was rejected by a bias review committee because it implies that blind people have a disability and are somehow limited by that disability.

A story from an anthology edited by William Bennett was rejected simply because the politics of the editor might distress fourth-graders.

A biography of the man who designed Mt. Rushmore was rejected because mention of the monument in the Black Hills of South Dakota might offend Native Americans.

An essay about the plethora of life in a rotting stump in a forest was rejected because it compared the stump to an apartment building and that might make people who live in apartments or public housing feel bad.

A story about a dolphin that guides ships through a treacherous channel was rejected because it shows bias toward people who live by the sea. Those who don't live by the sea might be at a disadvantage, you see.

A passage about owls was rejected because owls are considered taboo by Navajos. A publisher decreed that owls should disappear from all texts and tests, so American schoolkids are now unlikely to ever read about them.

And that's just the first chapter.

Can't wait until next Monday for more snippets of politically correct nonsense? Head over to the daily edition of Tongue Tied at the Tongue Tied Web site.

Mailbag:

Rebekah B. in Boston writes:

I find it amusing that an all-women's college should decide to replace female pronouns with gender-neutral pronouns. This is an institution that has room for "all kinds of women," and it's only natural that everyone at Smith College should anticipate that a transgender who is or is becoming a woman would naturally be offended by all female pronouns. They're much more comfortable being called "it," I suppose!

Steve F. in Upper Darby, Pa., writes:

It must be a very good feeling for the citizens of Lansing to know that diversity programs are more important in the minds of their public officials than their safety. $20,000 for a speech? This has gone too far.

Jon K. in Williamsville, N.Y., writes:

I really wish you had done a better job reporting the bit about the backup quarterback at Miami's wondering if race was a factor in his not winning the starting job. The quarterback, Derrick Crudup, did not simply retract his statement a week later as you implied, he met with his coaches, had a reasonable adult discussion with them, and then, and only then, agreed that race was in no way responsible for the decision of who was to be the starting quarterback. The man felt there was a problem, addressed the problem, and came to a solution agreeable for the parties involved. Why are you criticizing that?

Prashanth C. writes:

Indians asking for the removal of flip-flops bearing the image of the Hindu god Ganesh isn't some form of PC run amok. In Hindu culture, it is considered sacrilegious to step on, or to touch with your feet anything of religious significance, and it's not something that most Hindus would take lightly.

I normally have a distaste for PC in all its forms because I believe the world shouldn't have to be sanitized for our protection; but in this case I think there is a distinct difference between being non-PC and being truly offensive. After all, how would Christians feel if Hindus started wearing Virgin Mary panties or Jesus Underoos?

Vicki C. in Santa Cruz, Calif., writes:

A cartoon image of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, can exist as parody on a popular T-shirt emblazoned with the words, "Jesus is my Homeboy," but this is less offensive than one of the 53 million Hindu gods' images appearing on some sandals or sneakers? I am so sick of this idea that it's OK to bash Christians, but never ever do anything to offend a Muslim or Hindu.

Eron W. writes:

Maybe it's that my way of thinking has become outmoded or perhaps I am out of step with the times, but I simply must ask this question: When, exactly, did a piece of clothing with the picture of a statue of a soldier holding a rifle become inconsistent with "providing a safe learning environment for all?" By the time we get to the actual offending item (the T-shirt), we are four generations removed from the actual gun itself!

By this same logic then, if I were to talk to a friend about my wife's family history that refers to a photocopy of an 1800s census record which contained the word "slave" in it, then I should be considered a "racist."

We, as a nation, need to get a collective grip.

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