An ad campaign in the United Kingdom for a new Mazda car has been decried as ageist and sexist because it features an elderly woman who is unable to provide accurate directions to a man who stops to ask for help, reports the Guardian.

The two-page print ad features a grey-haired lady gesticulating wildly with her eyes closed when asked for directions. The text says, "Want directions you can trust? Turn the page." The second page promotes a navigation system that comes with the car.

Almost 70 people, among them the National Pensioners Convention, complained to the UK's ad watchdog that the ad reinforced the negative stereotype that women are incapable of providing accurate directions. Others called it "offensive and ageist, because it mocked elderly people and implied they were confused and unreliable."

The Advertising Standards Authority rejected the complaints.

Guilt by Association

The Minneapolis Police Department has stopped using a firm it hired to screen potential police applicants because of its boss's association with a group that opposes gay marriage, according the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The department had been using Michael Campion's firm since last year but immediately stopped doing so when members of the community pointed out that he belonged to the Illinois Family Institute, a nonprofit group that says it advocates for religious freedom and opposes gay marriage, gay-rights laws, abortion and stem cell research.

Campion's firm has been doing the testing for 32 years for more than 100 law enforcement agencies around the country.

The department said it could find no evidence of bias in Campion's work, but will stop using his services until a full investigation can be completed by the city's human resources department.

Down Under I

Daycare workers in Australia have been urged not to use the terms "good boy" or "good girl" when dealing with little tykes because the terms are sexist and might encourage unsuitable behavior, according to The Courier Mail.

New guidelines from the board that certifies child-care workers also instructs teachers to avoid negatives like "no" and "don't" because they might hinder a child's development. Staff are told to use alternative words like "stop" instead.

A spokesman for Tom Barton, the minister for employment and training, said positive instructions are preferred over negative condemnations.

Down Under II

Comments from Australian Prime Minister John Howard beseeching radical Muslims there to fully integrate into society by learning English and treating women with some measure of respect have infuriated community leaders who call them inflammatory and derogatory, according to the Australian.

In a radio call-in show, Howard was quoted as saying, "There is a section, a small section of the Islamic population, and I say a small section ... which is very resistant to integration. Fully integrating means accepting Australian values, it means learning as rapidly as you can the English language if you don't already speak it.

"And it means understanding that in certain areas, such as the equality of men and women ... people who come from societies where women are treated in an inferior fashion have got to learn very quickly that that is not the case in Australia," he said.

Iktimal Hage-Ali, a member of a government advisory group on Muslim integration, was among those who said such comments only fan existing conflicts even further and marginalize local Muslims. "There's no value in pointing out the minority of the Muslim group," she said.

For more doses of politically correct nuttiness, head over to the Tongue Tied Daily Edition.

Mailbag:

Josh G. writes:

The BBC's "diversity czar" has a valid point about reporters being relevant to the venues they're reporting from, as long as they are "relevant." Just because a reporter is black does not mean that he can relate to Africans, and just because he is white does not disqualify him. If the job is in Kenya and Jimmy McGuiness' parents moved to Nairobi when he was three, his white skin should not disqualify him as much as (black) Douggie Johnson's big jaunt out of Liverpool at age 25 to work in London for the BBC.

Background and experience, not skin color, is what establishes the venue-relevance they claim to want. All else being equal, skin color is as well.

Danny L. writes:

Mary Fitzpatick is hysterical. Why would a black man that has never left the country (U.S. or England) have a better cultural feel for what's going on in Africa than anyone else? That just doesn't make sense. It's opinions like this that fuel racism. She has made a decision based on racial criteria. That's racism, and it's just stupid.

Luke N. writes:

I grew up watching Tom and Jerry, Looney Tunes, Woody Woodpecker and Disney cartoons. The only characters that gladly smoked cigars or cigarettes were the obvious "bad guys" or antagonists to the hero. The only times that the "good guys" smoked was because of it being forced on them by the bad guy.

The good guys did offer other characters smokes every now and then. But when the character accepted the smoke, it always exploded. I always caught the message, "Dummy, that's what you get for doing something so obviously stupid!"

If Ofcom is worried about the actions of an obvious "bad guy" appealing to young children, then they need to eliminate the character altogether, since smoking is not the only questionable activity they engage in.

John D. writes:

Regarding the pastors in Australia, I cannot see how any pastor could not fall prey to the state's religious hatred law. My question is, have any Muslims been changed under the state's religious hatred law for speaking out against Christians?

Troy J. writes:

I'd like to speak up about the under-representation of accountants on network television. In a recent round of channel-surfing, I did not encounter one show that contained an accountant. There are doctors, lawyers, cops, firefighters everywhere, but no accountants. If the country needs more LBGT characters, it also needs more accountants!! C'mon! What represents the interest of diversity better? Adding a gay lawyer to one of the ubiquitous lawyer shows? Or a show about accountants? CPAs of the world, unite!

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