Villages in Spain that have celebrated the ouster of the Moors more than 500 years ago by blowing up effigies of Mohammed have been toning down their celebrations lately lest they offend Muslims around the world, according to El Pais.

The paper found several villages in the Valencia region that have stopped the practice since the publication of the dreaded MoToons in a Danish newspaper last year prompted waves of murderous rampage.

The village of Bocairent's mayor, Antonio Valdes, said blowing up the Mohammed dummy was offensive. "It just wasn't necessary, and, as it could hurt some people's feelings, we decided not to do it," he said.

Villages across Spain hold annual festivals to commemorate the "Reconquista," the reconquest of Spain by Christians from the Moors, which was completed in 1492 after more than 700 years of Muslim rule in much of the country.

Advertising Vandalism

The Associated Press reports that Celebrity Cruises was forced to yank an ad featuring Hawaiian King Kamehameha holding a glass of champagne after natives of the island chain complained that it was disrespectful.

The ad, in the trade magazine Travel Weekly, featured the king in a multi-colored lei holding an outstretched glass of bubbly. Celebrity apologized profusely, saying the illustration was insensitive and would never be used again.

George Chalekian, executive creative director at Honolulu advertising agency Milici Velenti Ng Pak, likened the ad to vandalism. "There's plenty of bad advertising that goes out, but nothing that I have seen that in any way attacks or belittles or demeans the host culture, not in the overt fashion that this particular ad does," he said.

Email Etiquette

A temporary office worker in the UK was fired and escorted from the building in which she was working after forwarding an email that questioned the moral relativism of multiculturalism and the impact of untrammeled immigration, according to the Swindon Advertiser.

Kay Rowland, who was working at Castrol Oil in England, thought the email she forwarded to five colleagues was simply raising some uncomfortable truths and expressing patriotism. Part of it said: "I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to Britain. However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand.

"This idea of London being a multicultural centre for community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Britons we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle," it continued.

Some of her colleagues, however, called the email offensive and complained to management. Her employment at the company was immediately terminated, she said.

More Tar Babies

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is apologizing for using the phrase "dancing with a tar baby" during a state meeting last month following complaints from some black officials in the state who say the term is racist, reports the Charleston Post and Courier.

Sanford said he used the phrase in response to how agencies get rid of surplus property. "So I just feel I'm dancing with a tar baby on trying to, to move this ball forward and again," Sanford said. His office said he was using the phrase to mean a difficult-to-escape situation, and did not intend to offend anyone.

State Sen. Robert Ford, a Democrat from Charleston, called the comment a racial slur that shouldn't be uttered in any context by the state's highest elected official.

Supreme Court Offense

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is under fire for using the word tequila in a sentence about a Mexican immigrant, according to the Legal Times, a connection that activists said was insensitive and perpetuates stereotypes.

During oral arguments in a case about whether immigrants who commit felonies should be deported, Scalia said it was unlikely that one such deportee was sitting around his home in Mexico soberly awaiting his chance to get back to the United States. "Nobody thinks your client is really, you know, abstaining from tequila down in Mexico because he is on supervised release in the United States," Scalia said.

Carlos Ortiz, former president of the Hispanic National Bar Association, didn't hear the comment but was said to have reacted strongly when told of it. "Justice Scalia is supposed to be very smart, but anyone who is supposed to be so smart would not and should not say something that insensitive. It is a really terrible comment, and he should be called on it.

"This is the kind of incident that makes it so clear that the Court needs more diversity," he said.

For more doses of politically correct nuttiness, head on over to the Tongue Tied daily edition.

Mailbag:

Jerry P. writes:

I find it amazing that a school would ban a play because it mentions the word Christmas. I am so tired of hearing that because some person may get upset, that their rights are to be more respected than mine or in most cases the majority.

This is a play at a school and if someone feels he may be offended, then don't go. I am upset that my rights to view a play that mentions Christmas are not to be respected. This is just plain nuts. You will never ever be able to please everyone. There is bound to be at least one person who will be offended no mater what is produced. Grow up and start acting like an adult and not a spoiled child

Billy in St. Paul writes:

Last time I checked, the church doesn't worship Santa or Mrs. Claus.

Timothy B. writes:

My elementary school, Canaan Lake Elementary school in North Patchogue, N.Y., took a fourth grade trip every year to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. There were more than a few sculptures and paintings that showed a bit of nudity. Before we went our teacher had a short talk with us about art, proper behavior and acting like an adult. Apparently, the mother that complained has ruined something wonderful her child's teacher was trying to do. How terrible! Taking kids to a museum!

Ed C. writes:

Good thing the student was only exposed to a nude figure—the teacher would probably have been tarred and feathered if the students had also been exposed to any religious symbols.

Tom M. writes:

All this PC stuff reminds me of a childhood story. Soup was being made for dinner, and everyone that would be eating offered some advice as to what should be in it. The chef wanted to accommodate everyone, and made sure that anything that was unacceptable to one of the diners was eliminated. When it was time for the soup to be served, everyone got a bowl of room temperature water, and nobody could figure out what went wrong.

Is it possible that all of these PC lunatics could get over it? Life would be rather bland in a sterilized, PC friendly environment.

Brian V. writes:

Talk about sensitive! Someone has to be awfully thin-skinned to be upset by the word "Jap". It isn't any sort of derogatory slang, merely an abridgement of Japanese. Why is there no flap over "Finn", "Brit", or "Swede"?

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