Friday, 31 January 2014

Word of the Day: Geek

From the Daily Mail

Supermarket giant Tesco has removed a range of clothes featuring pictures of animals wearing spectacles and the words 'nerd' and 'geek' after a mum complained they would cause her toddler son with eye problems to be bullied.

Aneliese Whittaker, 28, of Ifield, Surrey, launched a campaign demanding the t-shirts be pulled from sale claiming they 'stereotype' people who wear glasses - including 18-month-old Logan.

Logan was born with dense cataracts in both eyes and wears thick 'goggle-like' blue-rimmed specs with powerful prescription lenses.

Suzie Dent, the Dictionary Corner lexographer on Countdown recently explained in her book the history of the word "geek" and how it referred to circus grotesque performers. Then got used as an insult for obsessives (e.g. computer geeks). But as she rightly observed, it's recently become a badge of honour. To be a computer geek means that you know your way around a computer, and that's a valuable skill. Which is why Tesco are now selling t-shirts with the word geek on it. Because people actually quite like the association.

Now, the boy does wear some very thick glasses and it's likely that some kids will be horrible to him and we'd rather not have that. But that's hardly Tesco's problem, and it's hardly going to change whether you have t-shirts with the word geek on or not. So, for god's sake, grow a backbone, Tesco.


James Higham said...

Geek = grotesque? Hmmmm. Where are accountants in this?