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article imageOp-Ed: Oxford University Press redefines childhood without nature

By Paul Wallis     Dec 20, 2017 in Environment
Oxford - Life is what you make it, they say, but what if your ability to describe it is lost? In this minimalist sewer of a modern “world”, now you can’t even refer to some living things, courtesy Oxford University Press.
This happened a while back, but it’s now causing a major stink. A petition is demanding the return of the following words to the Oxford Junior Dictionary:
• Acorn
• Adder
• Ash
• Bluebell
• Beech
• Buttercup
• Catkin
• Conker
• Cowslip
• Cygnet
• Dandelion
• Fern
• Hazel
• Heron
• Ivy
• Kingfisher
• Lark
• Mistletoe
• Nectar
• Newt
• Otter
• Pasture
It looks like a Tory hitlist, and may well be. Nature has nothing to do with slum dwelling, so there must be something wrong with it, obviously.
So let’s get personal, you ephemeral, egregious, execrable, excess illiterates:
1. Every single damn word in that list, which is obviously incomplete, is used in major works of English literature. So kids can read classics and not even know what the nouns mean?
2. Most of the plants and animals are alive and well, (thanks for asking), in a place called England, of which even the Oxford University Press may deign one day to acknowledge the existence. Even if you haven’t heard of English literature, you may bump in to the place and need a few terms of reference yourselves.
The ancient acorn tree which was on the property long before Jack London bought the land  now has a ...
The ancient acorn tree which was on the property long before Jack London bought the land, now has a fence around it to protect it. Native tribes used to gather acorns here centuries ago.
This ISN’T political correctness at work. It’s a sort of psychological orientation, from the same people who gave us the United States, the most heavily, and apparently uselessly medicated country on the planet.
The theory of the removal of these words is that they’re not relevant to modern childhood. The theory also holds that the dictionary should reflect the “solitary childhoods of today”.
This is nothing less than an obscenity, even in theory. On this basis, if a kid has a disease, that kid needs a reference which refers to nothing but sickness and disease? Drivel, and dangerous drivel, given the appalling state of modern environments for kids.
• Since when does everybody live in some antiseptic, lifeless, loveless, rathole of a nature-less world?
• Does everybody live rustically in a thatched apartment block in Mayfair, toiling over a spreadsheet with no other environmental inputs?
• Perhaps they live in those wonderful offices where no natural things ever intrude?
• Surely even a herd of smug, linguistically underachieving publishers have seen a Green Belt?
• Maybe even said prats are aware that environmentalism is THE major issue in the world today? Including quality of life and endless UK educational schemes involving these very non-existent plants and animals?
In 2015, the Guardian published a pretty hefty coverage of the issues. 50 UK authors pointed out that replacing natural things with attachment, blog, and chatroom. A few of these words may remain for a while, but they’re old already, and unlike actual nouns and biological names, will be replaced soon enough. (You don’t need to call a blog a blog any more, for example. Broadband was a technical term, now being replaced with other tech, etc.)
Add to this the fact that there’s a direct parallel between disconnection from nature and social ills, as the Guardian puts it. That may be putting it very mildly.
1. Fake environments produce fake people.
2. Psychopaths build a similarly exclusionist view of the world.
{image(80560,middle,medium) }Humpty Dumpty, famous fallen egg, took exactly the same view of which words were permissible, and look what happened to him. The “modern childhood environment” is ugly and unhealthy enough without removing proper and common names for real things. There can be no excuses for removing whole species from a kid’s vocabulary.
The ignorance of basic English usage is equally inexcusable, particularly from an acknowledged global reference which should know much better. I suggest that the Oxford University Press refer its endearing policy makers to Fowler, the original expert on English usage. Fowler happens to be published by Oxford reference, ironically enough, but hey, nobody needs a vocabulary, or competence, to be a publisher, do they?
Not much has been done. Oxford University Press is apparently just another mucking middle class trade, like everything else which has made Britain so much less than Great in the last 100 years. Sic transit something.... Yes, transit means like a bus or a Tube train, you enchanting little peasants.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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