Scapegoated wolf bites salty Welsh leper

Share
Related Topics
I sometimes receive protesting letters about thoughtless use of English and I only wish I had time to answer them all myself. Alas, this is not so, but rather than let them go unseen and unanswered, I think it makes more sense to use them to fill up a column. Thanks, everyone!

From the Leprosy Society

Sir, May we urge you to desist from using the phrase "moral leper", to designate someone who is outside the social pale ? This ancient phrase dates from a time when leprosy was thought to be highly contagious and incurable. Science has moved on, and so should language. I am not saying that all lepers are the salt of the earth, but people who suffer from leprosy are no more moral or immoral than anyone else. Why should the leper be the scapegoat ? It is about time that society chose a term for the moral outcast which carried less offence. "Lone wolf" or simply "undesirable", perhaps?

yours etc

From the Better Blood Movement

Sir, it saddens us yet again to see the expression "salt of the earth" being used so freely (see previous letter ). The expression dates from a time when salt was scarce, and indeed valued for its preserving qualities, and therefore salt was felt to be a "good thing", as of course it is in the correct small qualities. Alas, it is now eaten in reckless qualities, (even young children are encouraged to wolf it down) and we know that it does us terrible harm, so it gives quite the wrong impression to use the expression "salt of the earth". A person who is really the salt of the earth is probably very bad for us!

yours etc

From the Goat Society

Sir, I think the man from the Leprosy Society was ill-advised to use the expression scapegoat. There may have been a time when poor innocent goats were left tied up in the desert for a rapacious wolf to savage, so as to take away the sins of society, but those days are long past. Could the goat please stop playing the image of the hapless victim? And also, come to that, could the goat PLEASE stop being a byword for lust? If I had a penny for every time I have heard someone described as a "randy old goat", I'd be rich. I'd be moderately well off on descriptions of Lloyd George alone !

yours etc

From The Lycanthropy Club

Sir, I can hardly believe my eyes. Do you realise that every letter you have printed so far manages to traduce the image of the wolf ? The "lone wolf", I read. "Wolfing it down". The "rapacious wolf" ... and so on and so on.

When will people ever learn that the wolf is NOT rapacious, NOT savage, NOT a loner and NOT a greedy eater? The wolf does not attack humans. The wolf is no threat to us, so why do we always wish to keep it from the door? You would think in an enlightened age that the wolf would get a better press, but far from it. Every time there is a documentary about wolves on Channel 4 or a well informed piece in the National Geographic magazine, I feel, rather like Canute, that the waves of ignorance are about to recede. Like King Canute, I am doomed to disappointment. This dreadful ignorance is shared by the highest and lowest, from Cabinet minister to street Arab. I enclose a copy of our pamphlet: "Know Your Wolf", but without much hope.

yours etc

From the Arab-British Friendship Society

Sir, Has the Zionist lobby got to you again? I am appalled to read in a letter you have published recently, in fact directly above mine, that you permit the use of the phrase "street Arab" in your column.

Why should the average illiterate urchin be an Arab?

Would you refer to him as a "street Israeli"?

Or as a "street Jew"?

Or even as a "street Semite"?

I think not.

Let us have no more of this atrocious racism.

yours etc

From Professor Walter Regius

Sir, I am appalled to see a repetition of the old canard that King Canute thought he could order the waves back. The whole point of the story was that he knew he couldn't. He was chiding his courtiers for exaggerating his power. For heaven's sake let us get one historical fact straight in these benighted times!

yours etc

From Mr Goronwy Davies

Sir, I have been waiting avidly for you to use the word "welsh" in a derogatory sense, as in "to welsh on someone", so that I could write in and protest. You haven't, but I am going to write in and protest anyway, because we Welsh are very sensitive about ....

Continued some other time, perhaps.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The economy expanded by 0.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2014  

British economy: Government hails the latest GDP figures, but there is still room for skepticism over this 'glorious recovery'

Ben Chu
Comedy queen: Miranda Hart has said that she is excited about working on the new film  

There is no such thing as a middle-class laugh

David Lister
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little