A View from Henry Jenkins

A New Low...

I have a relatively high tolerance for what others are quick to label as “political correctness,” but this story from CNN seems to me to be off the scales. See if you agree.California officials have asked the producers of computer…

  • November 26, 2003

I have a relatively high tolerance for what others are quick to label as “political correctness,” but this story from CNN seems to me to be off the scales. See if you agree.

California officials have asked the producers of computer equipment to stop using the words, “master” and “slave” to refer to primary and secondary hard drives. “Based on the cultural diversity and sensitivity of Los Angeles County, this is not an acceptable identification label,” Joe Sandoval, division manager of purchasing and contract services, said in a memo sent to County vendors. Some employee apparently complained that they found such labels offensive and discriminatory.

The science fiction fan within me suddenly imagined that this decision altered the future of some parallel society ruled by Ray Kurzweil’s Intelligent Machines: suddenly, the changed terminology resulted in a transformation from an authoritarian to a more democratic society.

Machines of the world unite – all you stand to lose is your connector cables!

Sorry, I got carried away for a moment in the enthusiasm of imagining liberating all of those “slave” drives from the oppressive yoke of their “master” units.

Perhaps next we will take aim at male and female plugs, paving the way for a much more liberated relationship between electrical outlets.

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus ad-free web experience, select discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly magazine delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.