Daddy or Chips?

This entry was posted on
Monday, June 20th, 2005
12:23 pm and is filed
under The War on Stupid.

Guardian – Couch potato label gives veg a bad name – farmers: British farmers have launched a campaign to remove the term “couch potato” from the dictionary because they fear its negative connotations are putting people off buying the vegetable. The British Potato Council has written to the Oxford English Dictionary to ask for it to be taken out. It has also planned demonstrations outside the offices of the Oxford University Press and in Parliament Square in London today to demand that it be replaced with the term “couch slouch”.

1. They might have an easier time of it getting the term ‘love spuds‘ removed from Roger’s Profanisauras.

2. Bloody hell! Just look at them all! This item even made the ‘and finally’ slot on Radio 4 this morning:

The Scum – Farmers’ chip on shoulder
Scotsman – Tattie-bye to the ‘couch potato’
BBC – Farmers stew over ‘couch potato’

Mr Potato HeadSo far, daily coverage out-numbers that of the exclusion zone 2-to-1 (of which there is *zero* coverage today).

So, if the meat is the Oxford Dictionary entry, why have these people got the two-veg to stage a protest at Parliament Square? Because somehow the British Potato Council managed to convince Conservative MP Nigel Evans to table an early-day motion (which I’ll link to as soon as it goes live here).

Whether you think this is getting more coverage because the media is lazy/whipped or because Alastair Campbell is spuds-deep in the affair, you have to agree that this absurd and rather OTT stunt provides a spin-adept government with some timely ammunition. Then again, perhaps you don’t…

Kathryn Race, Marketing Manager of the British Potato Council, confirmed that this is the first time they have staged or arranged a protest outside of Parliament, but denied that its timing was prompted or inspired by the new exclusion zone (of which she was aware). She also rejected any suggestion that it belittles or threatens serious protests at this location.

Nigel Evans – despite agreeing that the new exclusion measures were “draconian” and describing them as “a hammer used to crack a nut” (no pun intended) – also rejected the idea that “light-hearted” protests like this played into the hands of the government. But – quite tellingly, I thought – he knew what my primary question was going to be before I posed it.

Meanwhile, in the background, there are a number of us talking about the best way to get this law under scrutiny and off the books.

We care little for potatoes, and are far more concerned with the public being treated like mushrooms.

UPDATE – CNN, now. FFS… CNN – Couch potato ‘ruins spud’s image’

UPDATE – By Wednesday, there were 153 individual and syndicated reports on this important story visible in Google News. It even made Pravda. You may cry now.

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