Where next for non PC writing? Eraser executioners, perhaps?

HTWB executionerYou should know by now that I have a fairly schizoid attitude towards political correctness where writing is concerned, as you would have discovered in this article** we shared last year.

But last week I nearly choked on my Tassimo / Costa Americano (and no, I don’t work for them) wakey-wakey brew when I read the following on my phone, from the BBC News website

“A cognitive scientist has suggested rubbers be banned from classrooms. Chris Stokel-Walker asks – What is the benefit in presenting children’s work, warts and all?

Guy Claxton, visiting professor at Kings College London, has sparked arguments with his comments that the humble eraser is “an instrument of the devil”. At some schools corrective fluid is already banned, though more because some unruly pupils try to sniff its fumes.

The cognitive scientist told the Daily Telegraph that rubbers create “a culture of shame about error. It’s a way of lying to the world, which says ‘I didn’t make a mistake. I got it right first time.'”

It is better, Claxton argues, to embrace mistakes, because that’s what happens in the real world. Is he correct, and should erasers be banned from the classroom?”

It is not April 1st. I am not dreaming. This is daylight lunacy.

The humble eraser or rubber, as it is called on North America where it definitely is not a condom, would appear to have been banished to the sin-bin of PC writing.

Why? Because some bright spark of a dreamer who lives in the stratosphere, possibly beyond it, has decreed that for kiddies to have the opportunity to change their first drafts of what they write, might make them feel they were not right first time.

NB: I love the way the BBC points out that corrective fluid is a no-no too, if only because the kids might sniff it and tell their teachers where to poke their politically correct nonsense. NB: it’s not so much the corrective white stuff that the kids used to sniff – it’s the solvent you use to dilute it, as I discovered years ago when walking my dog in London (England) parks and casually glancing in the bushes at the piles of discarded Tippex solvent containers. But hey – who’s counting, especially after a good whiff.

Get this: correcting what you have written as a first draft is not  a “culture of shame”

It’s called a very normal and very necessary part of the writing process, whether you are a primary/grade school pupil or a best-selling author.

No writer, and in fact no-one communicating via the written word, can be expected to get it right first time. That’s not an insult to the human psyche: it’s just plain common sense (oh, whoops – what’s that?)

So as far as I am concerned the fragrant Guy Claxton can stuff his “instrument of the devil” right up the end of his HB pencil.

Please stop trying to shield our children from the real world

At times like this I’m glad my son is a grown-up and has the intelligence to work out cr*p like this for himself.

But by making a song and dance about erasers/rubbers helping people by “lying to the world, which says ‘I didn’t make a mistake. I got it right first time” … just what on earth are these people on?

Are they trying to create a Utopian society where nobody makes mistakes any more? Or, worringly, one where you must get it right first time because you won’t get the chance to improve on those mistakes?

In the meantime perhaps should we consider the other murderous weapons that can kill our original words?

For example …

The Tippex solvent slasher
The deadly delete key
The brutal back space butcher key
The homicidal highlight and cutthroat function
The trigger-happy trash key
The Slaughtering Spell Checker

…and so-on.

What do you think? Please share your views.

And if you want to catch up with the groovy yet sensible view of writing, here it is (plus you can dance to it…)




  1. Yeah, this makes absolutely no sense. But hey, I’m old-fashioned. I was born before common sense was optional (like turning signals on cars), so I guess I don’t understand what it is.

    More seriously, if you hadn’t mentioned the BBC, I would have expected the article to come from Fox News. It’s totally something that would be done in the US. lol

    • It does seem crazy to me, if only because I feel it’s so wrong to teach children that you’re going to get your writing right first time … when actually the editing process is almost as important as the first draft! Hello? Editing is a positive process, and an eraser/rubber is a tool you use in that process. Hmmmm.


  1. […] sharpen your pencils and get your politically incorrect erasers/rubbers ready … or stand by with the delete key … and see how this works for […]