The New York Times Style Guide to Alternative Cultural Practices


“The New York Times” decided it will now refer to “female genital mutilation” as “genital cutting”, a term that brings to mind something as harmless as male circumcision (which is why “female genital circumcision” is just as misleading).

“There’s a gulf between the Western (and some African) advocates who campaign against the practice and the people who follow the rite, and I felt the language used widened that chasm,” NYT science and health editor Celia Dugger explained Friday. She also said the widely used term (FGM) is “culturally loaded” in the explanation, which came as a result of inquiries from The Daily Caller News Foundation regarding a reporter’s decision to use the term “cutting” in a recent story about a doctor in Michigan.

We couldn’t possibly have “culturally loaded” terms in case they “widen the chasm” between the supporters and opponents of certain practices – or right and wrong, as some unsophisticated commentators would call it. All cultures are, after all, equal, so we shouldn’t be judgmental.

Because here at The Daily Chrenk we always try to be helpful to our mainstream media colleagues, we prepared this handy style guide to avoid other “culturally loaded” terms in print and broadcast:

Sati – post-marital grief immolation

Infanticide – fourth trimester termination

Female infanticide – gender-determined parenting

Wife beating – hands-on relationship counselling

Cannibalism – hard paleo (also: human protein supplementation)

Honour killing – permanent grounding

Spousal rape – consent-alternative marital intimacy

Scalping – complete ritual depilation

Killing old and infirm – extreme palliative care

Grooming underage girls – community-based, practical sex ed program

Child marriage – age disparate matching

Cousin marriage – kin inter-relationship enrichment

Human sacrifice – spiritually-motivated population reduction

Jihad – faith community self-defence

Slavery – compulsory, exclusive services contract

Sexual slavery – compulsory intimacy arrangement

Stoning adulterers – petrological divorce procedure

Throwing homosexuals off buildings – vertical monosexuality enforcement

Polygamy – concurrent monogamy

Child labour – premature apprenticeship

Headhunting – per capita loss (also: non-literal recruitment)

Torture – alternative investigation aid

Inbreeding – reproductive autarky

Witch-hunting – non-Carthesian threat reduction

The Daily Chrenk wishes you happy, chasm-reducing reading. And remember: we don’t judge!