Tyson Homosexual...Oh wait, Tyson Gay...



5 comments
Art Remillard

[Author's note: Humble apologies for the previous title. While intended as a quirky title for a quirky story, it was instead thoughtless.]

Sometimes, my computer tries to outsmart me. For example, it will re-spell words that I had intended to mis-spell. But it has never changed the word "Gay" to "Homosexual." It seems I don't have the right software.

From the Washington Post, Mary Ann Akers, "the Sleuth," reports...

The American Family Association obviously didn't foresee the problems that might arise with its strict policy to always replace the word "gay" with "homosexual" on the Web site of its Christian news outlet, OneNewsNow. The group's automated system for changing the forbidden word wound up publishing a story about a world-class sprinter named "Tyson Homosexual" who qualified this week for the Beijing Olympics.

The problem: Tyson's real last name is Gay. Therefore, OneNewsNow's reliable software changed the Associated Press story about Tyson Gay's amazing Olympic qualifying trial to read this way: "Tyson Homosexual was a blur in blue, sprinting 100 meters faster than anyone ever has. His time of 9.68 seconds at the U.S. Olympic trials Sunday doesn't count as a world record, because it was run with the help of a too-strong tailwind. Here's what does matter: Homosexual qualified for his first Summer Games team and served notice he's certainly someone to watch in Beijing."

5 comments:

Tim Lacy at: July 3, 2008 at 12:10 PM said...

Yikes! Well, one more check for humans on the robots vs. humans debate. - TL

Paul Harvey at: July 3, 2008 at 1:36 PM said...

Don we now our HOMOSEXUAL apparel
Fa La La, Fa La La, La La La

John G. Turner at: July 3, 2008 at 2:49 PM said...

I always warn my students about the dangers of relying on the spellchecker. It's great (or, at least pretty good)at finding misspelled words and lousy at offering suggestions. I once read an entire essay on the great African American leader W.E.B. Dubious. And the results on the spy Klaus Fuchs were even worse.

Moreover, one would hope the Christian Right would have better things to do with its time...

Tracy at: July 3, 2008 at 7:16 PM said...

Boy, were their faces Native American!

But why the suggestion that software that makes "gay" a forbidden word was "good" to begin with?

Art at: July 4, 2008 at 8:41 AM said...

Many apologies... I meant "good" in the sense of "functioning-as-designed." Poor choice of words, and lack of creativity on my part.

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