completed illustrations below - click to enlarge
The politically incorrect alphabet
Newsflash 2 Aug 2006: very heavy traffic has had me kicked off the old server and ticked off for breaking it. The forum will not be back until I get a replacement hosting service that will accept it. We're now holed up in a temporary location.
Newsflash 12 Oct 2006: visitor no. 250,000 welcomed to the site (with a nice cup of tea and a biscuit). 11 Dec 2006: 500,000th page load, Bastille Day 2007: 750,000th.
Newsflash 21 Nov 2006: new A-Z nav introduced and all the old forum posts added.
Citations: 1 Aug 2006: i-am-bored.com (the one that broke the server) | 25 Aug 2006: B3ta newsletter (Fame at last!) | 31 Aug 2006: Yahoo Pick | 7 Sept 2006: About.com Funny site of the day | 7 Dec 2006: interview in .net
completed illustrations - click to enlarge
My wife is a teacher of young children, and I've spent a fair time of late sitting on undersized chairs admiring the alphabet charts on classroom walls. Typically 'A' will stand for Apple, 'B' for Ball. It occurred to me that 'I' for Indian, one I remember from my childhood, has been replaced as it is no longer politically correct to refer to native/first/indigenous Americans as Indians.
Lacking any tact or decency, I therefore determined to create an alphabet using only subjects that, while they might have been unremarked a few decades ago, are now outside acceptable usage. But only just. And then it was my intention to illustrate these in a 'modern' style, something along the lines of Dick Bruna's Miffy (OK, Miffy is 50, but still looks fresh). You can see those I've completed already on this page.
If you scroll down a bit you'll find links to pages with archived chit chat plus illustrations and more.
Once I have a full set of illustrations* I'll... well, I don't quite know what I'll do. They'd make nice set of flash cards to give to new parents you'd like to offend, but with subtlety. Or a charming poster for your oh-so-knowing loft decor. T-shirts might beckon. That's a problem for later.
*Since writing this, what constitutes a 'full set' has suffered from project creep. I'm no nearer making my fortune though.
Your chance to contribute to the politically incorrect alphabet
The problem for now is coming up with sufficient subjects, and then illustrating them. Staring out of the window can only inspire me so far. After that I decided to ask for help. And so I set up a forum where you could make suggestions (which has just broken because it was too popular).
Completed illustrations suggested or inspired by forum visitors:
Abortion, Adam, Bouncer, Camp, Candy, Cannibal, Catapult, Cherry, Cock, Coffin, Crumpet, Dolphin, Eve, Executioner, Faggot, Fairy, Fat, Flag, Frogman, Grill, Halloween, Hand grenade, Hitler, Horse, Hun, Islander, Ivory, Jew's Harp, Ku Klux Klan, Leaf, Lenin, Lion-flag, Mafia / Mobster, Manhole, Mao, Marketing, Menorah, Mine, Mushroom, Noose, Nurse, Oil, Old man, Old woman, Policeman, Pouffe, Prayer, Rhino, Rifle, Rubber, Salute, Sea Lion, Soldier, Spook, Spam, Stalin, Star, Steak, Stewardess, Swastika, Tart, Toadstool, Trophy, UFO, Union Jack, Vampire, Virgin, Voodoo, Whale, Yank, Y-fronts, Zombie, Zulu.
Completed illustrations that I didn't need your help for (but I'm still very grateful):
Angel, Arab, Ark, Arrow, Atom bomb, Atomic power, Axe, Beaver, Beer, Blackboard, Bomb, Boxer, Boxer-b, Boy, Bride, Burger, Butcher, Cane, Casino, Cigar, Cigarettes, Clown, Convict, Cripple, Cyberman, Dalek (eh?), Death, Dunce, Dwarf, Eggs, Elephant, Empire, Eskimo, Fireman, Fur, Ghost, Girl, Girl Guide, God, Golliwog, Groom, Gun, Gypsy, Hotdog, Housewife, Indian, Jesus, Jew, King, Knife, Lager, Lion, Lunatic, Match, Mermaid, Monkey, Muff, Native, Nun, Pig, Pills, Pipe, Poo, Pope, Prisoner, Queen, Razor, Razorblade, Satan, Scout, Skeleton, Stool, Tank, Tramp, Ugly, Underwear, Uniform, Vicar, Waitress, Whip, Wine, Witch, Yellow-man, Xmas.
You can read archived comment on these cards plus completed illustrations by clicking on the names above. I've included these extra pages as a honey trap for search engines.
For up-to-date discussion of these and other, as yet uncompleted suggestions we did have a forum, but we broke it.
Of course, this is all copyright material. Be legal, be nice, behave, be above all polite.
"What goes around comes around" (or is it the other way around?) - when my wife asked me for a cover design for alphabet books for her first year classes I had just the thing!
You might think that any hint of the politically incorrect might have been expunged from our toy shops by now, but no.
For Christmas 2005 I was given the Early Learning Centre's "farmer and wife" (thanks Josh), "ages 3-8 years, build your own farm adventure". Given that he's got his hand in his pocket and she's doing the work, it should be called "farmer and husband" if anything. She's a hottie too.
Printable cut-out dress-up school uniform sheets are now ready to download. There's one already coloured in, and one you can colour yourself! Glue them to thin card from an empty cereal packet then cut out carefully along the lines. Have lots of fun dressing and undressing the young boy and girl with their splendid new school uniforms!
They're not all politically incorrect, why not?
Sometimes it's subtle: 'Lion' looks OK at first glance, but remember animals in circuses are a PC no-no. Sometimes it's very subtle: 'Boy' makes no sense unless compared with 'Girl'. Sometimes it's arguable: 'Skeleton' has sound educational value, and is just a little scary, not unPC. And sometimes it's just because I wanted to draw the picture. The comments on an illustration on the archived chat pages (down a bit to the left) will probably let you know.
Because I've got too much time on my hands.
I made a suggestion but you haven't illustrated it yet, why not?
Because I haven't got that much time on my hands.
They're a bit small aren't they?
To view a double size version of your favourite image just click on the image and it will open in a new window.
Advanced time-wasters will discover that subsequent double sized images open in the same little window, so you can select a sequence of images from this page and then animate them in the small window using the 'forward' and 'back' key commands.
The online gif images are derived from vector originals which are fully scaleable. They could be enlarged to the size of a bus but then they wouldn't fit in your PC.
The original images contain exquisite fine detail which is unfortunately lost at the resolution used for online viewing.
How about smaller?
I use a thick crayon for my outlines so yes, they do reduce down quite well, for if you want to see how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. They could make a nice little set of icons, not that I feel the urge (yet).
They don't look much like Dick Bruna's drawings to me.
No, but then he's highly talented and I'm just persistent. Anyway, that's not a question.
The blue and green in my paint box ran out and now I'm left with just the rest.
Repeated attempts to perfect this picture of my dream home eventually had to be abandoned when painting the sky and the ground used up all the blue and green. Leaving a gap between the two only delayed the tragic end by a few weeks.
Do I care? Do you care? Does the estate of the late Andy Warhol care? Probably not, but I claim my 15 minutes of fame.
Why does this page take so long to load?
I know, I'm really sorry about that. It used to load in a jiffy, but that was before I added over 100 (count them) illustrations. They're mainly very small file sizes though so it won't take much longer.
I work on the big sanpro account at SSBBW Goatse, can we employ your look and feel in our new DTC campaign?
Oh yes, please, commission some illustrations from me and there'll be food on my table again. I might be doing this for love but I love to do this for money. Get out your cheque book and call me.
Would you like an illustration JUST FOR YOU? Specially hand-crafted to bring out the best of your defining characteristics? This is what 'The Nephew' requested and look what he now boasts as his avatar - a life-like portrait that salutes his years of loyal service to the UK cable industry. If you want such an illustration, and are short of large sums of cash, all you need do is arrange for your mother to marry one of my wife's brothers and then you'll have both a new uncle and a new avatar too!
As far as I know, when I started the politically incorrect alphabet in mid October 2005 there was nothing like it on the web. Some dictionaries yes, but an illustrated ABC no#.
You might have seen (perhaps) in 2004 a set of cards promoting Hepatitis C awareness (example above) but I did those## so it's not copying, just recycling!
Political correctness as a concept has been around since the late C20th and spawned various parodies, such as Beard and Cerf's 1992 book 'The Official Politically Correct Dictionary and Handbook' (since updated) which poked fun at PC proscriptions but polluted the waters by including many PC alternatives invented by 'The American Hyphen Society' (i.e. Beard and Cerf and their mates) - which have then gone on to be quoted in turn as examples of "political correctness gone mad".
# Update Aug 2006: there's nothing new under the sun. In a similar vein Suzi and Georg of 'Twisted Twee' have been putting splendid "Child Unfriendly Alphabet" designs on children's clobber since 2004 - see their work at Portobello Market or buy online. Beholder's "Alphabet for Geniuses" dates back to 1993 or so, online since 1996, and may not be the same joke but deserves a mention for wit and quality of execution.
## I'd just racked up the line of cocaine on a glass topped desk for this photo when in walked the MD of the company I was working for. Fortunately not with a client.
Incidentally, it was salt - we didn't have a budget for the real thing. And yes, I do work for a living when I'm not wasting time here.
Who has been telling stories? That's just a nasty rumour and I couldn't possibly comment.
Who are you anyway?
I am the headmaster.
You are visitor number
to this site.
|new media design||The politically incorrect alphabet ©2005-2008 Mark Jones.