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Old 17 July 2015, 08:51 PM
Steve Steve is offline
Join Date: 19 October 2002
Location: Charleston, SC
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Default Dawkins and the Spotted Dick mystery

I have agreed, with some trepidation, to review volume 2 of Richard Dawkins’ autobiography, this one called Brief Candle in the Dark.
I was particularly struck by a passage in which, apropos of nothing in particular, Dawkins tells us about a “care home for old people in England” at which a “local government inspector” banned the traditional pudding Spotted Dick from the menu on the grounds that its name was “sexist”. This looked to me for all the world like one of those apocryphal “PC gone mad” stories that the Daily Mail loves to run (and then occasionally retract a few weeks later in small print). Could it really be true?

Anyone ever hear of this?
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Old 17 July 2015, 09:52 PM
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Richard W Richard W is offline
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 25,657

I've certainly heard of it, but it's pretty much an apocryphal tale - a classic urban legend, in fact. If it really did happen to his "personal acquaintance" then maybe your mum's hairdresser's friend really did get served a Kentucky Fried Rat...

(Snopes is cited in a footnote to The God Delusion, by the way. Dawkins says that Pat Robertson was reported as blaming Ellen Degeneres for Hurricane Katrina, citing a satirical Dateline story, then in a footnote he somewhat begrudgingly says that it may not be true, but that it's "widely believed" and "the website that says the ... story is untrue" (link to also gives a similar quote that Robertson really did say, and so it doesn't matter. Presumably he didn't have time to rewrite the paragraph itself to include things that Robertson actually said. But it didn't give me a lot of confidence in his research or his ability to spot myths outside his field of expertise...)
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