How would we react if a newspaper published a daily column that read something like this:Dawkins goes on to point out that astrology columns are hardly as offensive as above, but there is no difference in essence.
Germans: It is in your nature to be hard working and methodical, which should serve you well at work today. In your personal relationships, especially this evening, you will need to curb your natural tendency to obey orders.
Chinese: Inscrutability has many advantages, but it may be your undoing today.
British: Your stiff upper lip may serve you well in business dealings, but try to relax and let yourself go in your social life.
With the substitution, all of a sudden the politically correct sensibilities swing into action. We don’t accept facile and artificial differences in any other way.
I often use substitution when acquaintances are having fun “American bashing”. They make statements such as: “Americans are so stupid”, or: “Americans are gun nuts”, or: “Americans are religious fundamentalists”, etc. The technique I learned from Jef, was to ask them to repeat their sentence, but substitute the word “Blacks”, or “Jews”, or “Women” for “Americans”. For some reason they never seem to do it?
Back to astrology. If asked what my star sign is, I steal Bill Bryson’s reply: “Necrophilia”.