Lots of serious stuff in the news of late, so naturally something not very serious. No less distinguished a body than the Fabian Society wants the word 'chav' banned. The use of the word "chav" should be banned by the media and individuals with left-of-centre politics because it betrays a "deep and revealing level of class hatred' they pronounce.
For overseas readers, the nearest US equivalent to this peculiarly English word - now passed from slang into the mainstream - would be 'trailer trash'. The origins of the word are a matter for debate but the most accepted theory is that is derives from the Romany word 'chavi', which simply means child. The characteristics of chavdom are low socio-economic class, appalling dress sense and a tendency to criminality. Female chavs are sometimes described as 'pramface' - a refererence to their precocious reproductive habits.
Is there a serious point here? Ermmmmm.....
Social contempt is hardly new. the term 'oik', now only used ironically, was the equivalent to chav for previous generations. Snobbery is a deeply unattractive trait and those with wealth, power and position sneering at those with none of these is an unedifying sight. Getting political for a moment, the Labour Party has long ago abandoned its working class roots and the white working class has in return a sense of - well - abandonment. Those not wholly alienated from the political process (understandably - what's in it for them?) are easy prey for the likes of the BNP, who have cleverly tapped into this sense of alienation and abandonment. The problem is hugely bigger than smartass remarks at middle class dinner parties.
Does banning chav from the public discourse help? I don't think so. I'm reflexively against banning things - there's far too much of that sort of thing about. Maybe the Fabian Society would be better occupied applying its mind to more serious issues of social fracture and alienation.