Saturday 23 January 2021



Matthew Moore, Media Correspondent of The Times, reports today that the BBC's Executive Complaints Unit has chucked out a complaint against Laura Kuenssberg for using the phrase “nitty-gritty” during an episode of Brexitcast

He (perhaps optimistically) describes the ruling as “the latest sign of the corporation’s shift away from so-called wokery”. 

At least one person (the BBC isn't saying exactly how many) complained when Laura K using the term while talking about Lee Cain leaving No 10. She said, “Before we get into the nitty-gritty for the saddo nerds like us who are fascinated by all this soap opera”. 

The background to this is the claim by some anti-racism campaigners that “nitty-gritty” originally referred to the detritus found in the bottom of transatlantic slave ships and, therefore, shouldn't be used. Etymologists rubbish that claim though, saying there is no convincing evidence for it, that the phrase was first printed in the 1930s and that none of its early uses has any connection to slavery whatsoever. Indeed, back in 2002 the BBC itself debunked the claim

The interesting thing, however, is how influential the forces of 'wokery' can be:
“Nitty-gritty” was included on a list of phrases to be avoided by sports commentators last summer, at a diversity briefing attended by hundreds of BBC, Sky, BT Sport and ITV staff. They were told to use alternatives such as “the basic facts”...

P.S. I see you can buy a Nitty Gritty Comb if you want to quickly and easily get rid of all head lice, nits and 'live' eggs in your children's hair - as recommended by Mumsnet, Jonathan Ross ("Have you got the Nitty Gritty Comb, with the long bits, with the twiddly bits? That's the best comb. You've got to get the Nitty Gritty comb. I'll draw it for you and you can get it on the way home. It's fantastic") and Jason Donovan ("I just can't get by without Nitty Gritty... it's a natural headlice treatment which Angela and I use on the kids. Nits are a big problem these days.") Get yours now while stocks last - or before the company is forced to change its name.

P.P.S. Here's Andrew Neil's take on the matter: "BBC rightly rejects complaint against Laura Kuenssberg for using phrase “nitty gritty”. Licence fees of numpties who complained should be tripled to contribute to cost of complaints procedure."

[As Guest Who notes at Biased BBCAndrew Neil here is engaging with "a BBC 100 lady of entitlement" on the matter, and it's really not going well for her]. 

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