We thought we'd left far behind the days when minor medical afflictions affecting "unmentionable" parts of the human anatomy were allowed to fester into disabling conditions because "polite" people didn't dare mention them.
Nowadays, we thought, open and forthright discussion is the rule.
But under the current regime of Political Correctness, we seem to have come full circle.
Microsoft Corp. and the chief rules enforcer for their "Xbox Live" computer game system are apologizing to a small West Virginia town and a 26-year-old gamer accused of violating the online gaming service's code of conduct by publicly declaring he's from Fort Gay -- a name the company considered offensive.
The town's name is real. But The Associated Press reported Wednesday that when Josh Moore tried to tell Seattle-based Microsoft and the enforcement team at Xbox Live, they wouldn't take his word for it. Or Google it. Or check the U.S. Postal Service website for the town's ZIP code.
Instead, they suspended his gaming privileges for days, despite the fact Mr. Moore's listing his location as "fort gay WV" wasn't a joke or a slur -- it's an actual community of about 800 in Wayne County, along West Virginia's western border with Kentucky.
"I was mad. ... It makes me feel like they hate gay people," said Mr. Moore, an unemployed factory worker who plays Medal of Honor, Call of Duty and Ghost Recon under the gamertag Joshanboo, and who missed a key Search and Destroy competition because of last week's suspension. His team lost.
Angry and incredulous, Mr. Moore contacted customer service. But the employee warned Mr. Moore if he put Fort Gay back in his profile, Xbox Live would cancel his account and keep his $288 membership fee, which he'd paid in advance for two years.
Mayor David Thompson also tried to intervene. But he told television station WSAZ, which first reported the dispute, that he was informed the city's name didn't matter. The word "gay," he was told, was inappropriate in any context.
Stephen Toulouse, director of policy and enforcement for Xbox Live blamed "miscommunication."
No word yet on how the firm will deal with gamers registering from home addresses in Faggo, Nigeria; Butts County, Georgia; Dildo, Newfoundland; Toadsuck, Arkansas; Humptulips, Washington; or Fukue Island, Japan.