Just before their re-entry, a very relieved Apollo 13 astronaut Jack Swigert, (not Fred Haise as portrayed in the Apollo 13 movie), summed up the feelings that the Apollo 13 crew had about heir lunar module-turned-lifeboat Aquarius, whose engines and power systems had just saved their skins, when he declared in a tribute over the airwaves that: “She sure was a good ship.”

However, political correctness has now deemed that the Apollo 13 astronaut was in error and that he should instead have used a gender-neutral pronoun for his ship – or in his case spaceship.  Or so The Scottish Maritime Museum, in Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland, apparently thinks.

It has decided to stop calling its ships and boats “she” after the “she” word was scratched out on their exhibit information notes – presumably by radical feminists.

But somehow, “It sure was a good ship” does not sound quite the same.

Apollo 13’s Lunar module Aquarius which acted as a rescue craft. “She sure was a good ship” agreed the crew. Courtesy: NASA

While accepting that political correctness’s heart is in the right place as it fights for equality and fairness – especially for minorities – this column likes to point out some of its more stupid edicts and declarations. And this is one of them.

In this case, radical feminists have a point to make, but the appeasement of such a pressure group in response to their vandalism (assuming that it was them), cannot be condoned.  By the way, cow-towing to such a group, which might often be a minority of a minority, can sometimes damage the rights and freedoms of the majority overall.  The tail sometimes manages to wag the dog, you could say.

However, it was not actually this appeasement that has raised objections, but it was more the actual gender change itself which apparently so upset the old salty sea dogs out there.  Speaking on behalf of sailors and ocean voyagers from around the world, former Royal Navy Admiral Lord West told the BBC Today programme: “It is an insult to a generation of sailors…a ship is like a mother.”

Admiral Lord (Alan) West knows what he is talking about. In his illustrious career  Alan West was a government minister in charge of intelligence, a First Sea Lord in charge of the Royal Navy, and was previously a captain of the Type 21 Frigate HMS Ardent during the Falklands War in 1982.  In that role he had the heartbreak of witnessing the loss of his ship and some some of his crew, after she was damaged by an Argentine air attack.

During the Falklands War HMS Ardent was damaged (shown here) by an Argentine air attack. She later sank. Courtesy: IWM (Imperial War Museum)

Of course a ship’s feminine gender has long been a tradition, and yet buildings have normally been neutral. Well perhaps not. The Homes & Property website reports that plans for a new hi-rise block of apartments in Vauxhall, South London, have now been scrapped after a public protest about its looks. The building’s design was informally awarded the very masculine nickname of “Alien Phallus” due to its very apparent bulging shape.

Presumably – and worryingly – someone out there must have seen one of these in order to make the comparison. Then again, most of those individuals who claim that they have been abducted by aliens reckon they have been probed by something. By the way, the Alien Phallus was, aptly, to have been located close to the British Interplanetary Society’s building in Vauxhall.

Given the Alien Phallus‘s rather obvious masculinity, surely referring to it as “it” would be just a fallacy (excuse the pun). So in the same vein (no pun intended), if the planned erection (another pun) ever does get built, then you might want to refer to this building as a “he”, as in “he sure is an ugly Alien Phallus!”

Obviously, now you probably want to see a picture of the said building, but best not do an internet search using the term “Alien Phallus” if we were you.

Instead, see he, she or it below.

The “Alien Phallus” building is unlikely to go ahead. Courtesy: Via Homes & Property

Actually, rather than anything else, your correspondent thinks that the building looks more like a submarine or even a torpedo – perhaps a Photon Torpedo from the StarTrek sci-fi TV series’ USS Enterprise.  Now she really was a good ship!

Perhaps it is just as well the Alien Phallus is not being built or it might get the same treatment the very priapic carved Cerne Abbas Giant chalk man gets in his role as a fertility charm.  According to superstitious folklore, women wanting to get pregnant have to sit on his 35 foot (11 m) long manhood which is visible from space.

The Cerne Abbas giant. Courtesy: Wikipedia

Of course, naughty schoolchildren have long drawn such items for fun as rude graffiti in their exercise books and on desks, etc.  Best of all were the young mischievous wags who used weedkiller to draw a 20 foot long giant phallus on the lawn of the Bellemore School (surely that should be Bell-end?) near Southampton, England. It was apparently visible in the imagery of Earth observation satellites for several years after they did it in 2005, in spite of several attempts at reseeding the lawn (third pun?).

All this reminds your correspondent of the 1970s BBC TV magazine show That’s Life which was fronted by Esther Rantzen. The show was forever displaying vegetables sent in by viewers because they amusingly looked like a penises. Thankfully the show ended before anyone sent in their penis because it (or he or she) looked like a vegetable.

And so a member of the public (pun number four) was thus saved. 🙂