Aussie language under threat from Google?

In New Zealand, they are called jandals; in Latin America, it’s sandal; and in the United States, flip flops. But it is the Australian name, thongs, that has sent Google AdSense in a spin and in a NoSense move it has label my blog “adult” and containing “lewd” content.

Presumably an automated word search has made this decision, but with no contact details available to appeal, it seems Google has unilaterally decided that Australians must abandon their language and adopt American English.

As a child I knew thongs by no other name and only discovered the “lewdness” when on a university exchange in the USA. But then I thought the “fanny bag” was the funniest and rudest phrase to casually throw around at the dinner table. In Australia, “fanny” is the female anatomy rather than the bottom. I wonder if, in the spirit of linguistic diversity, Google has added “fanny” to its banned word.

Linguistic diversity has been under treat for decades as English has grown in dominance and become the global business language. But it seems that thanks to Google, diversity within the English language is also under threat.

So, I decided, to help educate Google on what Aussie Thongs look like, I would photograph my thongs in stunning locations as I travelled. This is what greeted me on day 1 of my protest: a 2000 year old fertility site……. The irony.


So why am I so wedded to the p*rn*graphic blog name?
If someone asked me what would be the three clothing items I could not travel without, it would be my boots, thongs and sarong. I think I could almost travel with just those three items. Anyone up for taking the challenge?

Hiking Acatenango with my boots, and my sarong providing sun protection

Hiking Acatenango with my boots and my sarong providing sun protection

You can travel via boot pretty much anywhere. Whether through mud, rain, mountains, cobblestone streets or to keep your feet warm, boots will take you there in comfort.

Thongs are the perfect warm weather shoe, are crucial equipment to save you from nasty things in communal showers, necessary for the beach and look great in a dress or skirt (yep, they are my party shoe). As a climber, I wouldn’t survive on the crag (rock) for too long without allowing my feet to escape my climbing shoes for thongs.

And the sarong: This is no longer female clothing with many of my male friends also discovering the travel wonder that is the sarong. It is a dress, short skirt, long skirt, towel, picnic blanket, sun protection, mobile air-conditioner (just wet and add wind or fan), hair tie, shawl, a mobile change room – the list goes on.

So Google NoSense, no I am not changing my blog name. You need to adopt some cultural sensitivity and celebrate the world’s linguistic diversity not block, ban or homogenise it.

Note: Wikipedia lists thongs as also being known as pluggers, go-aheads, slaps, slides, step-ins, chankla. Are there any names that don’t sound lewd?