Several shades of Gray

Posted: 31-August-2009 in Rants
Tags: , , ,

Equality rules

Equality rules

It’s hardly original to equate our obsession with being politically correct with Nineteen Eighty-Four Big-Brother-ish IngSoc NewSpeak. But because I’ve recently picked up New Labour’s Operating Manual George Orwell’s “masterpiece of political speculation” and started re-reading it, things are jumping to the front of my conscious again. When Syme says:

“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to …  make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it”,

what jumped to my mind was this.

The idea that the words “black” or “white” somehow subliminally bring out the racist is us is insulting to anyone who has a spare braincell or two to rub together. When I worked in the Pizza Shop I first came across the “fact” that it wasn’t the done thing to offer black or white tea and coffee. Even then I thought that it was utterly ludicrous. In fact, what seems to be the case is that, whenever another of these self-righteous jackasses clamber above the wall and tell us, in ringing tones, that to say that it was a black day for X when Y happened, when you should be saying that it was a miserable day, brings out a vicious, properly racist streak in many people commenting on the story online – and a grinding of the teeth of normal people.

Possibly even worse is the way that “-man” and “-men” is being replaced with gender-neutral words instead. My line of work is at sea and there is a quiet but insistent movement to have the word seaman replaced with “seafarer” because women work at sea too. Again, from the story linked twice above already, replacing “mastering a subject” with “perfecting a subject” is pointless and plain confusing. If people were actually taught how to read properly and actually understood any of the language they are supposed to be talking, the difference between a Master (as in a man in charge) and mastery of an art should be relatively clear.

Another thing: the word “man” is gender-neutral when used in examples such as seaman and chairman. Our species is Man. A quick jump across to a dictionary comes up with

2. a member of the species Homo Sapiens or all the members of this species collectively, without regard to sex: prehistoric man

3. the human individual as representing the species, without reference to sex; the human race; mankind: man hopes for peace, but prepares for war

4. a human being; person: to give man a chance; when the audience smelled smoke, it was every man for himself

To say anything different is to corrupt our language and make thoughtcriminals out of normal people.

Oh, and don’t get me started on that horrible little ginger sexist witch Harriet Harman, who seems to believe that (to paraphrase Orwell’s (yes, him again) FREEDOM IS SLAVERY) EQUALITY REQUIRES DISCRIMINATION.

2. a member of the species Homo sapiens or all the members of this species collectively, without regard to sex: prehistoric man.
3. the human individual as representing the species, without reference to sex; the human race; humankind: Man hopes for peace, but prepares for war.
4. a human being; person: to give a man a chance; When the audience smelled the smoke, it was every man for himself.
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