2005's Politically Incorrect Words/Phrases
laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Dec 22 16:58:54 UTC 2005
>Caution: this website has a ton of pop-ups.
>The Top Politically inCorrect Words and Phrases for 2005:
>1. Misguided Criminals for Terrorist: The BBC attempts to strip away all
>emotion by using what it considers 'neutral' descriptions when describing
>those who carried out the bombings in the London Tubes. The rub:
>intent of these 'misguided criminals' was to kill, without warning, as many
>innocents as possible (which is the common definition for the term,
>2. Intrinsic Aptitude (or lack thereof) was a suggestion by Lawrence
>Summers, the president of Harvard, on why women might be underrepresented in
>engineering and science. He was nearly fired for his speculation.
>3. Thought Shower or Word Shower substituting for brainstorm so as not to
>offend those with brain disorders such as epilepsy.
>4. Scum or "la racaille" for French citizens of Moslem and North African
>descent inhabiting the projects ringing French Cities. France's Interior
>Minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, used this most politically inCorrect (and
>label to describe the young rioters (and by extension all the inhabitants of
>5. Out of the Mainstream when used to describe the ideology of any political
>opponent: At one time slavery was in the mainstream, thinking the sun
>orbited the earth was in the mainstream, having your blood sucked
>out by leeches
>was in the mainstream. What's so great about being in the mainstream?
>6. Deferred Success as a euphemism for the word 'fail'. The Professional
>Association of Teachers in the UK considered a proposal to replace any notion
>of failure with 'deferred success' in order to bolster students' '
>7. Womyn for Women to distance the word from 'man'. This in spite of the
>fact that the term 'man' in the original Indo-European is gender neutral (as
>have been its successors for some 5,000 years).
>8. C.E. for A.D.: Is the current year A.D. 2005 or 2005 C.E.? There is a
>movement to strip A.D. (Latin for Year of our Lord) from the year designation
>used in the West since the 5th century and replace it with the supposedly
>more neutral Common Era (though the zero reference year for the beginning of
>the Common Era remains the year of Christ's birth).
>9. "God Rest Ye Merry Persons" for "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen": A
>Christmas, eh, Holiday, carol with 500 years of history is not
>enough to sway the
>Anglican Church at Cardiff Cathedral (Wales) from changing the original
>10. Banning the word Mate: the Department of Parliamentary Services in
>Canberra issued a general warning to its security staff banning the
>use of the
>word 'mate' in any dealings they might have with both members of the
>and the public. What next? banning Down Under so as not to offend those
>living in the 'Up Over'.
>Holiday Bonus: Happy Holidays or Season's Greetings for Christmas (which in
>some UK schools now label Wintervale. (In the word X-Mas, the Greek letter '
>Chi" represented by the Roman X actually stands for the first two letters of
>the name Christ.)
>Last year the Top Politically Incorrect words were: Los Angeles County's
>insistence of covering over with labels any computer networking
>mention master/slave jargon. Following closely were non-same sex marriage
>for marriage, and waitron for waiter or waitress.
I've always preferred "mixed-sex marriage" for the retronym here.
And "waitron" has certainly been kicking around for over a
decade--bit of a time lag here. Note also the interesting (but not
particularly novel) application of the etymological fallacy above in
the exegesis of item #7: "man" has been gender-neutral for 5000
years [! --I wonder what their evidence is for that], therefore it's
really gender-neutral now. I'm also not quite clear on the notion
of political incorrectness employed here: are "waitron", "womyn"
(also not particularly hot off the press), etc. supposed to be
politically *in*correct? I give up.
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