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Fw: Political Correctness

Oct 14, 1996 03:06 PM
by Ann E. Bermingham

> From: BERMINGH <>
> To: Ann E. Bermingham <>
> Subject: Political Correctness
> Date: Monday, October 14, 1996 2:07 PM
> This morning, you and I had the conversation about "political
> as a point of discussion on Theos-L.  I have a comment on the matter that
> maybe you could pass on to them.
> I believe that the term "politically correct" is a kind of cliche'd
> cynicism.  The common interpretation seems to be "ingratiating
> or "excessive and formal social engineering."  I submit, however, that
> existence of this term has been a springboard for confusion and for
> unscruplous behavior.
> I believe that some people have begun to discuss "politically-correct
> speech" as if it were the same as language change, or perception change.
> They are not the same.  When women throughout the world decided they'd
> enough subservience to men, they began to consider the various means by
> which this slavery was kept in place.  Unfortunately for lovers of
> literature and language, it became quickly apparent that male-gender
> expressions were being used for expressions that applied to both sexes,
> to all members of our species; e.g. "before the computer operator starts
> the machine, he must make sure the disk is in the drive", or "for all
> Mankind."
> Some of the solutions people have come up with are good; some awkward,
> some silly.  But I have come to notice that the silly and/or awkward ones
> play nicely into the hands of people who *don't want any changes", in
> words, *men* who want to retain their control over everything.
> I have just been reading a novel from the 1950's, in which there were a
> of male-bias expressions that were not meant as such by the author.  I've
> noticed that in today's popular literature, many of those expressions
> been replaced by neutral-gender counterparts.
> Face it, people; a skilled writer or translator can do a lot to make such
> changes paletable, and many modern writers do so.  The world is changing
> from one of female subservience to one of female equality.  The language
> going to change to suit, whether it's forced or not.
> And as for those control-freaks out there: I have an opinion what they
> do with themselves, and I think a lot of others, both men and women, feel
> the same way.  And we are acting on those feelings, by destroying their
> nice heirarchical (patriarchal) system, and replacing it with one where
> everyone, both men and women, can develop their own lives without begging
> orders from The Top.  This will, no doubt, also change our language in
> and fascinating ways.

-Charles E. Bermingham


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