By Harry Parmenter
After reading Doug’s Rant a few weeks ago about the PC police cracking down on the word “owner,” I picked my jaw up off the floor and decided to share some other words I’ve learned are now verboten; that is if you fear the PC police, which you should NOT.
First, however, I wondered exactly who are the people making these rules? Academics? Left-wing pundits? Random crackpots? The media? The inverted pyramid (“Who/What/When/Where/Why”) that used to form the backbone of journalism school has been erased and replaced by agenda driven opines masquerading as news, and this politically correct drivel has probably sprung from there as well.
So, again, thanks to Doug. I now know that my wife and I are the “managing partners” of our home. That makes the bank holding our mortgage the racist “owner.” I want MY reparations!
Recently I was in a meeting where we had to strike the word “freshman” from a speech because it is not gender neutral. This was the day before I walked into a Manhattan theatre to find a sign outside the men’s room encouraging me to use the bathroom I most identified with, i.e. I could just sail into the ladies room with my deep voice, five o’clock shadow and a pithy “Hello, ladies!” I kid you not. And, literally, as I was drafting this, I got an email telling me someone’s new post-op byline is (names changed) Emma Tom Van Wicklen. But I digress.
Let’s test your PC vocabulary, as well as your memory about anyone or anything in history that can be construed as racist (Kate Smith, Confederate Army, Robert C. Lee Parkway) while we give Castro, Mao Tse Tung and t-shirt idol Che Guevara a free pass.
Is the italicized word or phrase below allowed in today’s America? YES or NO?
“Bernie’s a real basket case.” NO. Demeans the mentally ill. And don’t even think about “retarded.” But you knew that.
“Root for the Giants? No can do.” NO. Mocks Chinese people learning to speak English.
“That guy at the mall gypped me!” NO. Implies root word expansion “gypsies” are tramps and thieves. Cher beware. By the way, if you’ve been to Italy in the last 30 years you know gypsies are shifty, to say the least.
“Reading the Gazette every week…that’s just a rule of thumb.” NO. The phrase “rule of thumb” connotes domestic violence. This makes me love the Rolling Stones even more for continuing to perform “Under My Thumb.”
“They grandfathered in Jakes’ Way to Canyon Country.” NO. It’s something to do with an 1867 southern voting act benefitting white people.
“They had to send the paddy wagon over to Jake’s Way again.” NO. “Paddy wagon” disparages the Irish and infers they are all drunks who wind up in the paddy wagon. (I am Irish and just said “paddy wagon” ten times in a row and nothing happened.
“That bookstore clerk really sold me down the river recommending the former First Lady’s book.” NO. Slavery. Mark Twain would never find a publisher today for “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” or “Huckleberry Finn,” two seminal novels in American literature.
“She just got hysterical when she couldn’t download the hot yoga app.” NO. Anti-woman.
“Hey you! That’s right, you! You’re a moron!” NO. Cruel.
“And you’re an imbecile, too!” NO. Bullying.
“Eenie, meenie, miney, mo…” Don’t even go there.
When will it end? Never. When did it start? I actually think the morphing of the word “gay” with its joyful connotations from “the gay ‘90s” and “have a gay old time” to a word defining homosexuality was pivotal. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Words change meaning over time (“sick” now equals “cool,” “awesome,” etc.) as language evolves. But random rules about what common words and phrases can or can’t be uttered are just silly. Again, don’t know where they’re coming from but guessing some freshman took ownership and started saying no can do as a rule of thumb, refused to grandfather anyone out of the paddy wagon and sold them down the river to some hysterical, imbecilic moron.
Just say NO to the PC Police.