Language Is a Funny Game

Technology in its natural environment. (Monte Dutton photo)
Technology in its natural environment. (Monte Dutton photo)

Political correctness. It’s nothing new.

It’s why you walk into a convenience store and ask the lady at the register where the restrooms are.

Restrooms, huh?

It’s why a prison is part of the Department of Corrections. Not prisons. Corrections.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

The War Between the States was politically correct. Not the war. It was awful. The terminology was a compromise between people who were uncomfortable with “civil” on one side and “Northern Aggression” on the other.

Hmm. Let’s call it the …. uh … War Between the States. That’ll work.

              But, uh, doesn’t that make it sound like all the battles were on the borderlines?

              Shut up, Schuyler.

Far be be it from me (politically correct term) to analyze other languages — Latin is the only one I’ve ever studied — but the English language is wonderfully adaptable to “pussyfooting” around, or at least it was until “pussyfooting” was deemed indelicate and started being replaced by words like “tiptoeing.”

The current rise may be a result of the social media, which is where people complain about privacy while telling the whole world everything about themselves.

Many are those who use terms to water down the terrible things they say (or post, or tweet) about others. One is “just sayin.'”

              He’s a shameless ingrate. #justsayin.

              He’s the worst person in the world. #justsayin.

              State would’ve won if the refs hadn’t cheated. #justsayin.

Mixed messages.  (Monte Dutton photo)
Mixed messages. (Monte Dutton photo)

Among English’s damnable qualities is that it changes over time, based on misuse. Earlier this year, it became officially acceptable — dictionarily! — to say “literal” and mean “figurative.” So many people said one while meaning the other that the language has deemed it acceptable. Now “literal” means, well, anything.

Misspell “judgment” as “judgement” long enough and it becomes acceptable. I thought about this the other day while watching the movie Judgment at Nuremberg. The English spell certain words differently than Americans — “honour” instead of “honor,” for instance, or “romanticise” instead of “romanticize” — because, well, we Americans love to tinker. We love to combine “horrible” and “terrific” and make “horrific.” We take “fantastic” and “fabulous” and come up with “fantabulous.”

It’s why the Brits think us uncouth. They are right. We are uncouth. We could care less, even though we couldn’t.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

              My novels aren’t politically correct. Ask anyone who’s read them, or better yet, see for yourself.



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