Another Write-wing Conspirator

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  • Welcome to The Curmudgeon’s lair

    Welcome to my curmudgeondom. As you’ll soon learn, your reactions to my missives here are likely to range from fear to loathing to tears to outright rage—and I just might even evoke from you an occasional sober nod or two.

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    The purpose of this blog is simple: to provide me a vehicle for sounding-off on whatever topic suits me at the moment. While there’s sure to be no shortage of politically-oriented palaver here, it is by no means all (nor necessarily even most) of what will be proffered to your discerning mind. You’ll also find that my personal politics, ethics, morals, and standards are pretty much “all over the map” (according to my mother-in-law)—so, don’t be surprised to see rants regarding, say, the interference of churches in politics, politically-correct anything, “nanny” laws, taxes, the United Nations, Congress, the Commissioner of Baseball, the State of Ohio’s speed limits, steroids, Jesse Jackson, the “mainstream” media, ultra-liberals, ultra-conservatives, the price of cigarettes, Obamarxism, regulating sales of alcohol, gasoline price manipulation, Muslim foot baths, illegal immigration, laws banning the sale of adult sex toys, cell phones, heavy-handed cops, meddlesome politicians, Hillary, Billary, our all-but-self-proclaimed uncrowned Queen Nancy, “W”, eminent domain, freedom of speech, and the designated hitter all in succession. It is, as I said, my curmudgeondom — and I have the credentials and bona fides to lay claim to the title of The Curmudgeon. So, there.

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    Armchair philosopher, politically-incorrect political commentator, raconteur, retired air traffic controller, dilettante truck driver, US Army veteran, recluse, sometime-writer, redneck convert neè Buckeye, ne'er-do-well, bon vivant, unrepentant libertine, unapologetic libertarian, and (of course) curmudgeon…

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Of Sticks and Stones—and the “N” word

Posted by The Curmudgeon on February 10, 2010

No; the other “N” word.

Recently, the Obama regime’s First Bully and Enforcer — that would be White House attack poodle Rahm “Rahmbo” Emanuel (apologies to poodles everywhere) — ironically learned a hard lesson about the liberal left’s agenda: it sometimes cuts both ways.

It seems that while delivering one of his trademark diatribes, he used the word “retarded” to describe his audience; not surprisingly, this transgression didn’t play well in a world where a form of “Newspeak” (yes; that “N” word) has steadily gained ground. (For the record…yeah, the writer is aware of the true nature of “Newspeak” in the Orwellian sense; however, the term has — as have so many other words — acquired a more generic meaning since its introduction.) In this never-ending euphemization and re-inventing of the language, “retarded” was actually discarded quite some time ago. (In truth, one might suspect that Rahmbo already knew this; almost unnoticed was the “f– – –ing” descriptor that immediately preceded the “retarded” epithet—which he probably didn’t want to be common knowledge, either.) While not considered as offensive as the “N” word that the reader probably expected to encounter in this posting, it nonetheless draws universal condemnation.

We’ve characteristically employed euphemisms to soften harsh messages; it long ago became common practice, for example, for hospital personnel to refer to the recently departed as having “expired” as opposed to saying that they died. (Even Psycho‘s Norman Bates noted that his mother “…isn’t herself today”—though that actually had more than one meaning.) It was understandable and accepted to say that a child was “held back” a grade in school rather than “she failed.” A snot-nosed brat was still a snot-nosed brat, but we referred to him in polite conversation as “high-spirited” or “rambunctious.” Even that “retarded” stigma was typically cushioned by substituting “slow” or even “special.” We generally regarded this as tactful and diplomatic, with the best of intentions (though we also scowled when the government tried to supplant “tax” with “revenue enhancement” several years ago).

More recently, however, the aim(s) of this practice shifted.

Now, the schoolgirl is more likely to be described as having “achieved a deficiency” (though she actually failed to achieve much of anything—which is why she was held back).

For reasons that range from countering stigmatization to reshaping our very thoughts, we’re constantly bombarded with an ever-changing array of new terms — a new “Newspeak,” as it were — that’s impacted education, the law, and social interaction to a degree that we once considered inconceivable. Whether done under the banner of political correctness or with the intent of political manipulation, no one is impervious to its effects.

Remember all those acts of terrorism through the years? They’re now officially referred to as “man-made disasters.” (Indeed, the Obama regime for months doggedly avoided using the label “terrorist” at all…a policy that finally changed when a man-made disaster “enabler” — or whatever parlance was used — stuffed the crotch of his skivvies with explosives.)

If you’re heterosexual, it’s acceptable for others to characterize you as “hetero”; referring to a homosexual as “homo,” however, is considered “hate speech”—and actually calling him “homo” or “fag” or “fairy” or “queer” (unless, presumably, the speaker is also a supporter of the homosexual-activist organization “Queer Nation”) is a prosecutable “hate crime” in some jurisdictions (with others no doubt soon to follow). Such detestable speech will also result in one being awarded the misapplied label “homophobe” (misapplied because “phobia” means “fear”—and fear is not the universal impetus driving moral objections to homosexual activity). One is also considered homophobic for resisting the expansion of “gay rights” in any way or for any reason. (It is not sufficient, by the way, to merely believe that what consenting adults do in private is their own business; we’re now exhorted to “celebrate diversity” and “embrace multiculturalism” — whatever that means…if not merely a repackaging of political correctness — in pretty much every area from ethnicity to sexual preference to gender.)

The word “blackmail” has recently come under attack; though the term dates from 16th century Scotland, it’s now viewed as disparaging to blacks—who by and large are no longer black, anyway, but African-American (whether their ancestors were African or not; apparently, pigmentation is the determining factor). Similarly, some now criticize equating black with mourning, evil, or criminality for likewise somehow denoting a latent racism of sorts (though there’s been no corresponding attempt to stamp-out the expressions “white collar crime” and “white lie” as being hurtful to those with lighter skin. Gee.).

Given that “retarded” is now a forbidden word, one can only wonder how long it will take before telling someone “You’re crazy” will result in having the speaker branded a “hate criminal” (or however the Newspeak mavens categorize such malfeasants). Is “stupid” on the endangered list? Surely “moron” and “idiot” are soon to follow(?) For that matter, isn’t “brat” equally at risk? After the most recent popularization wears off, “bitch” may also be viewed askance. Since prostitutes are now commonly referred to as “sex workers,” what’s to become of “whore,” “hooker,” and “strumpet?” One can only imagine what fate awaits those who dare to refer to a real whack-job as “loony.” Will all those old “Looney Tunes” cartoons be banned? Will the mad, demented, deranged, loco, bonkers, nutty lunatics be our next protected group?

Nor is it enough to merely eschew specific offensive words. Recall a few years back that at least two people in separate highly-publicized incidents were castigated for using the word “niggardly” simply because it sounded too much like a reviled term (though it is entirely unrelated to skin color). Similarly, there was the infamous “water buffalo” incident at the University of Pennsylvania.

Speaking of universities…they’re pretty much in the vanguard of the re-shaping of both speech and thought. Many have “speech codes”—though they’ve largely discovered to their dismay that such controls don’t have a good track record when contested in the courts. Yet.

Language is not static. It evolves. Words come and go, their relative popularity or obscurity fluctuating with the times. What was yesterday’s “buzz word” is tomorrow’s archaic castaway. We temper the trends with commonly-accepted standards.

And we somehow manage to communicate—usually with only a minimum of rancor. We know that there are “fightin’ words” that are pretty much guaranteed to prompt…well, a fight. We don’t use them—unless it’s a fight we seek. We know the accepted rule is to “watch your language” around children and those we consider likely to be easily offended. We’re well aware that the “F” word is unwelcome in church and in many social situations. Even comments and jokes known to be “off-color” (or the now-preferred “inappropriate”) either for profanity or for the potential to offend specific groups have long merited a quick glance over the shoulder—though the motivation for doing so seems lately to be more about avoiding the “PC Police”-minded and less about inadvertently offending anyone present.

We’ve long sought that precarious balance between civilized discourse and freedom of speech. No, there is no absolute right to shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater, and “fighting words” are the subject of a series of Supreme Court decisions; on the other hand, freedom of expression was actually expanded over a long period of time, and those aforementioned Supreme Court opinions actually fine-tuned the original decision (Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, which established the “fighting words doctrine”) mostly by narrowing the government’s authority to restrict or regulate speech.

So…what’s different now than, say, two or three generations ago?

The change is essentially twofold: Tempered only by Supreme Court oversight, the determination of what is (and isn’t) acceptable is increasingly institutional, coming as mandates from government, schools, and employers—often in response to pressure applied by activist organizations. More importantly, it isn’t merely a matter of speech or expression; what’s transpiring now is nothing short of social engineering and behavior modification—and blatant brainwashing.

Think back to the widespread campus “unrest” (and sometimes violent demonstrations) of the 1960’s and -70’s, when students railed against “The Establishment.” Follow them through their post-college lives—particularly those who pursued careers in education.

Guess what? Now, they are The Establishment. They’re now the ones making the rules—and they brook no dissent, selectively stifling and promoting thought, speech, and action with a fervor that makes the “old” establishment seem libertine by comparison. They control every level of education from pre-school to post-graduate studies. They set the curriculum. They determine what textbooks will be used. They impose their standards of behavior on students—and they very carefully shape minds. They also have unions and lobbyists.

Other former campus firebrands opted for legal careers. Considering the state of affairs in our courts…need more be said?

And, of course, many gravitated into government and politics. Again…’nuff said.

Allow yourself to return for just a moment to a simpler time in your life. Do you recall the old “Sticks and stones may break my bones” bit that we were taught when someone said something unpleasant to us? Or (for the more learned and refined) recall what Eleanor Roosevelt said about no one being able to make us feel small without our own sanction.

They’re words. Yes, words can hurt—if we allow them to. The experience is not, however, akin to being assaulted with a baseball bat.

Besides…the wholesale revamping of the language is, again, only a part of a much more ambitious agenda to broaden the government’s control of our lives.

And it’s increasingly apparent that “celebrating diversity” and “embracing multiculturalism” are little more than Newspeak euphemisms for “Bend over and grab your ankles.”



5 Responses to “Of Sticks and Stones—and the “N” word”

  1. Lynne Z said

    Strumpet, Jim? Hehe – how Dickonsonian of you. Excellent blog entry. Krauthammer … move over.

  2. Laura said

    Very good posting. The whole thing is absurd.

  3. Rachel said

    I absolutely loved this one. It sparked a very intense, very awesome discussion about language and race with a very open-minded, accepting “african-american” friend of mine =] (who, by the way, calls himself black because ‘he don’t look f-ing african’ ;]).

  4. GrannyLin said

    You are correct. Language evolves. If it stopped growing, it would be a dead language, like Latin, which is exactly why doctors use Latin for prescriptions — there can be no other definitions to Latin words–they are frozen — no confusions. English evolves. And as it evolves, some words become much sharper and more hurtful as their intricate subtleties flourish. You know, the pen is mightier then the sword. Sticks and stones may break bones; cruel words can crush me.

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