Sunday, September 04, 2011

The art of paraphrasing and sanitizing words

We feel we are going out on a limb here.  But we will.  We just feel the urge to jump in!

Well, at least, we'll try...

Have we gone totally nuts?  (Yes we have).  Hand sanitizers are everywhere (Yep! Even there).  The culture of fear has struck again.  We are so afraid that we feel the obligation to sanitize, if not sterilize, everything.  Even if clean sounds positive, there is a downside to it.

Hand sanitizers kill almost any and all of bacteria. This may sound good, but it’s not. There are also many dangers that come with the use hand sanitizers. Probably the worst danger is that hand sanitizers are killing the good bacteria we need to fight disease, stripping us of some of our natural defences against other infections. In other words, one day we may die of the most benign infection. Again, aiming for short term results.

And since everything has to be squeaky clean, might as well clean our language too.  Let’s take out everything that sounds “offensive” out of our vocabulary.  And we are not talking about racial slurs and vulgar language.  We are talking about a vocabulary that was socially accepted not so long ago.  Words.  Conventionally conceived and accepted by a huge majority

For example, not so long ago, the word “handicapped” was used and accepted by society.  Well, it turns out that it has been changed to “disabled”.  Then it has morphed to “physically challenged”.  And, as if it wasn’t enough, it could soon be replaced by “differently abled”.  What?  Really

According to the Merriam-Webster, “handicapped” meanshaving a physical or mental disability”.  So, how do you call a black person with a minor mental handicap?  A differently, more often than not, mentally abled African-American person? Or why not an insignificantly mentally challenged African-American person?  What?  Come again?  Why not tell the nature of the disability, while we are at it?

The result: a differently, more often than not, mentally abled, namely suffering from the Dysthymia Syndrome, African-American person.

That’s what we call paraphrasing...on the verge of a curriculum vitae.  And please, don’t get us wrong.  We are not mocking people with disabilities.  It’s all about conventions.  A long time ago, a person decided that we would call a chair, a chair.  We could have called it a table.  But we chose otherwise.  Does it mean that people with disabilities “are” their disabilities?  Of course not!  But to simplify our vocabulary and discussions, saying “a black mentally handicapped man” would do the job.  Intelligent people would understand.  Ignorant Nutcases will never know better, political correctness or not.

Is he really black?  No.  But we know what it means, because of conventions.  We are not white either.  We are sort of beige.  And we are not too fond of the “Caucasian” term that sounds like a disease.

Why do we do this?  To make it look squeaky clean.  We just want to pretend things we don't like don't exist.  It’s like make believe for adults.  “No! No! He’s not handicapped...he’s differently abled”.  If we were missing two legs, we would slap the person, just for saying that.  The legs would still be missing, beautiful words or not.  Beautiful words won’t make them grow.

So much for the saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”.

And what if this spreads to other sectors of our vocabulary?  For example: “we strongly suggest that you engage sexual intercourse with yourself” (Go f... yourself).

We vote in favour of applying that to new actors in our beloved Modern Circus.  A very popular news subject: The financial advisor.  The new politically correct term could be “self financing, with money belonging to honest and hard working people, without their consent, to play Casino, Wall Street Style, and most of the time, not returning the money, or much less, on top of taking a fee for the operation”.

How much “excrement from the male of a cow” (bullshit) can we take?  We live in a difficult, cruel, violent and unjust world.  Do we help our children to prepare for it adequately by sanitizing everything?  Do we help them by pretending everything is fair, fine and dandy?  By telling them it’s not important to win (win the race at getting a job, a client, a parking spot or, even an apartment in some crowded cities)?

You can call us red baldy.  Our auburn hair is thinning.  We would not be offended.  We would get the drift.  A little sense of humor coupled with accepting one’s situation help.  And could you believe that at the same time, Ebonics and Hip Hop lingo are doing the exact opposite of political correctness.  Isn’t it ironic, biatch!!

New Character(s) brought to this Blog: none.
This week’s lucky number: 3+4 = yes…7 again.
Personal message: To the woman standing in line in front of us at the supermarket cashier for 12 items or less, with at least 50 items in her shopping cart: “You will burn in hell for that”
Quote of the week: I swear to Drunk, I’m not God!” – An anonymous guy that woke up with a headache.
To do: dedramatize any problem or situation (strip it to what it really is).
Rejected name for a song: Come on Irene (instead of Come on Eileen)
Bad choice of a rock band name: The Defective Condoms.
Love letters, comments, opinions and complaints:

1 comment:

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