Date: Tue, 21 Nov 1995 02:23:44 -0500


Subject: Re: PC Language


After reading two student term papers on politically correct language (one

on parody PC and one on serious PC), I am having a hard time distinguishing

between parody and serious intent.

My question, however, has to do with who makes up the body of PC activists.

College professors? Feminists? Special ed teachers? Minority activists?

Males who want to work at Hooters? The super-ego?

Where does this euphemistic/revisionist energy come from?


My best recollection is that the serious pc stuff started with NOW, the National

Organization for Women in the 1970's. When they started in about

Chairman/chairperson etc. For the hardcores they started calling themselves


Even though the Civil Rights movement pre-dated it when they began to insist on

being called black rather than Negro, and then in the late 1980's Afro-American.

This led to the other end of the spectrum like the Aryan nation and skinheads to

the reference of The Mud people.

Then we had short people (formerly known as midgets & dwarfs) transmogrified


"vertically challenged."

Then the serious parody (how's that for an oxymoron) began with "follically


for those with "receding hairlines."

Retarded people, formerly known as mongoloids now have "Downs syndrome."

Idiots who got dumped into the public school system under the Reagan


are now "special education students." Geniuses are in the "gifted program."

Reform school is now vocational school or alternative school.

Jail is now a detention facility. I don't know what they call after school

detention now. The term death penalty is taboo in some circles. Slave labor

is now called

community service or jury duty or the Army or working in a fast food


In England a few years back if you tied faggots together you could take them

home and

build a fire. Today it would get you convicted of a hate crime (or be caled


The town drunk is now a "substance abuser." A 400 pound woman has a "thyroid


Rape in Florida is now called "involuntary sexual battery."

Nobody is dying of AIDS, they are "living with AIDS."

(Saw a bumper sticker the other day: "Senior citizens are the major carrier

of AIDS:

band-aids, hearing aids, hemorrhoid aids, rolaids...")

I never understood why chairman was politically incorrect and chairperson was

ok or that the adamant ones didn't insist on chairperdaughter?

Anyhow, here in Miami the Blacks & Cubans refer to the non-hispanic non


population as "Anglo's (sic)." Needless to say this doesn't sit too well

with Jews, Syrians, Lebanese, Swedes, Palestinians, Italians and especially

the French, all

of whom have some presence here. What formerly were called white people are now


Another item of political incorrectness I have noted over the years is the

deliberate truncating of a name. Senator Bob Dole often does this when

referring to the

Democrat Party. Jewish people are offended when the -ish is dropped and they


the speaker anti-semitic. H. Ross Perot had it handed to him when he referred to

"you people".

In answer to your question, Wayne, the line is drawn at the point where the

person or group requesting the political correctness doesn't have a sense of

humor. If a group

can ask for a sensitivity, they should also be able to laugh at themselves

for having

become a societal stereotype.


Wittgenstein School of the Unwritten Word

Coconut Grove, FLorida