Oldthinker Bellyfeel Unplusgood “Proofredress”.

Mona Charen, a Columnist over at Townhall.com, recently expressed her exception to Apple’s implementation of the proofreader in their “Pages” application: She feels the feature is so gender-neutral  it “Seems to have been designed and programmed by the women’s studies department at Cupertino community college.” Consequently, she’s named the feature “Proofreadress“.

Her comments got me thinking: In our country’s long march towards societal enlightenment through politically correct language, we’ve embraced succumbed to such phrases as “letter carriers” (not “mailmen” – that word’s sexist not once but twice!), “undocumented workers” (not “illegal aliens” – why, that insults Martians!), and “workforce realignment” (not “firings” – we need to consider possible fragile egos!). Other examples abound.

I suspect the neutralization of gender-specific language might just be the first step in an Orwellian march towards the goal of a language purged of any ability to offend. To that end, I humbly offer a list of phrases I’m sure will eventually appear in proofreading programs and dictionaries everywhere – as taken from the yet-to-be-released Government publication “U. S. Uniformly Regulated Popular English Dictionary”, 1st Ed.

Current Phrase Federally-Mandated Replacement
black eye periorbital ecchymosis
Black Friday “Fair Profit” Friday
black-eyed peas physically-abused peas, aka: “periorbital ecchymosis” peas
brown out energy conservation
Fishkill, NY Fish Creek, NY
Froot Loops® “Empty-Calorie Tooth-Decaying Rings of Death”®
gaiety happiness
Indian Summer life-threatening climate change
Mexican standoff Israeli-Palestinian relations
red skies at night mostly Pantone 032 skies
red tape consumer protection
pink slip career-change certificate
Purple Rain (unintelligible symbols)
yellow journalism Fox News
White Christmas deprecated snow holiday

Ms. Charen’s comments reminded me of George Orwell’s book “1984″, where he describes the creation of “Newspeak”:

“You think, I dare say, that our chief job is inventing new words. But not a bit of it! We’re destroying words — scores of them, hundreds of them, every day….It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words….Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten.”

BTW: The title, in Newspeak, roughly translates to “A person who clings to obsolete means of thought feels extremely bad about the product ‘Proofredress’ “.

Update, 03.31.12: Looks like the New York City Dept. of Education is considering moving closer “towards the goal of a language purged of any ability to offend” by banning 50 common words and concepts from standardized school tests.

Update, 05.07.12: Scotland Yard has apparently banned IT employees from using the words “blacklist” and “whitelist”, suggesting they “red list” and “green list” instead.

Thanks for reading!

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