The title of Peggy Noonan’s essay in last week’s Wall Street Journal was “What Were Robespierre’s Pronouns?” Two great paragraphs:
There is the latest speech guide from the academy, the Inclusive Communications Task Force at Colorado State University. Don’t call people “American”, it directs; “This erases other cultures.” Don’t say a person is mad or a lunatic, call him “surprising/wild” or “sad”. “Eskimo”, “freshman” and “illegal alien” are out. “You guys” should be replaced by “all/folks”. Don’t say “male” or “female”, say “man”, “woman”, or “gender non-binary”.
In one way it’s the nonsense we’ve all grown used to, but it should be said that there’s an aspect of self-infatuation, of arrogance, in telling people they must reorder the common language to suit your ideological preferences. There is something mad in thinking you should control the names of things. Or perhaps I mean surprising/wild. [emphasis mine]
I am fighting back against the speech police and their insistence upon controlling our language. What are you doing?Published in