We Are Our Language and I Want Mine Back

by Jane Gaffin

WHITEHORSE Kanuckistan - I felt like a teenager. I was beaming over a new business venture struck with a fellow lover of lex. Christopher and I don't live in the same jurisdictions, which makes us dependents on Internet and the telephone to shrink the 2,000-mile gap between us.

One afternoon, I was offered a ride home. The driver owns a magazine I occasionally submit historical mining pieces. In the course of general blab, he noted not seeing any articles by me lately and was curious what I was doing.

"Oh, I've partnered up with somebody," I enthused.

Sam's head pivoted around to look at me in complete astonishment. "You mean you're shacked up? he blurted.

"Sam", I said, "you only think that because our language has been hi-jacked."

Sam was truly perplexed as to exactly what kind of a relationship I had with this mystery "partner". Was it a man or was it a woman? I didn't explain. Why should I have to? We are both fluent in English. We should have been communicating. But we weren't.

His confusion is understandable in an age when the "politically correct" are getting by with junking our language. And I'm as mad about these loopy busybodies redefining age-old definitions as was of our mutual friends.

In 1995, the late Don Sawatsky decided in an ingenius newspaper column that it was past time to correct the politically correct.

Sawatsky began: An old grump who goes by the handle of Hans Schmidt managed to talk Vanvouver's town fathers on the Lower Mainland to pass a law prohibiting the mobile ice cream dispensers from playing, chimes or other little tunes to attract kids to their ice cream trade.

"You can buy ice cream anywhere," Herr Schmidt sniped. "You don't need bells, chimes or little tunes played on your ice cream wagon."

  Schmidt is a spokesman -- spokesperson -- spoke -- for a six-member organization called the Right to a Quiet Society. That figures.

Actually, if Schmidt is so wild about having total silence in a society the size of Vancouver , maybe he could have set an example by keeping his trap shut.

Maybe he could take up a hobby like solving the big riddle: If a tree falls in the forest, and Herr Schmidt isn't there, will be hear it?

(I'm not sure if that's how it goes, but you get the idea.)

Anyway, that's just another example of the evil era of political correctness and fine example of how to whine and cry and get politicians with no balls to do what you want, no matter how silly and negative it might be to other folks who have better things to do their lives.

Actually, this little example isn't so far from left field. We in the, Canadians from coast to coast to coast and, in fact, poor in numerous countries throughout what we laughingly call the civilized world, have been putting up with this sort of censorship righteous bullying for years now.

The English language--as well as other forms of expression--have a licking from these self-appointed myopic moralists for so now, people hardly know what to say or who to say it to.

Institutions of higher learning have been particularly hardest hit because professors of political science, history or philosophy are terrified of losing their jobs if they open a discussion into anything that touches on human existence or literature of anything that might be considered sexist, racist or simply touching on historical fact.

We have "language guides" and someone on hand to correct you if you use a word that somebody doesn't like.

You aren't bald anymore. You are follicularly challenged. Fishing is considered rape of the earth's waters.

Slums are substandard housing. If you fail at something you didn't flunk , you achieved a deficiency.

Don't you dare compliment someone on their appearance because you can be hauled up in front of a whole team of newspeak advocates on a charge of harassment.

Some people are hoping--perhaps vainly--that political correctness is finally, mercifully, on the way out.

Others are convinced it still has a time to run before people finally get fed up with getting jerked around every time someone wants to say something.

It's not whether the pendulum will swing back. It's a matter of when.

Well, Don, we're still waiting for the pendulum to swing back. It hasn't. So, it's time we made it happen. It's time to reclaim our hi-jacked language.

And I'm starting right here: "Christopher and I are partners." Read into it what you will. If you think we are "shacked up", so be it. But get one thing real straight. I don't wash his socks.

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