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Is this a 'Misguided Column?'

Is this a 'Misguided Column?'

Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2005

On Wednesdays, rather than rehashing a news story, I reprint one of my old columns. I've got 15 years' worth of the damn things, so there's no point in letting them sit moldering in a box in my garage. At least not the good ones. This one is from December 2005.

We're nearing the end of 2005, and I want to wish everyone a belated Merry Wintervale.

What's that? You don't know what Wintervale is? That's what some schools in the United Kingdom are calling Christmas. Apparently, "happy holiday" and "season's greetings" weren't soulless and sterile enough, so they came up with that little winter winner instead.

Apparently, the PC simps didn't like the fact that "holiday" stems from "holy day," and they didn't want to be "greeted" by anyone either. So school administrators kowtowed to them in an attempt to be inclusive, thereby excluding everyone.

You can find this, and more infuriating bits of Political Correctness, at the Global Language Monitor website. The GLM is a Political Correctness watchdog — excuse me, security animal companion — that keeps track of the linguistic decisions made by idiots — excuse me, bureaucrats — around the world. They recently released their "Top 10 list of Politically inCorrect Words and Phrases" to warn everyone of the creeping menace that is tightening its grip on the globe — excuse me, becoming more popular.

Before you think that this form of insanity is limited to UK school administrators only, consider the Anglican Church in Cardiff, Wales. At number nine on the list, they had their robes in a bunch about the Christmas — excuse me, Wintervale — carol "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," because it excluded 50% of their congregation.

So they changed the song to "God Rest Ye Merry Persons" — or as it's sung, "God Rest Ye Merry Peeeerrrrrsons." Let's just hope the UK school system doesn't get involved, lest it become "Faith-Based Higher Power Rest Ye Persons of Varying and Independently-Chosen Moods."

It may be a little over the top, but you do have to admire a gesture like that from a church that a couple hundred years ago, wouldn't even allow women to speak or hold positions of power.

Topping the 2005 list is the British Broadcasting Corporation and their use of the term "misguided criminals" instead of "terrorists."

"The BBC attempts to strip away all emotion by using what it considers neutral descriptions," said the website. Apparently they didn't want to offend the terrorists who killed 52 people in the London bombings this past July by expressing outrage and emotion over it.

Two other UK entries on the list were also the subject of Laughing Stalk columns this past year. Number three: Ireland's use of the term "thought showers," instead of "brainstorm, "so it wouldn't offend people with epilepsy. And at number six, a British school teacher's attempt to replace the word "failure" with "deferred success" so as not to embarrass students who didn't pass exams. Luckily that one was deemed "deferred intelligent," and so was never implemented.

And despite my own best efforts, the use of the word "womyn" instead of "women" (number seven) has become more widespread. It's a way for anti-man feminists to distance themselves from their Y-chromosome counterparts. However, there is still no indication on what the pro-womyn faction wants to do about the word "menace," "manual labor," or "menstrual cramp."

Of course, if the use of the word "womyn" becomes more acceptable, I'll be "out of the mainstream" on that one, which is convenient since that's number five on the list. The phrase is used to describe anyone who disagrees with you politically or otherwise. But as GLM reminds us, at one point in history "having your blood sucked out by leeches was in the mainstream."

In fact, they used leeches as far back as the mid-1700s A.D, which is now called C.E. That's right, there's a movement to stop using A.D., which means Anno Domini (Latin for "Year of Our Lord"). They want to replace it with the less religiously charged C.E., which means Common Era (Latin for "bunch of whiny babies").

Since A.D. refers to the year Jesus Christ was born, the C.E. camp doesn't want to offend the non-Christians. What has escaped them, is that regardless of what you call it, we're still referring to the fact that it's now 2005 years since Jesus was born.

Some might say the C.E. people are just being a bunch of pathetic, knee-jerk malcontents — excuse me, activists — who are desperately searching for something to whine about — excuse me, a cause to support. If they were truly committed to the idea, they would stop using the Western calendar altogether. Let them use the Jewish, Chinese, or Mayan calendar instead. If they really want to remove Christian influences from the calendar, let them start writing 5766 on their checks and see what the banks say. Then we'll see who's committed.

You could argue the same is true for the womyn whyners: if they truly had a good argument about not using words with man, men, or male as the root word, they would change every single word they used that had anything masculine in the word, not just one.

I don't have all the answers. At least not yet. But don't consider me a deferred success. Just let me give them some thought showers, and with any luck, I'll have an idea by next Wintervale that will be not be out of the mainstream.

In the meantime, God Rest Ye Merry Peeeerrrrrsons.

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  1. Let nothing ye dismay? You might enjoy our post on The Non-Language of Offices from earlier this year.

  2. Interesting. I only remember one city, Birmingham (the UK's second largest city), using "Winterval" (not "Wintervale", a combination of "Winter" and "Interval") c 2000. I don't recollect anyone else using it, and not any schools. Of course I could be wrong.

    I lived in Birmingham at the time and the city council became the laughing stock of the nation for doing it. The posters were quickly pulled--I didn't see them anywhere by the time it actually got to Christmas.

    This was an isolated incident, the action of a slightly deranged city council which is famous for doing stupid things that make everyone else laugh and point at them. E.g. they also removed all apostrophes from street signs because they were worried they might confuse people.


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