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Re: CHAT: Political Correctness

From:John Cowan <cowan@...>
Date:Wednesday, December 23, 1998, 18:36
Thorinn scripsit:

> In what sense is it respectful to say "OK, we're > having a big bash here because of a religious feast, but we're going > to pretend that it's not religious
The tie between Christmas and Christ's mass is as historically unimpeachable as that between Santa Claus and St. Nicholas, but I think it absurd to suppose that American children believe their presents come from a Christian saint and DWM (dead white male :-)). Christmas is now a secular holiday in the U.S., though people who are specifically of a non-Christian background may avoid celebrating it.
> The term was taken up as a form of affectionate ridicule by left-wing > people with a less rigid intellectual stance,
This is where I come in.
> and later (in the US) > applied to the specific US aberration that tries to improve the world > by making people talk nice.
See my previous posting. Whenever I explain to a Merkin of the generation senior to mine (I was born in 1958) that Khrushchev's "We will bury you" simply meant "We will outlast you", (as opposed to "We will obliterate you") I get the astonished response "Nobody told us that at the time: why not?" The "why not" is fairly evident, but the Sapir-Whorf effect of this over-literal translation (for a more recent equivalent, consider "mother of all battles" = "big battle") is equally evident.
> The US right wing may have usurped the term to mean something else, > but it did denote a real phenomenon before that.
Not so much to *mean* something else, but rather to suggest that people who want to change linguistic habits are a threat to Western Civilization As We Know It, as well as to the political, cultural, and economic structure of the U.S. Absurd, IMO. -- John Cowan You tollerday donsk? N. You tolkatiff scowegian? Nn. You spigotty anglease? Nnn. You phonio saxo? Nnnn. Clear all so! 'Tis a Jute.... (Finnegans Wake 16.5)