Top Politically (in)Correct Words for 2005
Misguided Criminals, Intrinsic appitude, and Thought Shower Top List
San Diego, California (Updated November 29, 2005) Misguided Criminals, Intrinsic Aptitude, and Thought Shower top the list of the most egregious examples of politically correct language found in 2005 by the Global Language Monitor in its annual global survey. This year’s list includes words from the US, UK, France and Australia.
“2005 was the year we saw the Political Correctness movement become a truly global phenomenon,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of The GlobalLanguage Monitor (GLM). “The list is but one more example of the insertion of politics into every facet of modern life.”
The year has been rife with examples that have been nominated by the GLM’s Language Police, volunteer language observers from the world over.
The Top Politically inCorrect Words and Phrases for 2005:
1. Misguided Criminals for Terrorist: The BBC attempts to strip away all emotion by using what it considers neutral descriptions when describing those who carried out the bombings in the London Tubes. The rub: the professedintent of these misguided criminals was to kill, without warning, as many innocents as possible (which is the common definition for the term, terrorist). The phrase was selected by GLM as but one example in line with the published BBC Editorial Guidelines where it is noted that the word ‘terrorist’ itself can be a barrier rather than aid to understanding. Suggested alternatives include: bomber, attacker, insurgent and militant, among others. These and similar words are deemed to have no emotional or value judgments. However, the word Terrorist can be used as long as it appears in a quoted attribution. [To see one example used by John Simpson, BBC World Affairs Editor, Click Here.]
2. Intrinsic Aptitude (or lack thereof) was a suggestion by LawrenceSummers, the president of Harvard, on why women might be underrepresented in engineering and science. He was nearly fired for his speculation.
3. Thought Shower or Word Shower substituting for brainstorm so as not to offend those with brain disorders such as epilepsy.
4. Scum or “la racaille” for French citizens of Moslem and North African descent inhabiting the projects ringing FrenchCities. France’s Interior Minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, used this most Politically inCorrect (and reprehensible) label to describe the young rioters (and by extension all the inhabitants of the Cites).
5. Out of the Mainstream when used to describe theideology of any political opponent: At one time slavery was in the mainstream, thinking the sun orbited the earth was in the mainstream, having your blood sucked out by leeches was in the mainstream. What’s so great about being in the mainstream?
6. Deferred Success as a euphemism for the word fail. The Professional Association of Teachers in the UK considered a proposal to replace any notion of failure withdeferred success in order to bolster students self-esteem.
7. Womyn for Women to distance the word from man. This in spite of the fact that the term man in the original Indo-European is gender neutral (as have been its successors for some 5,000 years).
8. C.E. for A.D.: Is the current year A.D. 2005 or 2005 C.E.? There is a movement to strip A.D. (Latin for “In the Year of the Lord”) from the year designation used in the West since the 5th century and replace it with the supposedly moreneutral Common Era (though the zero reference year for the beginning of the Common Era remains the year of Christ’s birth).
9. “God Rest Ye Merry Persons” for “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”: A Christmas, eh, Holiday, carol with 500 years of history isnot enough to sway the Anglican Church at Cardiff Cathedral (Wales) from changing the original lyrics. There are those who suggest going one step further: “Higher Power Rest Ye Merry Persons”.
10. Banning the word Mate: the Department ofParliamentary Services in Canberra issued a general warning to its security staff banning the use of the word ‘mate’ in dealings t with both members of Parliament and the public. What next? banning ‘no worries’ so as not to offend the worried, or banning ‘Down Under’ So as not to offend those of us who live in the “Up Over”.
HolidayBonus: Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings for Christmas (which in some UK schools now label Wintervale). However, the word holiday is derived directly from Holy Day, and in the word X-Mas, the Greek letter ‘chi’ represented by the Roman X actually stands for the first two letters of the name Christ.) Now there are published reports of organization banning the traditional Christmas Colours of red and green.
Last year the Top Politically Incorrect words were: Los Angeles Countys insistence of covering over with labels any computer networking protocols that mention master/slave jargon. Following closelywere same-sex marriage for marriage and waitron for waiter of waitress.