Language policing goes crazy (excuse the last word)

Things are getting a bit out of hand regarding the policing of language by the Woke. From SFGate we hear that The People’s Republic of Berkeley has passed a new ordinance prohibiting gendered language (click on screenshot):

Here’s an example of verboten terms and their suggested replacements. I agree with nearly all of these changes (although some of the replacements are awkward)—after all, they express an era when men were dominant, an era that should be dispensed with.

But I do object to the elimination of “brother” and “sister”, which are supposed to be replaced by “sibling”. Yet that loses information, and I don’t see what is gained. Or do they mean “brothers and sisters” in the communist sense—the way Hitchens used address his audiences? But are we then supposed to address them as “Siblings”? Is “Big Brother” in Nineteen Eighty-Four to become “Big Sibling”?

And the replacement of “Manhole” with “Maintenance hole” is simply silly. The article quotes one engineer:

When King County, Wash. enacted a similar measure last year, some on Twitter were left wistful for the halcyon days when manholes were manholes; Many others were indifferent.

“I gotta say as a female engineer in Seattle,” one woman wrote, “I really don’t give a crap what you call a utility access point.”

But even the term “female” in the above is now questionable: have a look at Colorado State University’s new Inclusive Language Guide, which mandates, among other things, these (and their sometimes-awkward replacements). Female is OUT. I won’t explain why I find these grating; other folks will not, some will think they’re good, and still others will find even more objectionable replacements at the guide:

This next one may be appropriate for humans, but surely not in biology in general:


The first one I find ridiculous:


And this one is equally risible:

We live in a time when language is being purified to reflect a dominant ideology (that of the Authoritarian Left in this case), and is also being tweaked so it doesn’t offend the most easily offended person in the Anglophonic world. I don’t think that we have to accept every suggested change simply because a handful of people are offended. These things must be considered judiciously.



  1. Richard Jones
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Good luck with trying to stop citizens of the US to stop calling themselves Americans.

    • Posted July 18, 2019 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      The makers of the guide have mistaken Spanish usage for English usage. In English, “America” usually refers to the “United States of America”, citizens of which are “Americans”, and the adjectival form is “American”. This can be most easily confirmed by looking at British usage– it’s their language; and they are not “Americans”, so shouldn’t be biased. In English, the word “Americas”, most often in the combination “the Americas”, conveys the notion which the guide writers attribute to the Spanish word “America”: North and South America together. This usage is not universal in Spanish, and sometimes “las Americas” is used to convey the totality. For example, the international airport in Santo Domingo is “El Aeropuerto de las Americas”, to emphasize the city’s historic role as the gateway to the Americas (in the English-language sense).

      I see no more reason why English should switch to the Spanish usage, than why Spanish speakers should stop saying “Nueva York”, or English speakers should stop saying “Munich”.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

        When are they going to correct the term “asians” to only refer to Chinese, Japanese, and Korean?

        • Helen Hollis
          Posted July 19, 2019 at 2:04 am | Permalink

          Crickets Diana.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, in Miami, which is majority Hispanic, among Spanish speakers, to refer to someone as “American” means a white, native-born American.

        When my kids were young, we lived in a neighborhood in Coral Gables that was populated mostly by people of Cuban and Nicaraguan descent. Most weekends I’d take all the kids in the neighborhood down to the local playground to play baseball or basketball. I’d hear them run home to ask their parents if they could go with “El Americano.”

        Every time I heard it, I couldn’t help but think how funny my grandfather, who immigrated here from Balkans after WW1, would have found it.

        • XCellKen
          Posted July 18, 2019 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

          Mi nombre en Espanol es ” El Diablo Con Ojos Azules” jajajaja

          I have also had a few Spanish speaking ladies refer to me as “El Boleo”

          • Dominic
            Posted July 19, 2019 at 4:07 am | Permalink

            Azure eyes – has a nice sound! I have never been sure what colour eyes I have…

      • Posted July 19, 2019 at 4:05 am | Permalink

        Exactly. Endonyms & exonyms…

    • Posted July 19, 2019 at 5:50 am | Permalink

      They are Americans. They live in North America.

      I personally don’t like the fact that they have coopted the word just to refer to the USA, but it’s been like that for my whole life. It’s not a hill I’m prepared to die on.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted July 20, 2019 at 1:17 am | Permalink

      Ironically, Amerigo Vespucci, after whom the Americas were named, never set foot in North America, not even in the 2 of his 4 voyages that are considered ‘unverified’. He only visited South America and the Caribbean.
      His great achievement was realising the Americas were not India, but a ‘New World’.
      Btw, he wrote Italian, not Spanish, so Spanish usage is not relevant regarding the origins of the name.

  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    What will unions do without using “brighter” & “sister”? How will I Order people to, “keep walking sister” which I learned from the 3 Stooges?

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      “Brother”. Typing on an iPhone during a migraine. Ugh.

      • Helen Hollis
        Posted July 19, 2019 at 2:09 am | Permalink

        I always wondered if head trauma resulted in migraines for the Stooges.

      • JoshP
        Posted July 19, 2019 at 3:25 am | Permalink

        “brighter & sister”” needs no correction!

    • BJ
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      If the people involved in things like this cared one fiftieth as much about unions as they do about policing language, maybe we’d still have unions across the country, unions that give working people the chance to have better wages, better working conditions, better lives. Maybe the people working in Amazon warehouses wouldn’t be treated like workers in Chinese iPhone factories. But, alas, language policing is apparently far more important.

      I will continue to lament the complete ignoring of the welfare of workers by the party and the people that once proudly defended and stood up for them. Imagine how much more popular the Democratic party would be if it went back to those roots. There’s nobody to stand up for them now, as the Republicans certainly won’t.

      I’m sorry. I hope this doesn’t seem or feel like I hijacked your comment for my own spiel. It just makes me so sad. It makes me so sad because I’ve seen factories like that, and I’ve seen the workers with no power to change their conditions or pay because they didn’t have a union. I’m just sad.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        Your asking privileged kids to understand the plight of workers?! This is the problem. I get that they are trying to help but their attention is misplaced. I’ve said it many times, they need to go work in the open hearth of a steel mill. It was this prospect that kept my poor working class ass working hard to get an education and keep out of poverty. I find it amusing when I see a lot of the middle and upper class behaviour like this even though I’m now in that middle class.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

          You’re. Jesus this damn migraine issue with the damn neurons.

        • BJ
          Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

          Oh no, I have no faith in their ability to empathize with such lowly people 🙂 I do honestly think they look down on most of them and think they’re likely all racist, sexist, stupid hicks. I certainly get that impression from them quite often.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

            Well tRump voters certainly help to create that impression.

            But I do agree, the language police are full of it, coffee table socialists.

            In fact both sides seem to have a very loud and visible ‘basket of deplorables’ for the other side to point at.


            • BJ
              Posted July 18, 2019 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

              I meant that I get the impression from the PC police that they think of working class people that way. Just to clarify.

        • BJ
          Posted July 18, 2019 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

          Sorry, rereading my comment, I can see how it might be misinterpreted. I meant that I often get the impression from the privileged privilege police that they see working class people as stupid, racist, sexist hicks, not that I get that impression from working class people.

          I can’t blame my language issues on migraines. Nope. Just sheer stupidity.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted July 19, 2019 at 7:28 am | Permalink

            “I often get the impression from the privileged privilege police that they see working class people as stupid, racist, sexist hicks”

            That was apparent from your post (I don’t disagree)

            “not that I get that impression from working class people.”
            I certainly get that impression from that portion of them that attend tRump rallies (however large or small a percentage that may be).


  3. DrBrydon
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Really? The Germans used Hep Hep, so we can’t say “Hip, Hip, Hooray!”? That’s nuts, and I mean that literally. They can get bent.

    • eric
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      Agree it’s over the top. I did appreciate reading about that though. Learn something new every day!

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

        It’s like not being allowed to listen to Wagner. There was a great Curb Your Enthusiasm episode about this.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted July 20, 2019 at 1:23 am | Permalink

      I always thought that ‘Hooray’ was from Mongol ‘Hurrah’ or ‘Huzzah’, but that appears to be a controversial notion…

      • GBJames
        Posted July 20, 2019 at 7:00 am | Permalink

        Now your slurring people from Central Asia!

  4. notsecurelyanchored
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I hope the Berserkers appreciate how wonderfully egalitarian English is, that they can make these kinds of rules. What if they spoke Spanish?

    • KD33
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      That’s a great point, don’t know why I haven’t seen it discussed. What will they do with all those languages in which every single noun has a gender??

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        I think they collapse the gender inflections, or whatever they’re called,into “x” – as in Latinx, pronounced latin-ex, but ninx for nino or nina, and what about pronouns, etc? Every word must be recast in this form

        What are the PC Berzerkeley folk to do when they must spell or utter the words “menstruation” and “menopause” in an official capacity?

        What does the Latinx crowd do with mano (as in mano a mano), when mano ends in o and does have “man” in it but is a feminine noun? Does mano a mano morph to “X a x”? Man oh man! is all I can say to that.

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted July 18, 2019 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

          Ah, mano a mano must now be considered a transgendered or “gender non-binary” expression – a hermaphroditic word (hermaphrodite is of course okay with the “her” but non-PC as a word, one must use intersex.

        • Liz
          Posted July 18, 2019 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

          I believe, though, “menstruation” and “menopause” are coming from the Latin “mensis” (or a similar Latin word) for month.

          • Jenny Haniver
            Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

            I should have been explicit so that my attempt at humor would be seen for what it is, and said that once you start down this Politically Correct road the language of origin or etymology of a word or phrase doesn’t matter, which is why later on I used “mano a mano” in jest. To be politically correct, no matter the language, there must not be any deviation from stated principles, etymologically, lexically or phonetically.

            As for English, there are those who consider the word “niggardly” offensive because of its phonetic similarity to the N*word, even though etymologically, it has nothing to do with that word.

            This wikipedia entry on the controversy surrounding “niggardly” is quite informative, and also brings up the word “sniggering.”

            • Liz
              Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

              I see. I see.

              Niggardly comes from the Old Norse word “hnoggr” and ****** comes from the Latin word nigrum or niger. This is what I read from the Wikipedia page.

              I love this. There isn’t anything wrong with “niggardly”.

              Thank you so much for sharing this. I learned something new and I love word origins.

              • Jenny Haniver
                Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

                You are welcome. I like to share — I sure wouldn’t want someone to call me a despicable niggard.

                BTW, if you’re fond of etymology and don’t know of this site, Etymology Online is a great resource
       and very handy.

                I admit that I did get carried away in my attempts to be politically correct but it’s difficult not to go to extremes since the concept is so ridiculous.

              • Liz
                Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

                Thank you.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

              And then there was the guy who used the word ‘pedagogic’ in a memo and nearly got fired….

              (I can’t remember where I saw that mentioned)


              • Jonathan Wallace
                Posted July 19, 2019 at 2:44 am | Permalink

                Reminds me of the time that the Sun newspaper was running a campaign about paedophiles and demanding that the addresses of convicted paedophiles (after release from any prison sentence) should be made public. This led to a vigilante mob attacking the home of a paediatrician! Dangerous things words when they get into the wrong hands!

            • Posted July 18, 2019 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

              My ranch is filled with Digger Pines, but I’m often scolded (by non-locals) to instead call them “Ghost” Pines, because some dendrologist at … wait for it … UC Berkeley decided the name was offensive cuz it refers to the pejorative for the local “Digger” indians, who used to dig up stuff with digging sticks. But it doesn’t. And they’re all long dead anyway, so can’t be triggered. I think it’s just because he was uncomfortable with a word that has ‘igger’ in it.

              • Helen Hollis
                Posted July 19, 2019 at 2:22 am | Permalink

                This does not make sense to me. Unless you have big signage stating you have Digger Pines, why would anyone tell or correct you about it? Your property must be close to Berkley for it to be on their radar at all.

              • Posted July 19, 2019 at 8:33 am | Permalink

                I’m no anchorite; I do talk to city slickers every once in a while. LOL. Berkeley is 3 hours away, but I have family & friends in The Bay.

                What surprises me is that so many folks who’ve never (or never before) seen a Digger Pine know the woke alternate name for them. The Huff Post must’ve written about them or something.

                Digger Pine (Pinus sabiniana) grow almost exclusively in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. They grow very tall and very crooked, so are prone uprooting in heavy winds. They provide poor shade, aren’t much use for lumber, but have massive cones with tasty nuts if you can get them before the squirrels do. Most of mine are dying off from bark beetles who’ve arrived with the warming winters.

                Yeah, so global warming is killing the species, but the top priority is to ensure everyone uses its PC name.

              • Helen Hollis
                Posted July 19, 2019 at 2:25 am | Permalink

                So very sorry, I misspelled Berkeley.

    • JezGrove
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      And what about all the poor male “taxistas” and “tenistas” who don’t have a masculine form in Spanish?

  5. GBJames
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure which I like least language police or hemorrhoids. At least there are easy treatments available for the latter.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      They’re both a royal pain in the ass.

  6. Alexander Hellemans
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    A little bit “off topic:” Once, on a flight from the US to Europe, we got the usual message, something like: “I’m the flight commander (or something similar), I’m welcoming you all on board of flight….” etc. The usual talk. But the voice was that of a woman. The woman next to me asked me in a panic, “Was that the commander? Yes, I said. She said: “It’s a woman! Oh my God!…”

    I quietly explained to her that women can fly Jumbo Jets as well, just like men, but that didn’t get her out of her panic state.

    • aljones909
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      They can fly them – but can they park them? (joke)

    • Helen Hollis
      Posted July 19, 2019 at 2:27 am | Permalink

      She was aware that we have female Astronauts?

      • Alexander Hellemans
        Posted July 19, 2019 at 2:52 am | Permalink

        Probably not. Some women don’t trust other women. I’m hoping for a first woman president for the US!!

      • merilee
        Posted July 19, 2019 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        YES, and the story goes that they needed female astronauts so thst they wouldn’t get lost in space because the men would never ask for directions…😬

  7. Liz
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    “Collegiate Greek system residence siblings” sounds really smooth.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, it falls as trippingly on the tongue as the Dubya-era “weapons of mass destruction-related program activities.”

      • Eli
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

        Or “enhanced interrogation techniques”.

      • Liz
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        A friend is pregnant employees. They just found out the sex. It’s a person or a single gender.

        • Helen Hollis
          Posted July 19, 2019 at 2:29 am | Permalink

          Paint the room seafoam green!

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        Collateral damage.

        Speaking of which, the collateral damage this sort of crap does to the English language, not to mention the addled brains of the fuckwits who spout this sort of stuff, is probably significant.


    • Desnes Diev
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      If I read correctly the forst table, “a maiden journeyman” translates as “a family journey”. English is not my mother tongue* but I don’t think it means the same thing.

      * Should I say “parents tongue”?

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        You saying “the Queen’s Monarch’s English” is not your first language? 🙂

      • Posted July 19, 2019 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        “First language spoken and still spoken.”


        “First language spoken.” (Simpliciter.)

  8. BJ
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    The Isle of Man should be changed to “The Isle of People.” Also, do people from Manila call themselves Manilans? If so, they should change that to “peoplelans.”

    • Posted July 18, 2019 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      Manchester should be Genderspectrumchester.

      Maidenshead should be Frontholebarrier.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

        Ha ha. I’d forgotten about front hole.

  9. Posted July 18, 2019 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    All too silly. The explained origins of the now verboten phrase ‘hip hip hooray’ is at least interesting.

    • John Heskett
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      The supposed connection of Hip! Hip! with the Hep Hep Riots set off my urban legend detector. I felt it was older. So I googled it. From Wikipedia: “Eighteenth century dictionaries list “Hip” as an attention-getting interjection, and in an example from 1790 it is repeated.”Hip-hip” was added as a preparatory call before making a toast or cheer in the early 19th century, probably after 1806. By 1813, it had reached its modern form, hip-hip-hurrah.” And from Wikipedia’s source, Peter Jensen Brown’s blog Early Sports ‘n’ Pop Culture: “An oft-repeated, but false, etymology of hip-hip-hooray speculates that hip-hip-hurrah derived from the phrase, Hep-Hep and the anti-Semitic, Hep-Hep riots that took place in Germany in 1819. Those riots, however, took place long after the earliest uses of hip-hip-hurrah, or its variants, in 1811. And in any case, this false etymology was apparently based on an incorrect transcription or translation of an 1819 story that had addressed only the German expression, “Hep! Hep!”, without reference to any “Hurrahs”. The earlier story was, itself, widely considered dubious by mid-nineteenth century scholars writing in English and German.”

      • mallardbrad
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        I just LOVE perusing readers’ comments; I always learn something new & interesting. You “people” are so smart & erudite! Seriously, you are greatly appreciated!

      • Posted July 19, 2019 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        Thanks for doing this – it set off my UL detector as well.

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Or do they mean “brothers and sisters” in the communist sense—the way Hitchens used address his audiences?

    I associate the origins of the “brothers and sisters” phrase with the anti-war New Left (and with the Black Power movement), but I wouldn’t go so far as to call it communistic. And I think it’s pretty much lost all political connotations today, especially when used jocularly.

    If there was anything in the Hitch’s standard salutation (“Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends”) that harkened back to his days as a Trotskyist (or, more accurately, a “Luxemburgian”), I think it would be the inclusion of “comrades.”

    • GBJames
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      “Brothers and sisters” goes back much further than that. It was in use during the days that unions were being established. I expect it was in use in the 19th century. (Then there is the use in religious communities, of course.)

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        You’re absolutely right, GBJ. In fact, you’ve made me recall the lyrics to the old Wobblies’ tune (written by Joe Hill), “There Is Power In A Union”.

        • Jon Gallant
          Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

          I get around the brothers/sisters problem by addressing everyone as Товарищ! or Товарищи! if more than one.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

            that might just catch on, Jon; I’ve been hearing it more and more. 🙂

            • merilee
              Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

              Is that Tovaritch(sp?)?

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted July 18, 2019 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

                Tovarisch and Tovarischi, I think.

                That ‘W’-looking letter with the tail – Щ – is commonly rendered as ‘sh-ch’, I think.
                (The equivalent without a tail, Ш, is ‘sh’)

                Though rendering Russian words into Latin letters, or English etc into Cyrillic, appears to be a rather haphazard process. Often a ‘phonetic’ version is transliterated. For example (I have a Russian map of part of Cornwall) ‘Wadebridge’ is rendered as ‘Узидбридж’ which I would approximate as ‘oo-ee-i-d-b-r-i-d-zh’

                I love the weirdness of it.


              • merilee
                Posted July 19, 2019 at 8:09 am | Permalink

                Mr, too, the weirdness🤓 I was in Moscow in 1966 on a sort of Italian student tour – go figure- and I really only sorta knew the Russian alphabet. My Americsn friends and I would get on the subway/Metro and try to memorize the 20-letter name of the station we were going to (or trying to get back to), but I’m sure thst no Russian would have understood our vocalization of it. I’m sure if we had really gotten lost our Intourist “minders” would have been right there to “help” us get back to our hotel.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 19, 2019 at 11:31 am | Permalink

                Cyrillic isn’t too bad once you’ve learned Greek.

              • merilee
                Posted July 19, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink

                Not sure that this will work…

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted July 20, 2019 at 12:52 am | Permalink

                Merilee, that image link didn’t seem to work.

                Before I transited Russia a couple of years ago (no Intourist minders these days) I learned the Cyrillic alphabet – not hard to do – and practised by ‘travelling’ through Moscow and other cities on Streetview and reading the signs. And it proved very handy in practice.

                Interestingly, I had printed out the ‘Rossiya’ (Trans-Siberian)’s timetable in the latin version and my Russian fellow-travellers had to scratch their heads over it because – though they understood the Latin alphabet perfectly well – they were used to seeing Russian town and city names in Cyrillic.


              • merilee
                Posted July 20, 2019 at 11:03 am | Permalink

                Same idea😂. Can’t remember if I ever learned how to say “where is”??

                Steve Martin had a funny bit about repeating “omellete du fromage” over and over again in a Paris taxi (carefully rrrolling the “r”).

                As to the non-appearing link: try googling Russian Road Rage.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 21, 2019 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

                One of my favourite French songs.

              • merilee
                Posted July 21, 2019 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

                Funny song!

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 21, 2019 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

                I’ll have the chorus in my head for days. I like how the fish is referred to as “Jacques Cousteau”.

              • merilee
                Posted July 21, 2019 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

                Yeah, thanks a lot😖

  11. Posted July 18, 2019 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    We really need to “call out” (as they say!) the ludicrous idea that using such terms “… can cause harm” in any real sense of the word “harm”.

    We also need to deplore this sort of concept creep (such that the words “harm”, “trauma”, “violent”, “triggered”, etc, get applied to the most trivial things).

    • darrelle
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      I’d add we also need to make it known that organizations using time and resources to create such lists is, in the dictionary sense of the word, ridiculous. That these people think they are doing something important for society is Grade A Monty Python skit material.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted July 19, 2019 at 5:45 am | Permalink

        “Monty Python”


        Oops – that was insensitive to cats, I scold myself.

  12. Simon Hayward
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    I suppose they can police their own documents but the long term failure of the Académie française to remove “les anglicismes” is an object lesson in the futility of trying to dictate the language that is actually used. Vive le weekend!

  13. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    How in the world is “family” an adequate substitution for “maiden”?

    It’s one thing to take a boat out for its “maiden voyage”; a “family voyage” would mean you got stuck bringing your relatives aboard.

    And don’t get me started on how I would’ve explained to her mother how my high-school sweetheart lost her “familyhead.” 🙂

    • Leigh
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      I think they are referring to maiden name. In which case family name might be slightly less objectionable. However the entire concept is objectionable; substituting one word for another is not a solution. There is no need for women to change names when they marry, hence no need for a word to describe this.

      As to your other examples, there is probably no way the word maiden can be used now without it being an insult to women. I’d suggest leaving the word in the past where it belongs.

      • GBJames
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        There is still a need for the word (or a substitute) because many women still do change their name when they get married. It isn’t a practice I think sensible, but they do it anyway.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

          I wonder what they call it. I need to look that up. I think on forms they ask for former names.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

          Oh I know how they get around it. They ask for your “married name” if applicable.

      • Steve Gerrard
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        The name change is more of a thing when there are children. Do they get one or the other last name? You can go for the hyphenated double last name, but that could get awkward in a few generations.

        I’ve always like née, as in Michelle LaVaughn Obama (née Robinson). Birth name might be a better choice than family name.

        • Richard Bond
          Posted July 19, 2019 at 5:59 am | Permalink

          Can’t have that: the second “e” makes it the feminine form.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 19, 2019 at 11:05 am | Permalink

          My friend and her spouse named gave the children (boys) my friend’s last name (my friend is the woman in this relationship).

          • GBJames
            Posted July 19, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

            When our kids were young they had some classmates, a boy and a girl, who lived a block away. The parents had different last names (as do my wife and I). The somewhat unusual solution that our neighbors came up with was to give the boy the father’s surname and the girl the mother’s.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

        My nephew recently got married and changed his surname to his wife’s. There might be a name for that, but I haven’t heard it yet. Some family members thought it a bit weird, but I figured, what’s the difference? A rose by any other …

    • grasshopper
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      A “family voyage” was anticipated by G & S.

      SIR JOSEPH. But when the breezes blow,
      I generally go below,
      And seek the seclusion that a cabin grants;

      COUSIN HEBE. And so do his sisters, and his cousins, and his aunts!

      ALL. And so do his sisters, and his cousins, and his aunts!
      His sisters and his cousins,
      Whom he reckons up by dozens,
      And his aunts!

      And think about a maiden on a maiden voyage to Maidenhead. Just imagine the seamen.

  14. David Coxill
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Somewhere the former Labour members of the 1980s Lambeth council are quietly nodding their heads .

    • Simon Hayward
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      Glad I’m not the only one who finds this eerily reminiscent of those times

      • David Coxill
        Posted July 19, 2019 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        Didn’t they have a sign up saying .
        “Lambeth Council, Declared Nuclear Free Zone ”

        They were the looney left ,beloved of the stun an the daily wail .

  15. mfdempsey1946
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    To sum up this misbegotten enterprise, instead of “crazy”, how about “batshit crazy”?

    Of course, that would bring the bat lobby down upon us.


    • Posted July 19, 2019 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      The bat lobby already is upside down.

  16. YF
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    I expect that psychiatric ‘disorders’ will be next on the chopping block..

    • DrBrydon
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Dude, that was seriously an article this week. I can’t find it, though.

    • Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      Ugh! How disrespectful of some people in Saudi prisons!

  17. Blue
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    I do not know if this is woke, and
    I do not give a crap if it is.


    I want to see the phrase “maiden name” done th’ ‘ell away with.
    Utterly. Gone. I was never of such a name. No human being was ever of such an appellation.

    Either we girls and women have a surname or, jus’ like the borne boy babes,
    we have a birth name for our second name, the one which often
    for the sake of alleged organization of folks is the name … … alphabetized.

    We are not of the Not Males, of the (ab)Normal or of the Other.
    Therefore we are not, and never were, of any name made by anyone’s determination … … maiden.


  18. Posted July 18, 2019 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see how we can use the word “human”. Shouldn’t it be “hupeople”?

  19. A C Harper
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    What next? The ‘hostile environment’ on drugs?

  20. Steve Pollard
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    I’m afraid that my instinctive reaction to this sort of b*llocks is to resolve to use the verboten words as often as possible, especially when members of the woke community are listening.

    I agree with our host that some of the terms are anachronistic or insensitive. But what the hell is offensive about brother, sister, heir, male, female, man or woman, or pregnant woman? And if anyone does take umbrage at these words, why should the rest of us give a toss?

  21. Laurance
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Our friend Heather Hastie refers to those of us in the Benighted States as “USians”. I actually like that, and was using “USAnians” some eleven or twelve years ago before I was aware of this political correctness problem. I liked it because I was aware that America is everything from our side of the Bering Strait to Tierra del Fuego, and we’re not all of it.

    But there were some red-white-and-blue AMERICANS who angrily reminded me that this is AMERICA and I could go back to where I came from. But I’d already done that. I live just two blocks away from where I was born.

    I’m with Heather, and I hardly think she’s politically correct.

    • GBJames
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      I think the word is pronounced MERICA, Laurence.

    • pablo
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      The name of the country is the United States of AMERICA. To the South is the United States of MEXICO. Their citizens refer to themselves as Mexicans. We refer to ourselves as Americans. It’s really not complicated, and it shouldn’t be controversial.

      • Posted July 19, 2019 at 6:17 am | Permalink

        The people who come from Mexico are Americans as well as Mexicans. They live on the content of North America. The people who live in Canada are also Americans, although, if I tell them that, they might regard it as an insult.

        Technically, citizens of the USA calling themselves Americans and their country America is ignoring the existence of the rest of the two continents on the West of the Atlantic, but t’was ever thus. In British English usage, at least, if you hear “America”, you think of the USA. If you want to refer to a continent, it’s “North America” or “South America” or “the Americas”.

  22. Roo
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    I feel like portions of the Left have a naive or perhaps Ivory Tower-esque fixation on the supposedly magical powers of ‘language’ (which in practice always ends up meaning ‘buzzwords’) to control the human psyche.

    Certainly, language in its entirely can have a lot of influence (this includes debates, persuasive writing and speeches, and so on). And there are interesting examples of how framing can influence perception in some very specific, and limited, circumstances. (I forget the classic example but it involves flipping the framing from “You have X chance of losing money” to “You have X chance of winning money”, I believe.) But the idea that buzzword semantics create our reality should be self-evidently untrue to anyone who has ever been exposed to corporate-speak. Literally no one in all of time space has actually been convinced that getting their vacation days cut is “realignment with their core values of commitment and dedication”.

    • pablo
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      They really buy into Sapir-Whorf.

      • Roo
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        I think George Lakoff has been a huge influence as well. I feel like the idea of linguistic framing is quite appealing and easy to sell people on as it involves moving words around on a hypothetical page vs. engaging with real people on the opposite side of issues in real life. (Which I get – I think that genuinely is tremendously difficult and I’m certainly not saying it’s something I’m good at. I would much rather play the linguistic version of Tetris than chat politics with a group of people vehemently opposed to my views.) But like I said, if you look at people who go all in on language tweaking, the result tends to be very obviously contrived and phony corporate jargon speak, which most people recognize in an instant. Language that resonates is almost always, in my opinion, based on emotion and experience that come from the real world, and not spun out of thin air to suit a particular purpose.

    • Posted July 19, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Portions of the right have the same fixation, as it happens. Think Heidegger, or some Christians. (The weirdness resulting from reading “logos” from John’s gospel as “word”.)

  23. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    I find it annoying that these language policy seem to be against hyperbole and st the same time the arbiters of when the word isn’t an hyperbole. Tell me, oh provledged students, when someone is poor enough to be “broke”. Or when is someone starving? Do anorexics qualify? They are starving after all. Give me a break. Was it ok when I was anorexic and had $100 in my bank account to say I was starving and poor but not now? When did I cross the line?

    • pablo
      Posted July 19, 2019 at 3:37 am | Permalink

      Sorry, but I despise hyperbole. Not in a million years would I be caught using it.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 19, 2019 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        ba dum tah….tish.

  24. Roo
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Sorry for the run-on italics, typo in the html tags.

  25. Roo
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Sorry for the run-on italics, typo in the html tags.

  26. davelenny
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    “… and depicts the United States as the dominant American country.”

    Well, we can’t have that. CSU now needs to tell Chinese to stop calling the US Meiguo, whose ideograms mean ‘beautiful country’, but is also a sound approximation.

  27. Roger
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Hopefully there won’t be a huge backlash and everyone starts calling telephone poles “man poles”.

    • GBJames
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      Those are telephone structures of Polish descent!

  28. Posted July 18, 2019 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    I imagine the French would go cr@#y, considering their gendered nouns.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      And most indo- European languages, especially to more inflected ones.

  29. Posted July 18, 2019 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Nutty as it is, this sort of thing at least makes me laugh. Unlike the occupant of the highest office in the land telling duly elected representatives of the people to “go back where you came from.”

  30. Gasper
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Frank Lloyd Wright liked to use the word “Usonia” for the USA, but it never caught on. He attributed the name to Samuel Butler, but this has never been found.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      Samuel hasn’t had to change his surname to “House-Helper”?

  31. Posted July 18, 2019 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    The concept of “illegal immigration” was not created in 1939. The US had immigration exclusion laws dating back to the 19th century.

  32. Leigh
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    For decades (about 5 of them) we have been using gender neutral terms. Why the fuss today over the word manhole. Did I mess something — is this an article from 1960 come through a worm hole.

    Maintenance hole, or utility access point, or another descriptive term seems perfectly sensible. They describe what this object is and the purpose for it. I find them preferable to manhole which, when one thinks about it, is a rather silly meaningless word. Why are y’all getting your shorts in a knot?

    • JezGrove
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      I agree absolutely!

    • Adam M.
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      I think it’s the presumptiveness, false etymologies, self-righteousness, and hyperbolic and false claims of harm that will ensue if we don’t obey.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      ‘Manhole’ because it was a hole for men to crawl through. (Or these days women). ‘Utility access point’? – nah. I have one of those on my wall. I plug my computer into it. Once again a long and vague non-specific term replaces a short one whose meaning was clearly understood.



    • Ken Kukec
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 8:16 pm | Permalink


      I’m down with being as politically correct as possible in my own personal speech (though I don’t believe in enforcing it under penalty of law upon others). Especially when it comes to gender-neutral terms for actual human beings — “firefighters” instead of “firemen,” for example, or “servers” instead of “waiters” or “waitresses.”

      But when it comes to inanimate objects (like “manholes”) or metaphorical phrases (like “maiden voyage”), I’ll go down that road with you, as long as it doesn’t result in a linguistic barbarism, but I think you’re pushing your luck with the general public (though I’m an older white guy, so YMMV).

    • Posted July 20, 2019 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      The use of “wormhole” is doubleplus speciesist. Please use the term “organismhole” from now on, or you will be unpersoned.

      -Big Sibling

  33. eric
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Taking the “man” out of many terms I can get behind. The attack on usage of similes though…the whole presumption here is infantilizing. You have to assume the mature adult you’re talking to isn’t capable of handling the occasional metaphor that might incidentally strike a negative personal chord with them. And that is to infantilize them.

    There’s some obvious cases here where the smart and reasonable thing is to modify your speech to account for the speaker’s background. Avoid violence and war metaphors around vets. Maybe don’t use blindness similes around blind people. Etc. But beyond that, how about instead of assuming your conversation partner is psychologically weak or damaged, you assume they are are a fully functioning and capable adult instead. You know, treat them with the respect you might demand for yourself.

  34. C.
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    I had an idea to make underwear called Man Hole Covers designed to look like the manhole covers of big cities. Guess if I actually did make them I’d have to change the name to Utility Access Point….kinky.

  35. Dave137
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    It makes sense sometimes to open up. A congresswoman and a congressman, humankind rather than mankind. It’s ok to change in such ways.

    But manhole, for instance. I mean, let’s calm down.

    • eric
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      I like to call them Congresscritters. 🙂

      I wonder if the leftist language police are willing to extend their approach to terms they like? For example, will they support a change from mansplaining to peoplesplaining?

  36. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    ‘Sibling’ makes me cringe. It’s so phony and aritificial. And as PCC noted, it conveys *less* information.

    ‘Pregnant women’ replaced by ‘pregnant employees’? Why does it assume that women would naturally be employees? Do I detect a [shock horror] sexist assumption? Whatever they are, if they’re pregnant they’re all certainly women. Doesn’t whatever demented lunatic concocted that list know basic biology?

    “We live in a time when language is being […] tweaked so it doesn’t offend the most easily offended person in the Anglophonic world.”

    *I* am the most easily offended person in the Anglophonic world, and all this moronic PC bullshit** offends the living daylights out of me.

    (**Or ‘cowshit’ if you prefer. ‘Cattleshit’?)


    • Roo
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      I agree that ‘sibling’ sounds awkward, and it’s kind of a moot point if your siblings have families anyways, as there is no collective gender neutral term – not even on this list – for nieces and nephews or aunts and uncles.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        ‘Relatives’, mostly. 😉

        (My wife comes from a small Pacific island where families are large and they know all their family trees – which I am useless at. So I just assume anyone I meet is an aunty/uncle/cousin/niece/nephew-in-law, it’s usually correct.

        And it is entirely possible to have aunties younger than oneself.)


        • Roo
          Posted July 18, 2019 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

          I feel like it would be weird if I said something like “I put my relatives in their pajamas and made them brush their teeth” though, ha ha. I actually do wish there was a gender neutral word for nieces and nephews – I’ve heard ‘niblings’ but to me that sounds like a snack food.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted July 18, 2019 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

            I think ‘the kids’ would suffice, there.



        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 19, 2019 at 11:19 am | Permalink

          It’s also complicated, at least in Maori so maybe in other polynesian languages, where gender affect the word for “brother of a girl”, “sister of a boy” and repeats with cousins so good luck untangling that if you want to be all PC about stuff.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted July 20, 2019 at 12:39 am | Permalink

            Yes, same in Rarotongan. In the days before I gave up trying to learn it, I used to have trouble remembering which was which.

            They also have singular (me), dual (we two, you two) and plural pronouns. And the plural ‘we’ comes in two versions, one is ‘us, not you’ and one is ‘us, including you’.

            Very much more specific than English. I’ve just invented a ‘law of conservation of complication’ which says that if a language drops one complication (the he/she/it distinction), complications will inevitably sprout in another direction.


    • Ken Kukec
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      “Sibling(s)” is perfect if you’re referring to a sister and/or brother; it’s imprecise, if you’re referring specifically to just one or the other.

    • BJ
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

      “‘Pregnant women’ replaced by ‘pregnant employees’? Why does it assume that women would naturally be employees?”

      That’s not what it’s about. It’s about the idea that “men can be pregnant too.” We’ve seen this argument many times: because of transgender/non-binary/agender/the other 50-odd genders, it’s not only women who can be pregnant, or men can have periods too, etc.
      Since the idea is that “a transgender man/woman is just a man/woman and there is absolutely no difference between them and any other man/woman,” a man can get pregnant and a woman can have a penis.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

        Except that they can’t. Any more than a whale can have wings, or a dog is a reptile. If it has wings it isn’t a whale.

        If it has a penis it’s a man and if it can get pregnant it’s a woman. Those are two of the most defining characteristics of men and women, and arguing otherwise just makes a nonsense of the common definitions of words.

        Anyway, to come clean, I must admit that in asking ‘Why does it assume that women would naturally be employees?’ I was just attempting to adopt the nit-picking prejudicial cant that the language police use in siezing on trivial and irrelevant details and interpreting them in the worst possible light…


        • BJ
          Posted July 18, 2019 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

          I most certainly agree with you 🙂 But that would be the explanation, so…hey, man (sorry!), the world sucks.

        • Posted July 19, 2019 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

          If those are the “essential characteristics”, then it is conceivable that a man could get pregnant. How? By being *both* a man and a woman. Someone with a penis who becomes pregnant under the understanding above is a man and a woman.

          Ooops. 🙂

          You need the additional premiss that nothing can become pregnant which has a penis, which is probably dependent on the “open texture” of what counts as one, at least now.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted July 20, 2019 at 12:13 am | Permalink

            Sufficiently rare, I think, to not justify changing the definition.


      • Posted July 19, 2019 at 6:25 am | Permalink

        I think this from 1979 is prophetic.

        • ThyroidPlanet
          Posted July 19, 2019 at 6:34 am | Permalink


        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted July 20, 2019 at 12:17 am | Permalink

          Oh brilliant!

          The Pythons saw PC coming decades ago.

          ‘Where’s the foetus gonna gestate, you gonna keep it in a box?’



  37. merilee
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    How is “I’m hooked” any different from “I’m addicted to”. The whole thing’s crazy…whoops…nuts?

  38. Deodand
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to know what they said about ‘Picnic’ as the Snopes-dot-com website reported many years ago someone posted a claim that the word originated with lynching parties and caused quite a controversy.

    Here’s the snopes article from 2011.

    Some of the quoted language from from an ‘equity officer’ named ‘Zaheer Mustafa’ ordering that use of the term ‘picnic’ be banned is eerily familiar:

    “the point is — the word offends.”

    And that’s all these neo-Puritans care about. I’ve heard in Australia several of the more ‘woke’ councils are coming under scrutiny for not providing essential services because they’ve spent the ratepayers money on grand gestures.

  39. Steve Gerrard
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    I’d be fine with calling heirs heirs, regardless of sex, the same way we now call actors actors. Heiress can go the way of actress. Beneficiaries are not the same thing.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      ‘Heirs’ has a ‘he’ in it.

      In fact ‘he’ occurs 1155 times on this page, versus 113 ‘she’s. Does this not demonstrate how irredeemably sexist the English language is and how vital it is we all switch to Esperanto?

      Oh, 😉 in case it wasn’t obvious.

      • merilee
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        Also hell contains a he…

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted July 18, 2019 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

          As well it should. Is there any doubt about the gender of the serpent in the garden, or of Lucifer or Mephistopheles or Beelzebub?

          • BJ
            Posted July 18, 2019 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

            Oh, so not only do you assume their sex, but their gender as well? What, Lucifer can’t be a trans woman? I expected better from you, Ken, but you’re clearly just another transphobe.

            • Deodand
              Posted July 18, 2019 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

              Well there is a novel on Amazon (whose title/author I’ve forgotten…) which opens with the cops finding a naked woman in the middle of what looks like a failed ‘summoning ritual’. In the interrogation scene that follows she gives her name as ‘Luci Ferr’…

              • BJ
                Posted July 18, 2019 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

                Well, the fact that Ken assumes Lucifer must be a man also shows his sexism, both against men (thinking they must be more evil) and against women (thinking they can’t be as evil as men).

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted July 19, 2019 at 1:36 am | Permalink

                In the film Angel Heart the private detective played by Mickey Rourke (“Harry Angel”) is hired to find a missing person (and, as it turns out, the missing person’s soul) by Robert De Niro’s character, “Louis Cyphre.”

                I rest my case, Your Honor.

              • BJ
                Posted July 19, 2019 at 2:04 am | Permalink

                Ah, that was a damn good movie. But Ken, I don’t think you understand the depths of your transphobia. How do you know Louis Cyphre identified as a man?

                Anyway, serious question: what was with all the fans in that movie? I tried hard to think about the symbolism of all the shots of fans and of fans stopping when Louis showed up, but I just never got it. You’re smarter than I am. Did you understand what they were going for with that?

                The only idea I have is that the movie shows that it’s constantly hot with Mickey Rourke basically always sweating. When L.C. shows up, the fans stop to make things hotter? Because he comes from hell? That’s literally the one and only idea I ever came up with, and I’ve seen that movie several times over the last twenty years.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted July 19, 2019 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

                I certainly noticed the fans, but can’t say I’ve ever come to a resolution regarding their significance. (And I’m certainly no smarter than you, BJ; if anything, I’ve simply had more time to accumulate random, often useless, information.) 🙂

                There are some scenes in Angel Heart I’m totally enamored of — the two scenes with Rourke and De Niro, in the church and where De Niro eats the hard-boiled egg, for sure. And that scene on the beach at Coney Island in the wintertime is so quirky and fan-freakin’-tastic.

                Alan Parker is quite a director. That whole generation of Brits with him and Ridley Scott and Adrian Lyne has made some great pictures.

              • BJ
                Posted July 19, 2019 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

                The hard-boiled egg scene is the only one that’s really cemented in my memory. The way Parker focuses on his fingernails. And De Niro somehow manages to peel a hard-boiled egg in the most suave and slightly chilling manner.

          • merilee
            Posted July 18, 2019 at 11:24 pm | Permalink


          • Posted July 19, 2019 at 6:41 am | Permalink

            When I was a Christian, I once listened to a sermon in which it was pointed out that the Serpent didn’t approach Adam but Eve and that when he was caught, Adam throws Eve under the bus (and God too):

            “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” ~ Genesis 3:12 (NRSV).

            Blame the woman. That seems to have been an excellent tactic through the ages.

            Of course, the alternate interpretation of the story is that God was keeping Adam and Eve in a state of perpetual childhood in a (admittedly luxurious) prison to be his slaves and playthings. The Serpent provided the a means to escape and Eve was the only one with enough cajonas to grab the opportunity by the balls.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted July 19, 2019 at 7:12 am | Permalink

              Or maybe he was blaming God for supplying Eve. Blame the procurer…


              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted July 19, 2019 at 7:19 am | Permalink

                And of course, since God was omnipotent, omniscient and infallible, He/She/It knew perfectly well what was going to happen when He/She/It set up the whole scenario. (I suspect this is not a new argument).


              • Posted July 19, 2019 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

                I think it is clear he was blaming both Eve and God, anybody but himself, in fact.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted July 19, 2019 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

                Actually, Jeremy, I see that was noted in your comment and I missed it. I’ve got nobody to blame but me 🙂


            • merilee
              Posted July 19, 2019 at 8:37 am | Permalink

              Cherchez la femme


              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted July 19, 2019 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

                Excellent resource, Lawless French. I should consult it more often.

                Of course, in the debate about ‘sexist language’, French is a lost cause and utterly irredeemable and irremediable. How could one possibly de-sex a language where every noun has a gender? 😉


              • merilee
                Posted July 19, 2019 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

                I stumbled on this program on FB and find it quite fun/useful for brushing up on my once fairly fluent français. I had never been aware of this take on “cherchez la femme.”
                And speaking of French, I discovered while watching the French police procedural “Spiral” that the French call pot “le shit”, as in “Où ont ils caché le shit.”🤓

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted July 19, 2019 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

                Yes. Interesting that ‘cherchez la femme’ (which could be considered quite a sexist trope 😉 has acquired the neutral meaning akin to ‘the usual suspects’ or just ‘same old same old’ with no gender connotation at all.

                Incidentally, is another quite handy site. Once a week they email me with a link to some ‘exercise’ cooked up by one of their contributors – they vary in quality but they’re useful for practice.


              • merilee
                Posted July 19, 2019 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

                Somehow I had always thought of “cherchez la femme” combined with Groucho’s eyebrows and maybe a hubba hubba ir oo la la, but that doesn’t seem to be the case at all. This Lawless outfit sends me all kinds of quizzes, for free, almost every day. And the nice thing is that it explains your errors. I’m doing it mainly for “mental gymnastics.”

              • merilee
                Posted July 19, 2019 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

                I’m also making my way, très lentement, through the entirety of Proust’s 7-volume A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, at the rate of 4 or 5 pages/night. The beauty of kindle is the built-in dictionnaire. Whenever I finish a small section, I quickly skim the English version to make sure I haven’t completely missed something. Proust ain’t an easy read even in English. Paragraphs lasting more than a page. A Scottish friend of mine who lives in Germany with her German husband has read Proust in German! That would be quite challenge with all the verbs piling up at the end…(I exaggerate, but only slightly…)

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted July 20, 2019 at 12:28 am | Permalink

                Proust is way, way beyond me.

                Aside from reading on-line tourist sites (e.g., I also acquired a batch of about forty dreadful sex-and-violence-filled French ‘special agent’ type novels of no redeeming literary merit whatever. However after reading half of them my comprehension of written French (not to mention colloqialisms) has improved vastly. And they are certainly more diverting than ‘Mr Brown goes to a cafe’ sort of thing, which I would probably have stopped reading through boredom halfway through book one.

                I also have ‘Origin of Species’ in French, which I might pick up again now my comprehension is good enough not to need looking up ten words in every paragraph…


              • merilee
                Posted July 20, 2019 at 10:50 am | Permalink

                Let me know how you get on in Darwin en français🤓

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted July 19, 2019 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

              At least we’ve got Milton’s Paradise Lost to “justify the ways of God to men” (that is, if anyone’s ever actually finished all 12 volumes). 🙂

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 19, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

                And some of Neil Gaiman’s characters.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted July 18, 2019 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

          In fact ‘she’ contains ‘he’, ‘woman’ contains ‘man’, and ‘female’ contains ‘male’. Just can’t win, can we? 😎

          • merilee
            Posted July 18, 2019 at 11:27 pm | Permalink


          • Posted July 20, 2019 at 7:32 am | Permalink

            Dammit. Should’ve scrolled down.


        • Posted July 20, 2019 at 7:30 am | Permalink

          “Damn them all to shell” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

          Hey! (Sorry, “shey”.) Even she has a he in it! Sexism runs rampant.


  40. aljones909
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Interestingly (to me), in old English the word “man” meant a human being of either sex.
    “wer” was the word for a male and “wyf” was the word for a female. This usage persisted for around 500 years. It was around 1000 AD when “man” started to be used to refer to an adult male.

    “Note: Old English is the earliest form of English, brought to Great Britain in the fifth century by Germanic settlers. The first literary works in Old English date from the seventh century.

    The usual OE word for “an adult male person” was wer. Man didn’t start being used in that sense until late in the OE period (c. 1000). Wer continued into Middle English, but by the late thirteenth century had been replaced by man.

    The general meaning of man to mean human person of either gender survives in modern English in such words as manslaughter and mankind. The latter is being superseded by the word humankind in the belief that the man- of mankind excludes women. Its fixed legal use will probably prevent manslaughter from being replaced by humanslaughter.

    The Old English word for a female person, married or unmarried, was wyf.”

    Full article here :

    • Liz
      Posted July 18, 2019 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for this.

      I wonder if anyone has told the creators of the language guides that they are virtuous.

      • merilee
        Posted July 18, 2019 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        Oh, they are certain of it without any positive feedback from us peons😖
        I spent two and a half mostly wonderful years in Berzerkeley in the early 70s, but not sure I could stand it now. There already was some virtue-signalling back then, and the DEMAND to declare immediately where you stood on any kind of issue by anyone who asked…

  41. pablo
    Posted July 18, 2019 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    “US citizen,” so someone from the United States of Mexico then?

    • Posted July 19, 2019 at 6:45 am | Permalink


      Nobody ever calls Mexico the United Mexican States. US always refers to the USA.

  42. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted July 19, 2019 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    So in the lunch room they can still say “please pass the extra virgin olive oil”?…

    Actually how does this work? If someone says “manhole” do they get fired? Or is it just the written word?

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted July 19, 2019 at 6:53 am | Permalink

      Also “peanuts” is no longer allowed because they are legumes, and is offensive to all nuts…. actually “nuts” is also offensive… this :

      The Food That Cannot Be Named.

  43. Posted July 19, 2019 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    A journeyman is not a journey. If you’re on a journeyman you’re doing something fundamentally different to going on a journey.

  44. Posted July 19, 2019 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    I sort of agree on the “war” one but not for the reasons given.

    Referring to things that are not wars as wars can lead to a skewed viewpoint and bad decisions.

    For example, the “War on Terror” in the wake of 9/11 framed the action against terrorism as a war and tended to make people think in terms of tanks rolling across Middle Eastern countries being a reasonable solution.

  45. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted July 19, 2019 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    At least it’s ok to use “killer” or “killed it” or “killin’ it” (*)

    As in the following dialogue:

    “Did you see Mary prove that killer theorem yesterday?”
    “Oh man, yes! She was killin’ it!”
    “How dare you say “man” and “her” at all!”
    “But “man” isn’t on the list!”
    “Oh right! I mean, oh man!”
    [ high fives ]

    *I despise these terms and phrases

  46. Mathew Goldstein
    Posted July 19, 2019 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    This non-gendered language ordinance applies to the municipal code. The municipal code should mostly a non-gendered context so instructions to use non-gendered language in that context are reasonable and proper. There are many other contexts and those other contexts can either also be non-gendered or gendered, our language should match the context.

  47. Thanny
    Posted July 20, 2019 at 2:17 am | Permalink

    So what we have here, basically, are people who don’t understand English.

    The word “man” was originally entirely sex-neutral. There were specific words (wereman and wyfman, spelling not important) to denote adult humans of particular sex.

    Over time, the male-specific word was ignored more and more, to the point that “man” came to mean either a generic adult human (the original meaning) or a male adult human, depending on context. Why this happened is certainly open for debate, but the most likely reason is that males are considered disposable in human society. There’s just far more cause to explicitly set apart females than males. If you have doubts, just look at the various statistics and charts which set apart “women and children” (as victims of something unpleasant) from “other”.

    To this day, the word “man” means both generic adult human and adult male human. Only those indoctrinated by feminism believe otherwise. In compound words, it is almost invariably generic. If you’re talking about a policeman, chairman, alderman, or just about anything other than a Spiderman, you’re talking about someone of unspecified sex (note the pronunciation difference of the syllable “man” between “policeman” and “Spiderman”).

    But that’s not what feminism insists we all believe. That ideology claims that “chairman” is a sexist term, despite not one whit of evidence in support of that claim. So we get neologisms like “chairperson” or just “chair” (because our language doesn’t have enough ambiguity – lets equate people with inanimate objects without context).

    The upshot is, endeavors like this are rotten to the core. The language is not sexist, and never has been, unless you consider how the male sex has been relegated to equivalence with the generic.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted July 20, 2019 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      are there any publications or other things – for example, Google Ngram Viewer results, or Google ‘define:____’ results – that can back up your story?

  48. Posted July 20, 2019 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    1. Ironically, they are doing the exact thing they are condemning about starvation when it comes to racism, sexism, transphobia, etc.

    2. I don’t mind calling straight people straight. Unless one comes up with something akin to “gay” for heterosexuals that sticks around, which I doubt.


  49. Posted July 21, 2019 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on myladygiselle and commented:
    if one were to replace the word “depressed” with “sad” then you are doing a MAJOR diservice to yourself, I feel like this would only prevent depressed persons from admitting they are depressed, forcing them to say something “less offensive to other depressed persons” like i’m sad. you’re sad. this is sad. this is depressing. this whole Left Newspeak is depressing.

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