LANGUAGE POLICE

Mark Steyn has an amusing piece on the effects of political correctness (not to mention the Supreme Court) on the English language. The opener is a classic:

Personally, I’m relaxed about sodomy, which isn’t the same as being relaxed during sodomy.

Indeed!

But one does one’s best to keep up with the times. I use the word ”sodomy,” incidentally, mainly because I still can. I would wager that one of the consequences of the Supreme Court decision striking down sodomy laws will be that they’ve also struck down the word.

An oldie but a goodie:

David Frost likes to tell an anecdote from his mammoth post-Watergate Nixon interviews in the 70s. The former president was notoriously bad at small talk but, one Monday morning, decided to make an effort and, while the cameras were setting up, asked his interviewer, ”Did you do any fornicating this weekend?” Frostie was doing an awful lot of fornicating in those days, but, as he noted, that’s not generally the word your average playboy swinger uses to describe it. If you’re an uptight Republican square and you’re trying to get with the program, don’t ask the reporter from The Advocate if he did any sodomizing this weekend.

Good advice, to be sure.

Language has been an important weapon in the gay movement’s very swift advance. In the old days, there was ”sodomy”: an act. In the late 19th century, the word ”homosexuality” was coined: a condition. A generation ago, the accepted term became ”gay”: an identity. Each formulation raises the stakes: One can object to and even criminalize an act; one is obligated to be sympathetic toward a condition; but once it’s a fully fledged 24/7 identity, like being Hispanic or Inuit, anything less than wholehearted acceptance gets you marked down as a bigot.

Heh. Maybe there’s hope for the Brights after all.

Go read the rest.

FILED UNDER: Popular Culture
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.