Many of my youthful Saturday afternoons were spent at the theater
watching Tarzan or Jungle Jim fighting in the swamps and jungles against
the forces of evil. There were swamps and jungles because we saw them.
When have you last heard the words swamps and jungles? Have swamps
and jungles disappeared from the face of the earth? No, for political
purposes they’ve been renamed. They’re now wetlands and rain forests.
The public can’t be whipped into a frenzy about saving swamps and
jungles, but wetlands and rain forests are a different matter.
Everybody’s onboard with the new terminology except the military.
They’re still calling combat dress clothing jungle camouflage. They
should rename their combat dress rain forest camouflage.
Years ago, there were bums, vagabonds, tramps and hobos. They, too,
have disappeared. Now we have homeless people. That causes temporary
confusion. When a person asks me, “Will you help the homeless?” I don’t
know whether I’m being asked to assist someone whose home was lost in a
tornado, flood or hurricane, or a shiftless bum. Use of homeless is the
leftist agenda to establish moral equivalency between tragedy that’s an
act of God and self-inflicted tragedy.
There’s another term confusing to me — care-giver. If someone said,
“I saw the girl walking down the street with her care-giver,” with whom
would you think she was walking? It might be her mother, father,
babysitter, seeing-eye dog, doctor, lawyer, policeman, hairdresser —
the possibilities are endless. So why cause confusion? Just say, “She
was walking with her father.”
Just as confusing is the classification Native American. Whenever I
have to fill out a form that has a block where one can classify himself
as a “Native American,” I always check that block and urge you to do so
too if you were born in the United States.
The African-American classification poses problems, too. What if a
person of Afrikaner or Egyptian ancestry were born in the United States.
Would he be an African-American?
On many of America’s college campuses, there are courses such as
“Violence and Gender” and “Gender Inequality.” Sustained, intransigent,
ignorance might be excusable elsewhere but not on a college campus.
Gender is a grammatical term: “the classification by which nouns and
pronouns (and often accompanying modifiers) are grouped or inflected.”
For example, in French, “le” is the article for the masculine gender and
“la” the article for the feminine gender. Gender and sex are two
different concepts. They are not interchangeable. Plus, it would sound
funny to say, “He had gender with his wife.”
Aside from ignorance, college professors can be silly, too. What used
to be the position of department chairman is now the sexually neutral
department chair. I hold such a position at George Mason University and
refuse to identify myself as Chair. On occasions, when referred to as a
chair, I’ve offered to prove to the speaker that I am a chairman.
Sticking with the college scene a little more, presidents pretend to
assume the moral high ground by pointing to the importance they place on
campus diversity. Whatever they mean by diversity, they darn sure don’t
mean political diversity. Most colleges are leftist bastions. Very often
90 percent or more of their faculty and administrators are Democrats.
What presidents really mean by diversity is that they are for race and
sex quotas, but not political quotas.
John Milton predicted, “When language in common use in any country
becomes irregular and depraved, it is followed by their ruin and
degradation.” Just in case you’re puzzled by our national moral decline.