Word Games in Seattle

Monday, August 05, 2013

Recently, I noticed that the word "mankind" had been used in a nationally-broadcast car commercial and dared entertain the thought that the power of the leftist word police was on the wane. Maybe so, but these kooks still hold sway in Seattle, where an innocent phrase and an even more innocent word have recently come under fire:

An internal memo at Seattle City Hall is causing quite a stir.

It suggests government workers no longer use the terms "citizen," or "brown bag."

According to the Office for Civil Rights, the terms are potentially offensive and other words should be used. "Luckily, we've got options," Elliott Bronstein of the Office for Civil Rights wrote in the memo. "For 'citizens,' how about 'residents?'" Bronstein wrote.

The Office of Civil Rights says Seattle serves all residents, whether they're United States citizens or not. And while city leaders publicize "brown bag" lunch meetings as a way to designate a bring-your-own lunch time event, the term has a sordid history.
The folks at Legal Insurrection do a nice job of showing how idiotic banning the phrase "brown bag" is. It might have been even more entertaining to see them give "citizen" a similar treatment, but maybe they have some kind of ten run rule against such things. In any event, I agree with one Stephen Clark that, "These people are not normal, and they should be dismissed as such. In truth, they are paranoid cranks."

Why? Because they are deliberately not paying attention to what is being said. Believe it or not, I have an even more blatant example from my own experience:
All this reminds me of an episode from the time I got divorced in grad school and was still trying to find my bearings. I signed up for a group counseling session that turned out to be me and a bunch of women who, with only one exception, hated men. I quickly began to note a pattern. These harpies would sit around and listen to the words that left my mouth, ignoring their context and assigning their own politically correct meanings to the individual words. Then, when I said something they deemed sufficiently outrageous (i.e., thought they could get away with as an excuse to attack me), they'd all pounce on me.

For example, I once had the temerity to use the term "girl" to describe a woman I was interested in dating. The whole hour-long session was then wasted as it morphed into an attack on me for being insensitive! I spoke about this with a few female friends of mine later, all of whom agreed that what I'd said was not unreasonable, and that the group was completely out of bounds.
Call what the city government in Seattle is doing "institutionalized context-dropping" if you will. Clark's gut reaction is correct, but this is why he is correct:
Whenever you tear an idea from its context and treat it as though it were a self-sufficient, independent item, you invalidate the thought process involved. If you omit the context, or even a crucial aspect of it, then no matter what you say it will not be valid . . . .
This kind of nit-picking serves two functions for leftists: First, it allows them to see what they want to see about others and themselves, while pretending it is based on "evidence". Second, it gives them the kind of arbitrary power the most virulent racist could only dream of. When you can just sit and wait for the right word to fall from someone's lips, you don't even need to hold a paper bag up against his skin to find an excuse to treat him badly. Just ignore everything else he says and anything else you might know about him and associate whatever evil you wish with any term anyone else might have used differently at any time or any place.

Perhaps the word police are on the decline: This is Seattle, after all, and the memo is being (rightly) ridiculed. Nevertheless, they still wield power in some places, and that is disturbing enough.

-- CAV

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