Renaissance Redneck: Cut Hair in Four | Our columnists


It looks like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the CDC, has enough on their plates and petri dishes to try to fend off the novel coronavirus and its variants these days without getting distracted by extracurricular activities.

The CDC, which is “responsible for controlling the introduction and spread of infectious diseases”, now appears to be branching out to compile lists of words they have deemed offensive – such as “prisoner” and “alcoholic” – which must be erased from our vocabulary.

“The language used in communication products must reflect and respond to the needs of those in the target audience,” the guide reads. “The following provides some preferred terms for certain population groups; the terms to try to use represent a continuous shift towards non-stigmatizing language.

Apparently they looked a bit too much at the old microscopes, as it seems they now use the instruments to help them cut extremely fine hairs.

In addition to the CDC’s list of verboten words, the organization has offered alternatives to derogatory terms that will soon be gone. Instead of using the word “prisoner”, we will now use the expression “persons who are incarcerated”. So, I guess instead of titling a book “The Prisoner of Zenda”, it should be called “The Person Incarcerated at Hoosgow of Zenda”. This updated title isn’t as succinct or crisp as the original, and it doesn’t sound the same, but that’s not the point. I know, I know, I should have written “… Zenda Castle”, I just wanted to use the word hoosgow.

Another term now declared prohibited is that of alcoholic, which should be replaced by the expression “person suffering from alcohol consumption disorders”. So instead of Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA, the organization would now become PWAUDA. I always thought that the term “alcoholic” was a euphemism that was used in place of terms like “fool”, “drunkard”, “tosspot”, “boozer”, “lush” and so on. We have now been relegated to using euphemisms for euphemisms, formerly known as euphemisms. How much do we need to be euphemistic before our minds and vocabulary are reduced to fluff balls spouting out mere antics, lest some offenders be offended?

Parolees are now to be referred to as “persons who have been formally incarcerated”. No kidding! Will the “formally incarcerated persons” check with their “person who supervises officially incarcerated persons, officer,” who was previously called the parole officer? These descriptions become convoluted and complex to the point of being ridiculous.

From now on, retirees should no longer be called “old people” or “old people”, we should rather call them “old people” or “seniors”. Can’t call an elderly person, but can you call him or her an elderly person? What is the difference? Wonder how much it cost the taxpayer for that wobbly wokery nugget? The letter “Y” is removed to reduce the word to a noun instead of an adjective, and voila, all is well with the world?

It seems from the CDC’s findings that they might have something against adjectives in general. They found fault with words such as “alcoholic”, “elderly”, “disabled” and “distressed”. Push away those pesky adjectives and it’ll all be sun, lollipops and rainbows? How about our CDCs that focus on tackling the flu that kills millions of people around the world.

The term “senior” is now considered classist and therefore disappeared, especially if it used to mean the fourth year of a student’s studies. Penn State University spent a year dissecting and hairstyling to come to the conclusion that “many terms in our lexicon carry a strong male-centric binary character. Terms such as “freshman” are decidedly specific to men, while terms such as “upper class men” can be interpreted as both sexist and classist. Instead, Penn State faculty recommends using year one, year two, and so on.

The word man can refer to all human beings when used in a general sense, such as “goodwill towards all men”, without gender being involved. The next one on the record will be the word human. Could he be guillotined and replaced by “highly evolved apes?” Would the word police feel any better in this era of dark dystopian Darwinism? And may my friends be a topic for a future column, if I can walk a tightrope of political correctness through this thought.

David Kittredge is a regular contributor to the Eagle Times. You can send him comments through the editor.

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