Nathanael Green's Blog

An advertising copywriter, novelist, and freelance writer's brain goo.

Posts Tagged ‘banned books

Bad Euphemisms, Political Correctness and Censorship

with 18 comments

1984

It’s Banned Books Week. So in celebration, let’s look at censorship, how politically correct speech is ruining schools and why euphemisms are silly.

Censored words

Does anyone really consider vertically challenged a good alternative to short? Does old really carry such a negative connotation to require us to remove it from our speech?

Some people think so. This article outlines how committees have banned words like bookworm and blind from US textbooks in the interest of sensitivity.

I think it’s ridiculous. Not just because it’s easy to see how being politically correct can be taken too extremes (the article uses the example of The Older Person and the Water to sanitize Hemingway’s famous novella The Old Man and the Sea). And not just because too often this seems to be an effort to protect groups that really feel no need to be protected (many people who can’t hear prefer the term deaf over hearing impaired, even though the former has been stigmatized as politically incorrect). But also because euphemisms rarely stay euphemistic.

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Written by Nathanael Green

September 30, 2009 at 8:19 pm