“Damage for all our future”
Gentle readers, are you aware of the existence of Sheryl Sandberg? If you are, you are well ahead of WOOF, or rather well ahead of where we were before we became aware of her, perforce, approximately a week ago. It seems that Ms. (as we presume she would prefer to be prefixed) Sandberg is, among other things, the chief operating officer of Facebook, and a graduate of the Harvard School of Business, which in itself probably speaks volumes. Okay, so we thought Facebook was operated more or less exclusively by Mark Zuckerberg out of a solar powered yurt, or something like that, somewhere in White Plains, New York. Evidently we were mistaken. It may be that Facebook’s founder is distracted currently by his traumatic discovery that President Obama is using the National Security Agency to spy on Facebook users. Worse, even after Mr. Zuckerberg dispatched a letter to the president–which he manifestly wrote himself–urging the abandonment of the snooping campaign, and even after he followed up with a phone call to the Oval Office, Facebook’s founder evoked no reaction from his favorite president beyond congenial indifference.
“I‘ve called President Obama to express my frustration over the damage the government is creating for all of our future,” Zuckerberg told the press, adding, a bit crestfallen, that “Unfortunately, it seems like it will take a very long time for true full reform.” WOOF shares Mr. Zuckerberg’s concern that “true full reform” may not be on the president’s schedule for this week, or for the remainder of his term for that matter, and posits that Mr. Zuckerberg’s dumbfoundedness at discovering this may constitute an example of the kinds of legitimate distractions that require Ms. Sandberg’s additional hand on the tiller at Facebook. Still, we might have remained blissfully unaware of Ms. Sandberg’s existence had she not recently given rise to an authentically annoying argument and in doing so intensified our belief that the country’s so-called intelligentsia is currently insane.
The Sandberg Initiative
Yes, we know, Boeing 777s are going missing over the South China Sea, and Russian troops are flooding the Crimea, and Iran is preparing to nuke Israel while the EPA is busy fining farmers 75K per diem for building ponds on their own property—and you are probably wondering why in the midst of all this we are devoting our full attention to Ms. Sandberg’s seemingly moronic exertions, but bear with us—we are admittedly distracted, but it is precisely at times like these, with so many distractions offered from so many quarters, that one does well to refocus on the seemingly mundane…for therein may the Devil’s most cunning exertions oft be descried.
As you may or may not be aware, Sheryl Sandberg has mounted a massive media campaign in which she exhorts her fellow Americans, seemingly in all seriousness, to ban the word “bossy.” That’s right. Ban it. And if Sheryl Sandberg were alone in this bizarre manifestation of psychosis, it would probably be dismissible as just one more febrile eruption from the distaff wing of the Liberal Elite. But no, Ms. Sandberg has company. Her fellow petitioners form an odd assortment of like-minded luminaries, some as predictable as the wearisome Beyonce, or at least as unsurprising as Jennifer Warren (who battled reality for 5 seasons on Alias), but others as jarring as Condoleezza Rice—et tu, Condi?—and the Girl Scouts of America. Okay, to be honest, the Girl Scouts have been a leftwing instrument of subornment for decades now, but it’s still a bit saddening.
We realize that some of you are learning of Ms. Sandberg’s crusade (or is that a banned word?) for the first time here, and if you are not as nuts as she is, you may be wondering what would bestir a person to suddenly declare war on a simple, two-syllable, informal adjective. Even assuming that Ms. Sandberg has no life whatsoever and is utterly desperate for some means of passing her time (which is surely not the case), what could possibly possess her to launch a nationwide campaign to eradicate this simple, workaday colloquialism from our vernacular? What peculiar obsession drove her to establish a campaign website [viewable here] where visitors can “Pledge to Ban Bossy” and download scads of unimaginative, generic looking propaganda to further the cause?
In love with the spirit!
What collective slippage befell an American nation in which boundless enthusiasm is almost instantly forthcoming from numerous media outlets in support of a campaign the most striking features of which are inanity and fascism? Do you remember when these were the basic ingredients of slapstick? Chaplin combined inanity with fascism in “The Great Dictator” and audiences rolled in the aisle. Mel Brooks did it again in “The Producers” and achieved a similar result—but nowadays liberalism repeatedly conjoins these juxtapositionally-hilarious concepts, and nobody even titters—on the contrary, the news pundits nod reverently even as the blogosphere erupts with approval. Victoria Coren Mitchell of the Guardian acknowledged the irony of commanding people not to be bossy, but hastily added, “I’m in love with the spirit of the campaign!”
Rossalyn Warren at Upworthy gasped, “This word may seem harmless, but why are boys never called bossy?” And that’s the point here, in case you haven’t guessed. Women are the putative victims of this newly-discovered anti-female pejorative! And in that light, Judith Ireland of the Canberra Times has judged the banning of ‘bossy’ a beginning, but only a beginning, calling for the banning of such additional offenses against women as “stubborn,” “pushy,” ”emotional,” ”sensitive” and ”shrill.” On a positive note, Christine Arreola of The New Abides, while saluting the ban, was good enough to suggest some allowable alternatives. Next time you are on the verge of calling someone bossy—assuming that someone is female—try saying “assertive, bold, [or] confident,” or, you may legitimately refer to the female in question as “a trailblazer.” “Just don’t call them bossy.”
Blogger/author/lecturer Ann Handley offered her view that a more nuanced discussion of leadership might prove more helpful than a simple word ban, but seemed to suffer afterthoughts, declaring, “It’s hard not to love the movement that Sheryl (and now the Girl Scouts) have ignited.” Really? Handley then added, “I almost wrote, ‘As a woman… it’s hard not to love…’ But you know what? It’s hard for any modern, thinking person not to get behind the broader themes of Sheryl’s mission.” Perhaps this is so, but WOOF has no problem at all not getting behind those broader themes—perhaps because we have no ‘modern, thinking persons’ here in the WOOF cave; but just as probably because we have a much scarier interpretation of what the “broader themes” of Sheryl Sandberg’s mission really conduce toward. Like, for instance, the lobotomization of the American mind (and the effective prohibition of protest against the fascistic implications of liberal dominance.) Yes, gulp. WOOF smells bolshevism in the wind!
The Bloom Imperative
All right, we understand that collectivist tyranny was never the announced intention of political correctness, which viewed from the poop deck of the good Ship Lollipop (domestic liberalism’s flagship) is still redolent of sweetness and light…and social justice, that most malignant of enticing euphemisms. And since one of the customary ports of call for the Good Ship Lollipop is Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, we thought we would borrow a few strands of pearlescent wisdom from one of that backwater dockyard’s most representative denizens and quote a considerable portion of what the estimable Marilyn Edelstein, Ph.D., has to say on the subject. “First,” Dr. Edelstein declares, “political correctness is used to describe the goals of those advocating a more pluralistic, multicultural, race-, gender-, and class-sensitive curriculum. Second, certain academicians are branded politically correct for insisting that intellectual inquiry reflects, to some degree, the values and interests of the inquirer and that aesthetic judgments are always intertwined with moral and political ones.”
[WOOF interrupts here merely to point out that Dr. Edelstein errs, quite innocently we’re sure, in her penultimate example. In fact, such academicians as she describes are branded postmodernists, and postmodernism is a considerable distance down the tracks from political correctness for myriad reasons not immediately germane to this discussion] and “Third,” Dr. Edelstein concludes, “and most harshly, people are labeled politically correct for advocating university policies designed to minimize sexual and racial harassment on campuses. Fuller understanding of these three issues is critical if the widening public debate over political correctness is to become fruitful and illuminating rather than bitter and confused.” It is stacking the deck, of course, to insist that any debate over political correctness (insofar as any such debate must perforce include critics of the topic, brandishing arguments they presumably deem as valid or more valid than Dr. Edelstein’s) cannot prove “fruitful or enlightening” unless Dr. Edelstein’s highly mootable points are conceded exordially. This is a classic example of how debate is framed on liberal campuses, of course, and we have already learned from Dr. Edelstein’s characterization that any participants not eager to accept her definitions as starting points are “bitter and confused,” and no thinking individual wants that! This is the kind of cyclical paralogism that Allan Bloom used as fodder for his brilliant 1987 book, The Closing of the American Mind.
To simplify Bloom’s point as it applies to the immediate situation, we have been told by this protectress of open scholarly enquiry what it is that one must espouse and rehearse in order to be open minded. We have then been told that views of a decidedly contrary nature to the ones exposited by Dr. Edelstein are…well…narrow minded. And because the champions of open discourse and freedom of thought (that would be Dr. Edelstein, her students and her colleagues on the faculty, in case you haven’t guessed) cannot permit their cherished venue of free and open discussion to be sullied by the narrow minded Neanderthals at the gates, spreading their “bitter and confused” rhetoric—they must be banished—banished in the name of academic liberty, no less–and thus, per Bloom, we witness the closing of the American mind in which heavy-handed censorship disports itself as the defense of free expression. Once you understand Bloom’s insight, you understand the fascistic nature of the modern American campus. Sadly, the professors aren’t any better aware of it, but at least you are.
Condi and the Pirates
One of the most enticing as well as saddest ironies of the phenomenon—this closing of the American mind on campuses around the nation, is the damage it metes out to even its would-be supporters so far as the word-banning business is concerned. For well over a decade, we here in the WOOF cave have been lambasted by many well intentioned readers and recipients of WOOFALERTS who deem our enthusiasm for Dr. Rice unwarranted. We have invariably shrugged this off, and as some of you know we unhesitatingly endorsed Dr. Rice for the Republican nomination in 2008, util she sensibly but irresponsibly insisted she preferred to watch football. We continue to believe that had Condi accepted the mantle of her party’s leadership and battled Barack Hussein Obama for the presidency, she would have beaten him, and served honorably and brightly as our nation’s first Black, and first female chief of state. Instead, sadly, Dr. Rice preferred to follow the NFL and play piano, and WOOF has said in previous postings that nobody bears more blame for the devastation wrought upon this Republic by the Marxist, Obama, and his communist confreres, than Condoleezza Rice—and yet we persist in adoring her. We were all the more shocked, we confess, to see her participating (at least to the point of doing a cameo and saying a line or two) in a ban-bossy commercial produced by Sheryl Sandberg’s demented Lean-in Foundation. Rather on a par, we thought, with Newt Gingrich’s shatterpated decision to sit on a sofa with Nancy Pelosi discussing the putative encroachments of global warming. McCain? Of course—or Dole? From them this sort of giddy bipartisanship is to be expected and dismissed with a groan—but Newt? Honestly, WOOF thought better of the man.
But probably anyone can have a Newt moment, and perhaps Condi’s was her ill-considered willingness to join up with Sandberg and her merry band of lexical brownshirts. Sometimes, too, it must be acknowledged that a certain yearning to be deloused socially—to be treated cordially by the Post and the NY Times, to be toasted smilingly by the inside-the beltway society mavens, can get the best of even the stoutest among us. Certainly McCain and Lindsey Graham play ball for this reason, and because they are not intelligent men, they have never understood their rolls as patsies—useful idiots to be praised and televised while agreeing with the Democrat Left until, inevitably, the time comes ‘round when scalding them with published venom once again takes tactical precedence. McCain and Graham will never learn, because they’re blockheads. But Condi? We cannot bring ourselves to impute to her such tawdry motivations as impel the miscreancies of a Graham or a McCain—nor a Susan Collins nor a Michael Castle (ugh!)—no, she is a better person than they. She may have been honoring a friendship, or repaying a debt—she may, we feel obliged to consider, actually feel that women will fare better in seeking higher positions if the sexist rhetoric that invariably greets a strong woman in pursuit of a position of power is cooled through the raising of consciousness—and if this is what motivated her, we will accuse her of nothing more damnatory than niavte. But Condoleezza—and after all the emails we sent you begging you to run seven years ago, we feel as though we can address you as Condoleezza in a fullness of unwavering affection– if you were in any degree driven by the fantasy that you might somehow defuse the antipathy of the insensate left, perhaps particularly the academic left, by lending your visage and voice to these puerile assaults on free expression, you must already realize the foolish nature of that whim. Even now, in the immediate aftermath of Dr. Rice’s association with this leftist campaign, the closing of the American mind as noted and prophesied by Professor Bloom seeks too further disparage her character. As Dr. Rice knows full well, and as you, gentle reader, may or may not know equally well, Rutgers University offered former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Rice the honor of appearing as its commencement speaker this spring. An honorary doctorate (as though the lady hasn’t enough authentic ones!) was tossed into the bargain, and Dr. Rice graciously accepted. And the student body seemed pleased and open to hearing her address. Not so, however, the keepers of the flame of academic collegiality—no, the sybaritic fops and harpies crowding the Rutgers New Brunswick Faculty Council hollered, nyet, nyet, nyet! These fading Yippees and mothballed bra burners were horrified—horrified that somebody whose views might in certain degrees clash with the accepted truths that pass for “open mindedness” on the Rutgers campus be permitted to approach an open microphone over which she might disseminate thoughts distinct from the faculty lounge “unithink” that, needless to say defines open-mindedness for these withering flower children. The threat was appalling enough that the Faculty Council rushed to produce a manifesto stating that “the school should not honor Rice because of her role in the war in Iraq and the Bush administration’s use of controversial interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding.” Worse, “Condoleezza Rice … played a prominent role in the administration’s effort to mislead the American people about the presence of weapons of mass destruction”—and while that charge is in every detail preposterous, you may safely assume it is exactly what will be taught to the zombie army of Rutgers students whose professors will program and unleash them to shout Dr. Rice off stage in the event that her invitation holds and she is plucky enough to appear! There is no sop to the addled left, no matter how sincerely intended, that can buy Rice dispensation against the closing of the American mind! Certainly not her phlegmatic gesture toward the prohibition of a measly little non-standard adjective. And so, you may ask, isn’t the Left waxing “bossy,” in this regard? And no, they will reply—they are “speaking truth to power,” forgetting, conveniently, that the leftist establishment in America is the power!
We heard Dr. Edelstein’s version of what political correctness is—she told us it promoted multiculturalism and limits sexism and racism on campus while ensuring that the only views allowable will be those that are “fruitful and illuminating rather than bitter and confused.” WOOF has no intention of suggesting that this definition is not authentically representative of Dr. Edelstein beliefs. If we were to accuse her of fascistic tendencies she would almost certainly stare at us, slack jawed and incredulous. She would explain at length that she is open minded, and seeks only to silence those who are not similarly enlightened. That her arguments reflect older, identical arguments effortlessly locatable in Mein Kampf and comparable (as indeed they have been broadly compared) to vital underpinnings of Marxist dogma (as here,for instance), might astonish her. The transformation of a magnificent, complexly descriptive language into a severely limited idiolect of prescribed, state-sanctioned usages from which all contrasting or dissenting locutions have been banned is most glaringly an achievement of Mao Tse Tung’s Red China though it has certainly metastasized since. Propaganda and thought control during Mao’s reign of terror on the communist mainland pioneered a number of these techniques, most notably a heavy reliance on “ideological remolding” and “thought reform.”
All this came with the use of a controlled and regimented jargon by which resistant political thinkers could be ostracized by “the people,” subjected to ritual humiliation (not a process invented by the Rutgers Faculty) and either slaughtered or subjected to months of political study undertaken in “re-education camps” where forbidden concepts and words were replaced with words and concepts acceptable to the communist government. One of the great misnomers of the radical ‘60s (one that Lyndon Johnson could not be disabused of during his disastrous presidency) was that Russian KGB agents were running the left-wing youth movements of the “New Left” out of Moscow. This was largely untrue (although Moscow was certainly making a game effort!) Unlike the McCarthy era of a decade earlier, during which the Department of State, the educational system, mainline churches, labor unions and the arts were heavily and successfully infiltrated by conscious agents of the Soviet Union, the radical youth of the 60s were drawn far more fiercely to Castro in their own hemisphere, and the Maoists in Beijing than to the beetle-browed Brezhnev or the eternally dyspeptic Kosygin, The Russian mission, in any case, might fairly be called accomplished, witness how suddenly our newspapers, magazines, TV programs, church pulpits, and motion pictures took the position of the student radicals within the decade! But the Chinese government was ill prepared at the time to capitalize on their booming popularity among our nations college radicals—they failed to undertake a campaign of subornment on American soil of anything like the magnitude the Kremlin had launched in an era when only McCarthy, Whitaker Chambers, Elizabeth Bentley and a few gutsy congressmen on the House UnAmerican Activities Committee stood against them. Even without active support from the Chinese Reds, American radicals turned to the literature of Mao’s revolution and dictatorship with reverential enthusiasm. The vital role of propaganda and “thought work” in China’s political subjugation made a tremendous impression on the young leftists in American dorms and urban centers in the late ’60s. These same ardent students of the Maoist approach to language grew into first-tier leaders of the American Left during the ‘70s and spearheaded the post-Vietnam rush to the extreme left under Carter and Clinton, the use of language as a revolutionary weapon came with them. It came with them into politics, into cabinet appointments, into news reporting and of course, into the universities!
Ominous Parallels (apologies to Leonard Peikoff)
Today the parallels with our own “political correctness” are unmistakable. For example,the Chinese Communists use the technique of “thought work” (sixiang gongzuo) to manipulate language in such ways as may best guarantee popular obedience. These experts insist that while Mao’s campaigns aimed to transform Chinese society by developing a revolutionary lexicon to which loyal citizens of the state were required to adhere, the modern Chinese methods use thought control to spread government views in the media through the shared language of obedience. Just as significantly, self criticism is mandated for comrades who stray from the approved idiom.
Case in point
How many of us remember John King at CNN during the Boston Marathon bombings who practically wept as he wrestled with whether or not to report that his informants were telling him a dark-skinned male was being taken into custody by police? “I want to be very careful with this because people get very sensitive when you say these things. I was told by one of the sources, who is a law enforcement official, this was a dark skinned male. The official used some other words. I’m not going to repeat them…” (He didn’t dare say Arab, in other words.) Note the Marxist-like self criticism to which he reverted, and the refusal to employ terminologies that were not officially approved by the Leftist Establishment Media. He couldn’t report the news, because it didn’t fit the thought control template! King went into another fit of Marxist self criticism when one of his guests used a “banned” reference. On King’s program of January 19, 2011, a guest analyst committed the grave error of remarking that Rahm Emanuel was going to have it rough in his political bid to become Chicago’s mayor because several other candidates had him “in their crosshairs.” King waited until his non-thought-controlled guest departed the monitor and then turned to the camera in frozen horror to offer a personal apology to his (few) viewers, asking forgiveness for the use of a firearm-related metaphor while on the air. “We’re trying to get away from using that kind of language” He said, solemnly. (audio available here).
What’s the frequency, Sheryl??
So let’s be clear about the vital point of “PC” rhetoric and its accompanying list of mandated exclusions, shall we? Once you wade through all the persiflage, all the brain deadening goody-two-shoes injunctions to always say this or that, and to never say that or that other thing, you have before you a weapon for the advancement of communist subversion within the United States as potent, or more so than Alger Hiss or Theodore Hall or any of their comrades ever were. For, as the Maoists of the early ‘50s were perfectly aware, once you have shut down a nation’s language—its ability to call a thing by its proper name, or to impugn certain concepts deserving of criticism, or speak out against the advancement of evil without sounding insensitive and unjust, you have neutered your adversaries so profoundly that you may safely expect to run rings around them while they struggle to formulate descriptions of your perfidies from the paltry set of locutions they retain the right to employ. This is not exactly a new concept, gentle readers—and it is certainly not originally a communist insight. Take a look at Genesis 11 and you will note that to “confound the language of all the earth” was a tactic used, originally, on the side of the angels, perverted as is everything sacred, by the Worldwide Totalitarian Socialist Consiracy that Governs Us. And should the beleaguered patriot stray from the path of political correctness in his anxiousness to sound the alarm, the lexicon of political correctness comes replete with hundreds of denunciatory buzz lines that will put the upstart to shame without the slightest mental exertion required.
Should an unwary eristic speak out against homosexuals in the infantry, he can be dismissed as “homophobic” and the day is won. Should he opine that an unchecked flood of undocumented aliens entering our country may deracinate American culture and bankrupt the exchequer, one need merely trot out the charge of “xenophobe!” and the issue is cast aside. If the point is raised that Global Warming is unfalsifiable pseudo-science, the scoundrel may be incriminated as a “denier” while those foolish enough to resist the presidential ambitions of Mrs. Clinton are sexists and part of “the war on women” (but we’re coming to that!). Should notice be taken of the large number of known communists by whom the president was raised and educated and with whom he persists in surrounding himself while in office, one need merely invoke the magical phrase “McCarthyism!” and everyone will laugh and ignore reality. Similarly, “neo-cons” think we should spend more on defense, while “Zionists” think wee should support Israel. A politically-correct pejorative renders their desires unconscionable in the liberal cosmogony…just as any special privilege denied a female, such as denying her candy bowls brimming with free contraceptives, becomes “the Republican war on women!” Just as “binders,” those handy repositories of important documents such as dossiers of female candidates for job positions to which the hapless Mitt Romney made reference during the 2012 campaign, was transformed (however irrationally) into some sort of sly, sadomasochistic slur against the fairer sex. Seriously, gentle readers, until we have rolled back political correctness, we are doomed to play the game on the Left’s home court, by the Left’s surreal rules.
“Damn, this again?”
Sure, a lot of political correctness is just mindless schlock—the kind of stuff that slows us down a little, causes us some embarrassed moments of adjustment, but hardly threatens the nation’s security—at least in any overt way. If we must now call a man-hole cover a Personnel Access Unit, or think of a blackboard as a chalkboard so as to remove the connotation of race, or bid one another “happy holidays” in December for fear of imposing Christian values on Muslim or Hindu merrimakers, and if we need to say Asia instead of Orient because some 27-year-old wonk in some ivory tower decided the word “Oriental” was redolent of the “yellow peril, ” we can struggle along. And if we must now satisfy an increasing number of manuals of style by writing “he or she” or “him and her” when any English major could explain the unnecessary nature of doing so—we can adjust. Most of this dreck would erode our language quietly, unobtrusively, even amusingly. But then we get to the next tier of the assault in which some may become sensible that valued institutions are being nibbled upon by lexical termites, our discomfort seems to intensify. The agenda seems to show itself less timorously and more perfidiously when we are reminded that a professor at Ball State University was recently banned from even mentioning the concept of intelligent design because the term violated “academic integrity.” Okay, so stupid professors don’t kill anybody, but Arab terrorists do.
Take the Fort Hood massacre during which Major Nidal Hasan nonchalantly gunned down 32 of his fellow soldiers. The Army had binders (oops!) of information proving Hasan was an Islamic extremist on the verge of jihad –their files poured forth devastating indictments of the Major, but although the evidence incontrovertibly supported the fact that Hasan’s views were at once psychotic and violent, and that he intended to wreck havoc against his fellow servicemen in the name of Allah, no action was undertaken nor was he ever disciplined for his views. Instead, his record was sheep-dipped in keeping with the military’s policy of downplaying Islamic extremism in its ranks, and his fitness reports were sanitized accordingly. And after he murdered 13 Americans the President re-defined his murder spree as “workplace violence” rather than acknowledge it as terrorism. What an age we live in! But remember, the president is a man who won election to his first term at least in part by conniving with his fully supportive press cadres to excoriate anyone who referred to his middle name, “Hussein.” Allude to it, however respectfully, and you were instantly branded a hater, race-baiter, or worse, an Islamophobe. Major news providers, such as AP and Reuters refuse to use the word terrorist in describing our adversaries in the Middle East, and similar sanctions have been placed upon words once as familiar as “articulate,” (now a code reference for Blacks who speak well, which is evidently insulting.) “You hear it and you just think, ‘Damn, this again?’ ” complained Michael Eric Dyson, a professor of humanities at the University of Pennsylvania, where Blacks evidently know better than to hurl such obloquies at one another, or ever to say “hold down the fort” which the Global Language Monitor reminds us may be offensive to Native Americans, by which is meant, of course, American Indians, although we are not aloud to say so.
The two stupidest…
And by the way, the two stupidest political correctisms that WOOF has ever encountered are surely the tendency to describe American Indian’s as “Native Americans,” and the equally absurd phrase “African American,” neither of which makes operative or grammatical sense. First, anyone born in this country is a native American, right? If you were born of a Jewish mother and a Latvian father in Sausalito, California, you may safely refer to yourself as a Native American. You were born here, damn it! So always check the box that reads “Native American” if you were born in the States—it’s your birth right! If we MUST have a special politically correct term for American Indians, why don’t we borrow the Canadian phrase and call them First Nations People? That’s even kind of beautiful, and it doesn’t offend common sense. So why not? (Although polls recurrently demonstrate that most American Indians have no objection to being called American Indians.) As for African Americans, what on earth does this mean? Are they African or American? Are they in the process of deciding? And what makes them African? Are they from there, have they visited there, were they born there?
Do they just dress like they think people would dress who were from there? Does it matter even slightly that 1.1 billion people inhabit Africa’s 12 million square miles, and that these people are divided between 54-plus countries? Or that many of these countries contain large populations of white people, Arabs, Egyptians, and Libyans? Isn’t Gary Player an African American? And what about the millions of Blacks who never came from Africa at all? Jamaicans, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, others from the West Indies? And what about a black person who comes to America from England, or France. Is he now expected to be a British or French African American? “Blacks” was a perfectly good term for our darker brethren back when H. Rap Brown and Stokely Carmichael began insisting on it as opposed to”negro”—it caught on and served the population well, until Jesse Jackson called a press conference in 1988 to announce his decision that Blacks should be called African American and confused the situation utterly.
Why Bossy? Why now? Hmmmm?
So is it really high time to add “bossy’ to the long list of liberally banished locutions that must now shamble into the netherworld of once-convivial usages ruled socially unjust by the high priests of the New Lexicography? Must we bid “bossy” adieu as we have “gay” in its original context, or “queer” as a Lovecraftian synonym for odd, or jungle (which must now be rain forest), or fat, which must now be rephrased in some manner we can’t recall off hand, or illegal when conjoined to aliens who are now merely undocumented? WOOF thinks not—in fact, we rather suggest the line be held here…especially since we have late news that no less a person than Sandra Fluke, fresh from protesting the agony of college life without ample supplies of federally-funded condoms, has joined the movement to “ban bossy!” What further proof is required of this salient’s insipidity? And here’s another good reason to stand up for bossiness, gentle readers: The agenda behind the particularization of “Bossy” as a proscribed adjective—one to be shunned by sensitive, civilized conversationalists throughout the land—is the presidential campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
That’s right. Make no mistake, this is no simple, playful beau geste aimed at elevating the tone of male/female colloquy. This is a major campaign-related effort to help nullify, to nip in the bud, one of Hillary Clinton’s most frequently tabulated negatives—the fact that focus group after focus group perceives her as too “bossy.” Interestingly, the word isn’t really heard all that much in routine parlance except during Hillary’s focus-group debriefings. Was there, really, until this very moment, a decided lexicographical predilection to view the term as predominantly defamatory of women? Weren’t Perry White and J. Jonah Jameson thought of as “bossy?” Wasn’t Mr. Dithers, the bain of Dagwood Bumstead’s existence, “bossy?” How about R. Lee Ermey? What about Donald Trump? What about Patton? Since when did “bossy” become the politer equivalent of the other “b” word? Since it became a word that threatened Hillary’s march back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, that’s since when! And how could a sweet, well-meaning lady like Sheryl Sandberg, busy as a bee just trying to make Facebook a friendlier place to post your chili recipes and funny cat pictures, have possibly gotten herself caught up in a master plan to march a paleo-Stalinist apparat-chick like Hillary Rodham Clinton into the Oval Office? Well, gosh, Woofketeers, it turns out that Sheryl Sandberg actually knows Mrs. Clinton—hardly extraordinary, of course, the way these glitterati mix it up nowadays, but Sandberg turns out to have worked as chief of staff to Larry Summers under the last Clinton administration. She “maxed out” in her personal donations to Hillary both in 2007 and 2008, and paved the way for a Facebook video featuring Meryl Streep praising Hillary in a way that Sheryl termed, “amazing!” In 2013, Sheryl Sandberg presented Mrs. Clinton with the Champion of Peace Award (we are not making this up) and gushed effusively about the the possibility of a 2016 run for the presidency by her favorite bossy female. It was, apparently, feminist Germaine Greer who brainstormed the idea of banning bossy together in tandem with mind-numbing recitations about “the Republican War on Women,” to which so many of our well meaning yet hopelessly shatterpated fellow voters continue to give credence.
The new Bermuda triangle?
So be aware, brave Woofketeers, that while your gaze was cast skyward in the vain hope of rescue for the ill fated Boeing 777 that so distracted us, more deviltry was being plied here on terra firma, where the “beach prep” for Hillary’s 2016 onslaught is well underway, led by such seemingly trivial entities as Sheryl Sandberg, Jennifer Warren, Sheryl Streep, and yes, now the almost wholly inconsequential Sandra Fluke—her one glimmer of utility being her absurd but always-resurrectable association with that war on women that so infamously required her to shell out for her own condoms. As always, dear readers, we here at Watchdogs of Our Freedom have kept our eye on the ball, our nose to the ground, and brought you this perspicacious update of what further depredations were visited upon our native tongue whilst the media blathered ceaselessly about everything from secret island airports to black holes to “The New Bermuda Triangle!” (WOOF is not making this up!–Actually CNN is!) And needless to say, we were going to offer some brilliant suggestions in closing as to how this whole, stupefyingly inane effort to ban “bossy” can be adroitly turned against its intended beneficiary to produce the perfect antidote! Sadly, somebody else already went to print with it–but you know us here at WOOF--we’re not proud! So in closing, here’s the perfect way to demonstrate solidarity with Sandberg, Garner, Fluke, et al., without sacrificing a single principle, and while laughing all the way down the road! [click here for a sticker–WOOF, sadly, is unprofitably non-affiliated!]