How can I teach my students to write decently when the English language has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Academic-Industrial Complex? Our language used to belong to all its speakers and readers and writers. But in the 1970s and '80s, arrogant ideologues began recasting English into heavy artillery to defend the borders of the New Feminist state. In consequence we have all got used to sentences where puffed-up words like "chairperson" and "humankind" strut and preen, where he-or-she's keep bashing into surrounding phrases like bumper cars and related deformities blossom like blisters;
Thus David Gelernter begins his article titled Feminism and the English Language. I don’t know if he called it that reflecting Orwell’s Politics and the English Language. Not bad, though as I guess we shall always have some would be caste wanting to appropriate control of lingusitic expression.
In 1984, Newspeak would be a language of as simple expression as possible in order to limit rebellious thought. I guess it is always thought control.
Men and women should be fighting any group that wishes to control minds. They talk about “liberation.” No mind can be liberated that is controlled by an ideology, no matter how well meaning.
Now, I will never be considered an exemplar of good grammar, but the official controlling authority of the voice of humility is by our decree, Strunk and White’s Elements of Style, 1962 edition, even if I never open my copy again.
Mr. Gelernter is somewhat neoconnish and this article was found at an AEI site. No matter, it is a good job. I’m not going to be controlled by ideology.
Here in Massachusetts the speech police are ever busy. In the Peoples' Republic of Amherst, the elected officials are called the Select Board instead of the Board of Selectmen. The writ of the Correctarians is not absolute. My town still prefers the old usage even though the ablest members that have ever served that I know of were two women.
The ne plus ultra of feminist inspired speech was the construct used by Marty Sender on WBZ-TV Boston's Evening Magazine. He commended someone for showing great showpersonship. What is amazing is that happened way back in the seventies.