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I’ve written before about the left’s unending quest to change hundreds—if not thousands—of words and phrases in our language because I find the effort pernicious, anti-free speech, and ultimately anti-American.
It’s also confusing—the pronoun “they” is the silliest entrant into the woke sweepstakes because grammatically it makes no sense. “John went to my high school, but then they went on to college.” Wait, who went where? I’m so confused.
It reminds me of one of the all-time great comedy classics, Abbott and Costello’s gem “Who’s on First:”
That’s comedy gold, but Stanford University recently issued a list of common words that you should no longer use because you might injure someone, and it’s not so funny. Not humorous either is the recently leaked 2022 stylebook for left-leaning news outlet Politico, which has some doozies. The word “mother” should be avoided, of course, because the left seems intent on erasing the notion of womanhood altogether—in fact, using the phrase “biological woman” is triggering too, according to them.
The revelations are contained in a new book set for release March 21 by journalist Amber Athey titled, “The Snowflakes’ Revolt: How Woke Millennials Hijacked American Media,” described by its publisher Simon & Schuster thusly:
The “snowflake” generation of college students didn’t simply melt away as expected, but rather, entered the workforce and hijacked mainstream media, using campus mob intimidation tactics to push America further to the left than ever before.
That’s an entirely accurate description of what’s been happening in America.
While working on my book, I managed to obtain a copy of Politico's 2022 style guide
The outlet advises reporters not to use "biological sex" because it insinuates trans people aren't actually the gender they claim to be (even though they are not) https://t.co/EqUAgoVP3c
— Amber Athey (@amber_athey) March 7, 2023
The book comes as recent headlines describe how the James Bond adventures by Ian Fleming and the wondrous children’s books of Roald Dahl have been edited by “sensitivity readers” who remove anything that might even have the tiniest chance of upsetting some weirded-out teen on TikTok.
Here are some of the things to stay away from saying if you’re unlucky enough to work at Politico, according to Athey:
- Crack the whip—unacceptable because of origins in slavery
- Waiter or waitress—’server’ should be used instead
- Biological gender, biological sex, biological woman, biological female, biological man, or biological male
- Illegal immigrant or illegal alien
- Cake walk—’originated during slavery’ and thus perpetuates ‘racist motifs’
Allow me to jump in here: although the term “cakewalk” originated during the years of slavery, it was used by slaves to mock their oppressors according to the Smithsonian Institution:
The cakewalk was a grand-promenade type of dance, where couples would take turns performing. The couple with the best dancing skills would then “take the cake,” an idiom that is still common today. But the cakewalk was more than a recreational dance; it also gave a chance for enslaved people to ridicule those who tyrannized them. The dancers would dress up in their finest clothes and parodied the mannerisms and dancing of the white Southern elite.
In other words, it may have to do with race, but it’s not de facto racist. If anything, it should be celebrated that the term is still in common use today, as it shows the resiliency of the oppressed and their willingness to pillory their overlords.
Here’s the style guide at work:
Behold, @Politico's woke style guide in action!
— Amber Athey (@amber_athey) March 8, 2023
But there’s more:
- In reference to illegal migration: onslaught, tidal wave, flood, inundation, surge, invasion, army, march, sneak and stealth
- Anchor baby
- Chain migration—this is a term used by ‘immigration hard-liners’
- Third-world countries—too ‘derogatory’
- Peanut gallery—The cheapest seats often occupied by Black people and people with low incomes
The phrase “peanut gallery” has been in use since the vaudeville days during the 1880s through the 1930s, and referred to the “cheap seats” in the house. (Doubtless, “cheap seats” will soon be a banned phrase.)
But was it racist? Not so fast, says The Conversation:
…since those seats were also occupied [not just by blacks but also] by poorer people and immigrants, there is some debate over whether the expression was racially motivated or was a more general derogatory term for less affluent people.
Politico enlisted the help of three transgender people to consult on the silly list. They held a seminar for writers and this was their sage advice:
“Gendered words, they said, can be rooted in ‘exclusion’ and can actually cause ‘trauma’ for transgender and gender-neutral individuals,” writes Athey, who obtained an email sent by Politico editors summarizing the seminar.
“One former Politico reporter who attended the seminar said the panelists complained that the word ‘mother’ could potentially be offensive when used by reporters and mocked reporters who had a hard time grappling with the grammatical implications of referring to singular individuals as ‘they/them.”’
The obsession with transgenderism in our media, academia, and even our politics—and the effort to wipe out any notion of gender in our communications— comes despite the fact that a May 2022 Fox News report shows that we have no idea how many biological women identifying as men actually become pregnant. In other words, they’re trying to throw away the word “mother” for an unknown but presumably tiny number of biological females who honestly want to be pregnant “men” and referred to as “birthing persons.”
I am not “anti-trans,” and am not in the business of telling other people (well, adults anyway) how to lead their lives. But I believe strongly that this endless assault on the English language for political reasons must be constantly called out and mocked—because it’s not only an attack on our words, it’s an attack on our culture.