Cumberland Times-News

Jim Goldsworthy - Anything and Everything

May 11, 2013

Where is the ridicule, now that we need it?

Some of those who build and sell houses no longer refer to the “master bedroom.” It is now the “owner’s bedroom.”

This would have done me no good when I was still renting an apartment, because I didn’t own the place. And it wasn’t the owner’s bedroom, because she never slept there.

I just called it “the bedroom,” which is what I call one of the two rooms where I sleep in the house I now own. The other is called “the living room,” because I sleep there in my recliner. (My parents used to call it “the front room” because it’s in the front part of the house.)

According to The Washington Business Journal, homebuilders are eliminating the term “master” bedroom because it has “dominant male or slaveowner connotations.”

What are mechanics are going to have to start calling the master cylinder and slave cylinder, which are parts of an automobile’s hydraulic system?

My first recollection of an attempt to foist politically correct linguistic change upon us dates to 1978.

The Woonsocket, R.I., town council voted to change “manhole” to “personhole,” but was subjected to so much ridicule that it rescinded the action two weeks later.

About the same time, a woman decided to legally change her name from “Zimmerman” to “Zimmerwoman.”

But it may go back even farther. A popular female wrestler of the 1950s called herself “Slave Girl Moolah.” Then, almost overnight, she became “The Fabulous Moolah.”

If it’s politically incorrect, there’s a chance I won’t object to it ... although I would consider some changes to be reasonable.

It’s not unreasonable for a woman who belongs to a fire department to be called a “firefighter” instead of a “fireman.”

“Firefighter” is perfectly acceptable, and so is “mail carrier” ... although “letter carrier” might be even better, considering that “mail” and “male” are pronounced the same.

“Mailperson” would be just as absurd as “fireperson.”

When a lady attorney friend of mine joined the state’s attorney’s office, I congratulated her upon becoming a “prosecutrix.” (Hey, Amelia Earhart was an “aviatrix.”)

She just stared at me for a while, then decided I was just being Goldy.

When the same lady admonished me for saying, “Indian” instead of “Native American,” I told her that I am a Native American, and so were my father and my grandfather. My great-grandfather was a Native Englishman. Got the same response.

Most of the time, I could care less what people call things.

If someone wants to go on about Negro Mountain or the Washington Redskins, I tell them, “Look around, and I’m sure you’ll find someone who would be happy to argue with you about that. It would not be me.”

I do try to avoid saying things that would genuinely hurt someone’s feelings. That’s easy enough to do without meaning to, and there are certain descriptive words I refuse to use on the grounds that they offend me.

Here, from the Newspeak Dictionary, are a few once-common terms that have been replaced by terms that are more politically correct in today’s world, with my own italicized comments added where appropriate:

Broken home / dysfunctional family. One of my numerous ex-girlfriends said her family put the fun in dysfunctional.

Factory / plant. (Newspeak says “factory” is a place where mistreated laborers worked long hours to produce pollution that belched forth from giant smokestacks; “plant” has a natural connotation.)

Fat / enlarged physical condition caused by a completely natural genetically-induced hormone imbalance. More likely the result of an unnaturally high consumption of calories.

Illegal aliens / undocumented immigrants. Or, as some folks like to call them, unregistered potential Democrats.

Jungle / rain forest (Newspeak says happy Walt Disney characters live and frolic in the rain forest; lions, tigers, cannibals and diseases live and lurk in the jungle.) Lions, tigers and cannibals seem not to discriminate by gender, so perhaps we should call them “person-eaters.”

Natural disaster / unnatural event caused by man’s destruction of the environment. More likely, it is a perfectly natural event of the type that nobody paid any attention to until television news began concentrating on such things and “Global Warming” and “Climate Change” became popular. There have always been forest fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes; we’re just getting in their way a lot more than we did when the population was smaller.

Sex change / gender reassignment. Considering what’s involved, “gender reconstruction” might be more appropriate.

Swamp / wetland (Basically the same reasons that a “jungle” is now a “rain forest.”)

Sometimes, we don’t change words and terms to be politically correct, but to make them sound better.

What once was a jail is now a “detention center,” and a prison is a “correctional institution.”

A “dump” is a “landfill.” A crash barrier is an “impact attenuator.” A “soldier” is a “war fighter” (Marines are still Marines, and don’t refer to them as soldiers).

“Stewards” and “stewardesses” are “flight attendants.” “Secretaries” are “adminstrative assistants.” “Sales clerks” are “associates.” Some “teachers” — although by no means all of them — are “educators.”

“Reporters” are “journalists.” No. I am not a journalist. I was a newspaper reporter until I became a newspaper editor. There is a difference. Any dumb (four-word Anglo-Saxonism) can pick up a laptop or a camcorder and call himself a “journalist.”

As Goldy’s Rule 140 says: Painting “Titleist” on a spheroid of horse manure doesn’t turn it into a golf ball.

Frankly, it’s just a matter of time until Capt. Gary and 1Sgt. Goldy are at Little Round Top, and we meet a New Yorker who tells us, “I’m from Personhattan Island.”

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Jim Goldsworthy - Anything and Everything
  • He was here long before Duck Dynasty

    July 27, 2014

  • He means well, and this time they spared his life

    Our pal Phil is the only re-enactor certified in writing by both the Lee and Custis families to portray Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee (whose wife was Mary Anna Custis Lee). When he’s in uniform, he generally stops at the bottom of the path that leads to the summit of Little Round Top, salutes Capt. Gary and First Sgt. Goldy and asks permission to join us. (Get it? Generally ... General Lee?) We always return his salute and grant him permission, in part because he’s our friend and also because the real Lee never got to see what it really looks like from up there. (Get it? Grant ... Grant? U.S. Grant? Real Lee ... really? OK. I hear you. That’s enough. Seriouslee.) Phil gets a kick out of being able to sneak up on us while we’re distracted by tourists.

    July 20, 2014

  • They’d have fallen like Autumn leaves

    So there we were, minding our own business (at least momentarily), leaning against the cannon at Little Round Top.

    July 13, 2014

  • Better read that french fry before you eat it

    People give me otherwise-insignificant items they hope will amuse or inspire me. I appreciate this. I’m always glad for free entertainment, which as Goldy’s Rule 33 says is everywhere. All you have to do is wait and it will come to you. Also, I have been writing columns for 37 years and embrace inspiration anywhere I can find it.

    July 6, 2014

  • The moose is loose, and it’s coming for you

    So how would you like to look out your kitchen door window onto your porch and see a moose looking back at you from close range?

    June 28, 2014

  • There are some debts you can never repay

    Today’s column will be relatively short, as my columns go, for reasons that should become apparent, and I thought long and hard before writing it.

    June 21, 2014

  • It could have saved the county a lot of money

    Random thoughts sometimes occur to me when I least expect it, usually when my brain has become tired.
    When I voice these thoughts at work or in other places, people may tell me, “Goldy? It’s time for you to go home.” Yes, ma’am.
    Here are two random thoughts of recent vintage:
    • If Bugs Bunny were an Emergency Medical Technician, would that make him a MedicHare?
    • If Daisy Duck got a job driving for United Parcel Service, would she be an UPS-a-Daisy?
    I wouldn’t blame you if you think that sounds Goofy — or Daffy.

    June 15, 2014

  • These two were part of the Not Top Ten

    Occasionally, at this time of year, I see reference to a “class orator” or a “class speaker.”

    Nothing wrong with that — people can call such things whatever they want, as far as I’m concerned — but it makes me wonder. Have “valedictorian” and “salutatorian” become politically incorrect, and I didn’t notice? It may come as a surprise to you, but I really have not kept up with what is politically correct or incorrect. That’s what people tell me, anyway. With some of them, it actually seems to be a compliment.

    June 8, 2014

  • Coming soon to a highway near you?

    People say to me, “Goldy? Can I ask you a stupid question?”

    In theory — and theory only — the correct response is: “The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.” Not so much. There ARE stupid questions, some of them so stupid that to call them stupid is to damn them with faint praise. Other questions are — on the face of it — legitimate questions, but shouldn’t be treated as such ... not if you subscribe to the same philosophy that I do: Free entertainment is everywhere; all you have to do is wait, and it will come to you.

    June 1, 2014

  • This was a skill that proved very useful

    The Belmont Park stewards have decided to let California Chrome wear his nasal strip during the Run for the Carnations. Nasal strips usually are worn by people who snore and may have saved numerous marriages. It helps the Triple Crown hopeful to breathe, and some twolegged athletes wear nasal strips for the same reason. In this case, Chrome’s nasal strip may keep him from (wait for it) ... losing by a nose.

    May 25, 2014

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