You know I was a little worried when 1984 came around. I was afraid we would shortly begin living in some creepy tyranny where words wered constantly be purged to control right-thinking and wrong-thinking.
But here it’s almost 2014 and nothing of the kind has happened.
This week new laws will come into effect in Washington State to form the final piece of a six-year effort to rewrite all state laws using gender-neutral vocabulary.
The politically correct crusade will see terms such as ‘fisherman’, ‘freshman’ and even ‘journeyman plumber’ replaced with ‘fisher’, ‘first-year-student’ and ‘journey-level plumber’.
Signalling an end to hundreds of years of accepted language, the move will now see the state’s copious laws, including thousands of words and phrases re-written at taxpayers expense.
Lawmakers have passed a series of bills since 2007 to root out gender bias from Washington statutes, though a 1983 state mandate required that all laws be written in gender-neutral terms unless a specification of gender was intended.
And of course we all know that gender is just in the mind anyway so we might as well get rid of it and boldly embrace our brave new world of unisex bathrooms and Newspeak words.
“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thought-crime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. . . “
Again, it’s good that we have nothing like that going on today.
The measure approved by the Legislature this year mandated that references to ‘his’ be changed to ‘his or her.’ Other nouns like ‘clergyman’ must be changed to ‘clergy.’
‘This was a much larger effort than I had envisioned. Mankind means man and woman,’ said Democratic state Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles of Seattle when the law was passed in April.
What about Personkind or Humankind. But those are both Speciest.
The new gender-neutral references will now demand and enforce linguistically ‘handwriting’ in place of ‘penmanship,’ and ‘signal operator’ for ‘signalman.’
‘There’s no good reason for keeping our legal terms anachronistic and with words that do not respect our current contemporary times,’ Kohl-Welles, the 475-page bill’s sponsor, told Reuters.
Civil engineering terms such as ‘man hole’ and ‘man lock,’ also will not be changed because no common-sense substitutes could easily be found, Thiessen said.
What about Personhole? Or Kohl-Welles?
Crispin Thurlow, a sociolinguist and associate professor of language and communication at the University of Washington-Bothell praised the project in an interview with Fox News in April.
Words matter,’ said Liz Watson, a National Women’s Law Center senior adviser. ‘This is important in changing hearts and minds.’
‘Changing words can change what we think about the world around us,’ he said. ‘These tiny moments accrue and become big movements.’
Change words. Change minds.
The process will still be continuing long after you and I are dead. Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller.
Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?”
Forget 2050. Let’s shoot for 2014.