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Grapevie Whine - PC Prizes

Reported by Nancy - November 24, 2005 -

Brian Wilson is substituting for anchoor Brit Hume this week on Special Report, but the format & coverage of the program remains essentially the same. Wilson, like Hume, does a segment called "The Grapevine" in the middle of the program. Also like Hume, Wilson tries for humor & generally fails, because, like much of the rest of the material on FNC, the content of these little "pickings" is actually an attack on perceived enemies. Here's a recent example involving another classic Foxian target: political correctness.

On Monday (11/21) item #3 on the vine was a report that the Global Language Monitor had released its "list of the top 10 most outrageous examples of political correctness" for 2005. The ones Wilson chose to h ighlight were #9 ("an Anglican Church in Wales which changed the lyrics of 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' to 'God Rest Ye Merry Persons' "), #6 (the UK teachers' union which "considered scrapping the word 'fail' in favor of 'deferred success' to bolster students' self esteem") & #1 (the BBC, which "refused to use the word 'terrorist' to describe the suicide bombers who attacked London in July, instead calling them 'misguided criminals' ").

Comments: Global Language Monitor seems to be one of those obscure one-man operations that Fox loves to use when it suits their purpose. Here's what you find when you click "About Us" on their home page:

Paul JJ Payack has selected a global assemblage of linguists, professional wordsmiths, and bibliophiles to help monitor the latest trends in  the evolution (and demise) of languages, word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture. The Global Languge Monitor (GLM) documents, analyzes and tracks trends in language the world over, with a particular emphasis upon Global English.

The Nov 21 press release announcing the list quotes Payack & seems to substantiate that GLM is a one-man show:
"2005 was the year we saw the Political Correctness movement become a truly global phenomenon," said Paul JJ Payack, President of The Global Language Monitor (GLM). "The list is but one more example of the insertion of politics into every facet of modern life." The year has been rife with examples that have been nominated by the GLMs Language Police, volunteer language observers from the world over.

Here's the complete list assembled by GLM:
The Top Politically inCorrect Words and Phrases for 2005:
1.      Misguided Criminals for Terrorist: The BBC attempts to strip away all emotion by using what it considers neutral descriptions when describing those who carried out the bombings in the London Tubes.[...]
2.      Intrinsic Aptitude (or lack thereof) was a suggestion by Lawrence Summers, the president of Harvard, on why women might be underrepresented in engineering and science.  He was nearly fired for his speculation.
3.      Thought Shower or Word Shower substituting for brainstorm so as not to offend those with brain disorders such as epilepsy.
4.      Scum or "la racaille" for French citizens of Moslem and North African descent inhabiting the projects ringing French Cities. France's Interior Minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, used this most Politically inCorrect  (and reprehensible) label to describe the young rioters (and by extension all the inhabitants of the Cites). 
5.      Out of the Mainstream when used to describe the ideology of any political opponent: At one time slavery was in the mainstream, thinking the sun orbited the earth was in the mainstream, having your blood sucked out by leeches was in the mainstream.  What's so great about being in the mainstream?
6.      Deferred Success as a euphemism for the word fail. The Professional Association of Teachers in the UK considered a proposal to replace any notion of failure with deferred success in order to bolster students self-esteem.
7.      Womyn for Women to distance the word from man. This in spite of the fact that the term man in the original Indo-European is gender neutral (as have been its successors for some 5,000 years).
8.      C.E. for A.D.:  ... There is a movement to strip A.D. (Latin for "In the Year of the Lord") from the year designation used in the West since the 5th century and replace it with the supposedly more neutral Common Era  (though the zero reference year for the beginning of the Common Era remains the year of Christs birth).
9.      "God Rest Ye Merry Persons" for "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen":  A Christmas, eh, Holiday, carol with 500 years of history is not enough to sway the Anglican Church at Cardiff Cathedral (Wales) from changing the original lyrics.
10.  Banning the word Mate:  the Department of Parliamentary Services in Canberra issued a general warning to its security staff banning the use of the word 'mate' in any dealings they might have with both members of the Parliament and the public. ...

Comments: Let's put on our fancy thinkin' caps & look at this list.
1. Well, damn the BBC for trying to be objective & neutral!
2. Anbody besides me remember when Fox was all outraged about the firestorm that Summers created? If you don't, just click here for one example.
3. I kinda like "word shower" -- it's just as vivid an image as "brainstorm" & if some find it less offensive, who cares?
4. Sarkozy is France's contribution to reactionary idiocy, so I'm not surprised Wilson didn't highlight this particular phrase -- Fox *likes* Sarkozy.
5. Again, not surprising that Wilson didn't highlight this one either -- "out of the mainstream" is a stock phase for the talking heads on FNC.
6. I'm sure the Professional Association of Teachers "considered" many things. They obviously didn't adopt this change, or Payack would have said so. So why is this even on his list?
7. Any professional word mavens care to weigh in on Payack's opinion that words like "man" or "homme" or "hombre" are gender-neutral?
8. Is Payack advocating that we recalculate the calendar & use a different zero reference year? Billions of people around the world (Jews, Muslims, Hindus) already do.
9. My primary criticism of this "improved" version would be that it doesn't scan. Is it really a big deal when one chhurch in Wales changes one Christmas carol? If the parishioners are happy with it, who cares? If they're not happy with it, it's up to them -- not the rest of us -- to do something about it.
10. Sounds to me like the Aussies were simply trying to have security staff act a little more professional (anyone from Oz reading this, please chime in with a real explanation).

Bottom line: Most of these fall into the "who cares?" category. So what's this item doing on a national political news program? Besides preaching to the choir, I mean. Wilson's choice of which items to highlight betrays some of the recurrent themes on FNC: the "attack" on Christmas, union-bashing & BBC-bashing.

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (Fox's hypocrisy in attacking "political correctness" while not admitting how PC Fox itself really is). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.