Ammo Grrrll has a short course on the natural history of WEASEL WORDS. She writes:
Any living language can mutate. A friend in college said he had studied some kind of High German for reading philosophy. When he tried to use that language conversationally in a visit to Germany, he learned he was speaking the equivalent of English from Chaucer. “Prithee canst thou tell me, sire, where might be the street which returneth me to my hostel?” he might say. People either backed away from a potential lunatic or laughed in his face. So, language and the meaning of language evolve. I get that.
Nevertheless, it is disheartening in the extreme to see how many words and phrases – when uttered by The Perpetually Aggrieved SJWs – have come to mean “I cannot and will not tolerate disagreement. Daddy Government says I don’t have to.” Let us examine but three.
COMFORTABLE – It started a few decades ago with the seemingly-innocuous “comfortable.”
Bonus joke: A little old Jewish guy in Brooklyn is bicycling and hit by a car. Though not seriously injured, as a precaution he is immobilized by the EMTs, one of whom asks, “Are you comfortable?” And the little guy says, “I do all right.”
So “comfortable” has come to mean not only curled up in a Barcalounger, but an alternative meaning is being well-off enough to afford a pleasant lifestyle, but not rich-rich.
One day, having lunch in Minnesota with a woman friend, I said something positive about President Bush and my friend said, “That makes me uncomfortable.” It caught me off guard. I wanted to ask, “What? Your pantyhose are chafing? You’re in a draft? What in the world are you talking about and who told you you were guaranteed a life of eternal comfort? Why don’t you just say you disagree? I can handle it.” But, of course, I said nothing. I just moved to Arizona. Here we are only “uncomfortable” when it’s over 115.
VIOLENCE – Talk to any SJW for any length of time and you learn that everything is “violence.” Swearing. Shouting. Pointing. Disagreement in particular. Years after I (finally) got a degree from a Minnesota State College, I went into their Administration Building and saw little plaques on all the desks that bragged, “This is a violence-free workplace.” Well, glory be, that would distinguish it from all the other workplaces where fisticuffs and gunplay are a normal part of the day. Seriously? Was there a big problem with Assault and Battery before you hit on the obvious solution of putting up plaques?
What is the real message here? Nobody is allowed to disagree sharply. And here we have not only a male-female divide, but a yuge class divide. I have worked blue collar jobs with men for most of my working life. In my night-shift print shop job (80 men and me), disagreements occasionally resulted in some pushing and shoving, and very rarely, in a couple of punches being thrown. If the bosses or foremen came around, “nobody saw nuthin.” It was settled, as the saying goes, “like men.” Nobody ever got seriously injured and nobody would have called it “violence.” It was “blowing off steam” plus a perfectly-rational way for grown men to settle important questions such as which Charlie’s Angel was the hottest.
When I hear a Pajama Boy say that strong disagreement, even angry speech, is “violence,” I just want one of those cartoon boxing gloves on a spring to come out of nowhere and punch him in the head: “See? Now, granted, that WAS violence. Before we were just talking. Feel the difference?” OK, I lied. I want to do it myself. I know it’s wrong; it’s not enlightened, it’s not kind; it’s not feminine; and it’s definitely not Jewish. I recently fasted for 25 hours to atone for thoughts like this. But that’s how strongly I feel about equating mere speech with assault.
SAFE – When I hear the word “safe,” I picture Jackie Robinson stealing home. Or I think of a heavy metal box in which you put the guns not in your vehicles or on your person. It does not mean “perpetual freedom from encountering challenging or controversial ideas.”
Oh, Lord, help us. Now we have “safe rooms” with Play-Doh and plush toys to provide succor to embarrassing whine-babies who must be protected from all views that don’t conform to the crap they have been spoon-fed from nursery school to college.
As soon as someone claims to be “offended” or worse yet, to “feel unsafe,” the discussion is automatically over. It’s really a nasty, intellectually-dishonest tactic to change the subject completely. You’re losing, so let’s not make it about the subject under discussion, but about your feelings. Since there is no “right or wrong” with feelings and everybody is entitled to as many feelings as she can generate, then the moral high ground is already ceded. And the person who disagreed with her and made her feel “unsafe” is clearly a vicious “bully.”
It is way past time to call people on this. The next person who says “I don’t feel safe,” or “I am offended,” should be told, “Who cares? Grow up.” Sure, you’ll lose your job, be branded a sexist, racist homophobe and end up a social pariah, but this murder of language must end. Our freedom depends on it. You go first. The very thought makes me feel uncomfortable and unsafe. “Honey, can you bring me the Play-Doh and my Pooh Bear?”