Somewhere, George Orwell (author of the epochal essay “Politics and the English Language,” which to judge by the following article is no longer read in Great Britain) is wagging his finger and saying, “I told you so.” The reason is the politically correct manipulation of language described by this article from the London Telegraph:

Publishers and universities are outlawing dozens of seemingly innocuous words in case they cause offence.

Banned phrases on the list, which was originally drawn up by sociologists, include Old Masters, which has been used for centuries to refer to great painters – almost all of whom were in fact male.

It is claimed that the term discriminates against women and should be replaced by “classic artists”.

The list of banned words was written by the British Sociological Association [BSA], whose members include dozens of professors, lecturers and researchers.

None of whom have ever heard of George Orwell, or have any common sense of which they are aware.

Prof Frank Furedi, a sociologist at the University of Kent, said he was shocked when he saw the extent of the list and how readily academics had accepted it.

“I was genuinely taken aback when I discovered that the term ‘Chinese Whisper’ was offensive because of its apparently racist connotations. I was moved to despair when I found out that one of my favourite words, ‘civilised’, ought not be used by a culturally sensitive author because of its alleged racist implications.”

Because these folks are against civiization, I assume, or think it over-rated. Among the institutions using this guide are the University of Bristol, the University of Leeds, King’s College London, and Napier University in Edinburgh. Policy Press, which publishes “social science” textbooks and journals, has also sent it to prospective authors. The list of forbidden terms included on this leftist Index is amazing:

Immigrants is said to have “racist overtones” because of its association with “immigration legislation”, while developing nations – intended as a more sensitive replacement for Third World – is “prejudical” because it implies a comparison with developed countries.

Although not included on the Policy Press list, the BSA warns authors against using civilisation because of its “racist overtones that derive from a colonialist perception of the world”.

Among the “sexist” terms to be avoided are “seminal” and “disseminate” because they are derived from the word semen and supposedly imply a male-dominated view of the world.

Authors are also told to “avoid using medical labels” when writing about disabled people as this “may promote a view of them as patients”.

In addition, the list says “special needs” should be changed to “additional needs”, “patient” to “person” and “the elderly” to “older people”.

“Able-bodied person” should be replaced with “non-disabled person”, it is claimed.

In response to such twaddle, Orwell’s words are worth remembering:

Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.

(Via MCJ.)