Driving down Route #1 recently and listening to golden oldies on the radio, I found myself humming along with Dean Martin singing “Standing on the Corner” – a 1950s pop song originated by the Canadian group, The Four Lads.

The lyrics go:

“Standing on the corner watching all the girls go by.

Brother, you cannot go to jail for what you’re thinkin’ ….”

Suddenly, I caught myself thinkin’ — wow, this tune is probably way outside the politically correct acceptance of today’s cultural police. Just as Frank Loesser’s Christmas classic, “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” written in 1944, is now excoriated by the PC warriors as invoking “rape,” I am sure that old Dino would be chastised for extolling voyeurism.

Why do we have all this PC word angst today?

I did a little online research and discovered that Wikipedia credits the leftists of the 1970s for initiating this language cleansing. Alan Bloom’s 1987 work, “The Closing of the American Mind,” chronicled the decline of our culture that has been brought about by so-called moral cleansing.

Fast forward to this past July, when Peggy Noonan’s article, “What Were Robespierre’s Pronouns?”, appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

Noonan described a parallel between the French revolutionaries’ “moral instruction of their nation” and our “ . . . social and sexual justice warriors who are renaming things and attempting to control the language in America.” She cited the oh-too-common experience today of the de rigueur use of gender-neutral pronouns. She explained that one must never use “he” or “she.”

Noonan instructs us with an example of a PC-approved sentence: “I spoke to the marketing director and they said they’d get back to me.”

And folks, I have to admit that the PC left is winning this culture war. Just as the history of the country is being rewritten with the tearing down of Confederate statues and the painting-over of a large George Washington mural in a Seattle school, so too are we experiencing the censorship and curtailment of freedom of speech by the language police.

Confucius perhaps said it best: “When words lose their meaning, people lose their freedom.”

This language malaise has found its way overseas too. A wacky recent example from the United Kingdom had the education department re-writing “Baa, Baa Black Sheep” to “Baa, Baa Rainbow Sheep.”

But, to show that we Americans won’t be beat at this war on words, the liberal city administrators in San Francisco have come up with this doozy. Not wanting to offend anyone by calling them “felons,” they softened this hurtful descriptor by calling them “justice-involved” persons. Even the PC left will find this one hard to beat.

Returning to the “voyeur song” by Dean Martin whom my mother adored, I thought back to a sad day when, as a recent (and I thought oh-so-hip) college graduate, I informed her that she needed to stop using the word “gay” as she was inclined to do.

It was her common practice to use the word in the ancient way of describing events and conditions that were merry and filled with, surprise-surprise, and gaiety. I shall never forget the puzzlement that came over her sweet face as I explained that the word was now reserved for describing same-sex relationships. As Billy Joel sings, “. . . and so it goes, and so it goes.”

So, as I witness the left’s inexorable assault on common speech, Philistine that I am, I will soldier on in my anti-PC crusade. For other bravehearts out there, let us continue with, heaven forbid, stewardess, postman, wife, husband, blind alley, founding fathers, senior citizen, hysterical — and let’s go “crazy” — mankind.

I rest my case.

Another View is a weekly column written collaboratively by Dale Landrith of Camden, Ken Frederic of Bristol, Paul Ackerman of Martinsville, Jan Dolcater of Rockport and Ralph “Doc” Wallace of Rockport.


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