This is going too far.


‘Google’s Inclusive Language Police’ – WSJ 1-21-2022


“Many colorful phrases — the very thing that makes language vivid and enjoyable — too often now are perceived as dangerous, and excising them risks diminishing the possibilities of communication. Few of us would want to read a novel devoid of colorful wording.” — Lawrence Krauss, The Wall Street Journal, January 21, 2022


The language police are at it again.

They have — to sort off with a sort of non sequitur — no joie de vivre. (I doubt that they know what it means.)

Think of words like cold fish, clock watcher, and dead drop, which are not on their prohibited list. Our language is full of idioms, slang, and clichés that are pungent and descriptive and just plain fun. The way good language in a work of fiction or poetry can wake you up.

Black box is now banned? Really? It means a flight recorder on an aircraft. We all read about the search for the black box when there is a plane crash. The box is black, and such a device could have been called just about anything. But black box is descriptive, with the adjective black pulling a lot of the weight. There is something comforting or reassuring about having words that fit certain situations that everyone understands. Now, if the language police have their way, we will have to come up with a new term, which will create at least temporary confusion. Yes, the boxes are black, but does black have any external (meaning, connotation as opposed to denotation) implications?

What about blacklist? Canceling this word does a disservice to history. Blacklist is a term that immediately bring to mind the 50s and McCarthyism. And it has nothing to do with race. Lack of regard for history? The language police could care less.

They are ignorant, fanatical ideologies whose incursions on our everyday speech and the language used in journalism and writing amount to an assault on the language.


— Roger W. Smith

   January 2022

Leave a Reply