- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 14, 2006

Macaca herstory

“Macaca” and “herstory” top the list of most egregious examples of politically correct (or incorrect, if you prefer) language found in 2006 by the Global Language Monitor (GLM),a worldwide assemblage of academics, professional wordsmiths and bibliophiles monitoring the latest trends in the evolution — and demise — of language and word usage.

“In 2006, the political correctness movement continued to gain momentum to the effect that many were unaware of the extent that it had inserted itself into ordinary English-language conversations,” observes GLM president Paul JJPayack, who sends Inside the Beltway these top politically sensitive words and phrases for 2006:

1. Macaca: Even though it means “clown” in certain cultures, the word helped change the political balance of the U.S. Senate when uttered by outgoing Virginia Republican Sen. George Allen.

2. Global warming denier: These skeptics are now being treated the same as “Holocaust deniers,” dealt professional ostracism, belittlement, ridicule, even jail.

3. Herstory (rather than history): “Herstory” attempts to take the male element out of “history.”

4. Flip chart: Offensive to some Filipinos; use “writing block.”

5. 1a and 1b: A teacher split a grade into two equal classes. Parents objected because those with children in “1b” feared they may be perceived as academically inferior.

The GLM, meanwhile, continues its arduous task of counting the number of words in the English language. The “Million Word March” currently stands at 991,207.

Yankee repulsion

“Stop the world, I want to get off,” comes to mind after reading this bleak assessment of world affairs offered by Patrick J. Buchanan, editor emeritus of the American Conservative:

“Europe rejects U.S. leadership. Russians, reverting to autocracy, are putting Russia first. China has become a great power rival in Asia and Africa. With the Iraq and Lebanon wars, America has never been more isolated in the Middle East. [President] Bush would not dare visit the region as [Richard] Nixon did. Iran and North Korea are defying us and the U.N. openly. Anti-Americanism is rampant in the hemisphere, and neo-Marxist populism has triumphed in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia and was only narrowly defeated in Mexico and Peru.”

Pays to drive

Don’t think UncleSam’s wallet isn’t feeling the pinch at the gasoline pump.

Starting Jan. 1, the Internal Revenue Service’s standard rate to calculate deductible costs for federal employees who drive their own vehicles for official business will be increased to 48.5 cents per mile— 4 pennies above the 2006 rate.

Tree to Iraq

Hats off to the Chatty Hatty Red Hat Ladies of Rainbow Springs, Fla., who have been honored on Capitol Hill after “adopting” U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

According to Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, Florida Republican, the ladies earlier this year contacted her congressional office to help locate Iraq-based soldiers from their area.

“The ladies were looking to adopt a couple of soldiers … and to send them packages filled with necessities and goodies,” she explains. “As you might imagine, those first few soldiers grew to nearly 30 soldiers that the ladies eventually adopted.”

Every month since, the ladies have put together three large care packages for the troops, and once every four months send a special box of Hollywood films for a “movie night,” complete with popcorn.

Now, wouldn’t you know, the ladies have found a way to ship an entire Christmas tree to Iraq, with all the trimmings.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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