Language Insanity.

(image courtesy of Gary Varvel.)

San Francisco is at it again, attacking language in a move that won’t accomplish anything other than to show the stupidity of elected officials in the City.

San Francisco, a city described in song for its natural beauty, is descending into an abyss of homelessness, the use of sidewalks as toilets, and a place you might not want to visit, much less live.

The latest, but surely not the last demonstration of insanity, is San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors’ adoption of new “person first” language guidelines meant to “change the public’s perception of criminals.”

The words “convicted felon,” “offender,” “convict,” “addict,” and “juvenile delinquent” are now out. These individuals will henceforth be referred to as a “justice-involved person.” Someone previously called a “criminal” will now be referred to as “a returning resident,” or “a formerly incarcerated person.”

Supervisor Matt Haney told the San Francisco Chronicle the intent is to keep people from being “forever labeled for the worst things that they have done. We want them, ultimately, to become contributing citizens, and referring to them as felons is like a scarlet letter that they can never get away from.”

A noble objective, to be sure, but language has—or used to have—a purpose beyond interpersonal communication. Like so much else today, language has now been appropriated to advance political agendas.

The encroachment of euphemisms on common sense is everywhere. Illegal immigrants have become “undocumented workers.” Babies in the womb lose their humanity when they are labeled “fetuses.”

Euphemisms are most used to hide a more accurate description of behavior or status in order to avoid conflict, or not injure someone who might be offended or hurt. It fails to communicate anything meaningful, while claiming to do so. George Orwell called it “Newspeak,” or “doublespeak.”

Too often, euphemisms are used to make bad behavior appear good, or at least tolerable, and to allow one to avoid responsibility and accountability. They are interpreted according to one’s personal wishes. As Humpty Dumpty told Alice in the Lewis Carroll classic: “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

The odd thing to us is that while San Francisco does have many problems including extremely high rents, a lack of housing, much less affordable housing, an exploding homeless problem, high costs of living, etc., elected officials decided to waste their time on this….this….this abomination of an attack on accurate speech.

We guess it is a case of trying to be a magician.

Magicians don’t want you looking at what is actually happening. They want to distract you and have you looking somewhere else.

“Don’t look at all the problems we have here!” the Board of Supervisors of San Francisco is saying, “look at the change in language we are mandating within government! Don’t you feel better now?!? Look what we accomplished!”

Oy vey.

2 Responses to “Language Insanity.”

  1. Percy Veer says:

    I guess it’s “Problem Solved” in San Francisco.

    Praying everyone stays safe through the week and that we don’t have to become Hurricane Involved Residents here in Brevard.

    PS – I think I broke my Preview button because it seems to be on the blink. Keep getting a preview error message.

    • AAfterwit says:

      Percy Veer,

      Thanks for the comment.

      We too hope everyone – even those who have disagreed with us – remain safe in the face of Dorian.

      Let us know after the storm how you fared.

      A. Afterwit.

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