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Friday, August 19, 2016

The Writer's Life 8/19 - Terminology

Language constantly evolves, and I'm fascinated by the changes, as I'm sure most writers are. I often sniff at those forced by political correctness, even though I might agree with some. The following is excerpted from an article in today's NY Post, additions in parentheses by yours truly: "Princeton’s Human Resources and Office of Communications issued a four-page memo filled with examples of gender-neutral terminology that must now be used in official school documents, such as:
The word 'actress' should be replaced by 'actor.' (I will continue to use actress. Do those who advocate this change believe, come award time, there should be only one Best Actor category encompassing male and female? I bet that would go over big.) A 'cameraman' must now be called a 'camera operator.' (No problem with this, as there are probably many women in the job these days, but I'd still call a guy a cameraman.) There will be no more references to a 'cleaning lady,' but instead an 'office cleaner. (Again, if it's actually a woman, what's wrong with it?) New students are no longer 'freshmen' but rather 'first-year students.' (Why not simply frosh?) A 'mailman' no longer delivers letters or packages, because that’s the work now of a 'mail carrier, 'letter carrier' or 'postal worker.' (Fair enough, there are a lot of females on the job. I called my favorite 'Speedy.') Nothing is to ever be done for the betterment of 'mankind' but instead for 'humanity,' 'human kind' or simply 'people. (HuMANity -- haven't they noticed?) A 'waiter' or 'waitress' will no longer dish out grub, as that’s now the work of a 'server.' (If I'm in a restaurant, I will refer to male servers as waiter and female as waitress.) An 'average man' is now an 'average person' or 'ordinary person.' (No problem with it.)" I can think of a lot of new terms for professors and college administrators.

From Yahoo News, edited by, additional comments YT: "A Connecticut state worker fired after he was caught smoking marijuana on the job was punished too harshly and should get his job back, the state Supreme Court has ruled. The maintenance man at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington was axed in 2012 after a police officer caught him tokin' on a joint while seated in a state-owned vehicle. Hired in 1998, he'd had no previous disciplinary problems and had received favorable job evaluations. Arrested, the charges were later dismissed. State officials said not firing the guy would have sent a bad message to other employees. An arbitrator disagreed, saying the culprit should be suspended without pay for six months and be subject to random drug-testing for a year upon returning to work." The latter judgment seems reasonable, especially now that marijuana is practically legal. There should be a penalty for smoking it on the job -- unless it's done by people in the sex trade.

My thanks to the kind folks who bought books today. The highlight of the session was a discussion with Ukrainian immigrant and lit student Mira. She noticed a short story collection by Joyce Carol Oates. I mentioned how odd I found that the acclaimed author, who always reminded me of Olive Oyl, was a huge fan of boxing and has written at least one book about it. Mira got a big kick out of it. Judge for yourself:

Vic's Short Works:
Vic's 5th Novel:'s 4th novel:
Vic's 3rd Novel:
Vic's Short Story on Kindle:
Vic's Short Story Collection:
Vic's 2nd Novel: Kindle:
Vic's 1st Novel:

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