Since political activism on the left started concentrating on words more than actions, patrolling language with methods just as authoritarian as the right, it seems as though we’ve all lost the courage to speak our minds. This kind of repression must out somewhere.
The irony isn’t lost on me – the idea that the very people championing diversity, freedom of expression, openness, decentering from the margins – people who criticize hegemony, colonialism, and all that – first freed language and then began to police it. Yes, it’s an ad hominum argument, but these are people who really ought to have known better and it irritates me.
If we’re afraid to argue, we don’t argue. When we hesitate to discuss anything for fear of offending anyone, we lose the ability to be critical. We’ve become hypersensitive. So the left too bears some responsibility for the cowardice, the apathy, the dumbing down, and the withdrawing of major sections of the American populace.
And I’ve noticed that there are certain words that just don’t seem to come up much anymore….
Freedom – Wouldn’t you think it would be essential?
Liberty – Completely co-opted by the right and by some sort fo medical supply company
Empowerment – This word is greeted with giggles and snorts everywhere.
Oppression – Trivialized (cf> Monty Python, Life of Bryan – "don’t you oppress me")
Class – My students have no idea what this word means, and we all pretend that America has no social classes.
Rap Session – I kind of liked that one – can we bring it back? We could have a rap music/rap session fusion.