It seems no matter how much I try to leave this subject alone, the issue of word choice and how it can impact in ways that the politically correct clearly never gave a stuff about keeps coming back to haunt me. Being so linguistically inclined that one can read at what you jokers call an adult level at age three has that sad effect, I suppose. But lately, the proclamations by defenders of so-called person-first language that it is merely a matter of semantics have me shaking my head.
Well, of course it is a matter of semantics. But here is the thing, you morons: semantics matter. Semantics are the difference between an instruction that can result in deaths, and one that multi-billion dollar corporations clear with lawyers in order to prevent lawsuits.
In order to illustrate what I mean, allow me to share some examples with you. In 1994, one of my favourite bands ever was the German Dark Metal outfit called Bethlehem. On their second and third albums, they offered examples of what they refer to as Dark Metal that could have turned it into a new sub-genre all of its own, much like Bathory, Burzum, Immortal, and numerous others have done with black metal. Why this did not happen is not important here. What is important for this example is the third verse from the first song of their second album. In German, it is brick-shittingly screamed out as follows:
Bare Vernichtung umweht meine lässigen Schenkel
die Mitte kann nicht länger gehalten werden
und es bedarf nur zwei Schüsse den König zu töten
A politically correct, person-first moron might render this exceptionally bizarre statement as something like:
My thighs are destructive, I am an extremist, and I shot the King twice.
Admittedly, this statement can be very loosely seen as having the same meaning as the original German, but it is a translation in the same sense as The Wizard Of Oz is a translation of Mein Kampf. During the mid-1990s, a man running his own little database of extremely extreme bands contacted the writer of the original lyrics and, with their help, arrived at the following translation:
Bare destruction blows round my slow thighs
The middle can no longer be kept
and it took only two shots to kill the king
Now, as many people on the underground music scene as it was in that time have said, Bethlehem‘s lyrics make even less sense in English than they do German. But unlike the shithouse, person-firster-style translation I just offered above, this one conveys some concepts about the song’s author that might not be immediately obvious from the music.
The bassist who adopted the alias Jürgen Bartsch, likely in order to protect himself from Christian extremists in the country the band based itself in, is not what normies would think of as a well man. The title of the song these words are from, Schatten Aus Der Alexander Welt, is based on a concept he came up with as a result of some unfortunate experiences earlier in life. Years before this song was written, Bartsch and an unnamed friend experimented with snorting heroin. Why a man intelligent enough to make music of this quality would do that beats me, but the salient point is that whilst Bartsch was asleep or passed out, the friend in question decided to get a syringe and see what would happen if he injected the heroin. With fatal consequences, but that is not the important point.
What is important to what I am trying to convey is that Bartsch, obviously shaken up, looked upon his dead friend’s face and saw an expression that, to misquote the translation, resembled having looked into another world. Subsequent quotes in the same interview have it that ghosts from what Bartsch refers to as the Alexander World would come and chat with him, explaining far-out concepts and the like. Given that the vocal performance on this song (and the other seven from the album sessions that I have heard) is what one writer described as one of the sickest, most extreme voices one will ever hear, it should be readily obvious that what Bartsch and his bandmates were trying to do was create an album that offered a look into the very worst of Humanity on a historical and emotional level. The official translation (that is, the one I quoted from external sources) loses some of this, but not nearly as much as is the case with the politically correct one I made up myself as an example.
With just a few changes, omissions, or additions of words, the truth of a person, situation, or action can be changed from reality to a flat-out lie. Let us consider the cornerstone of the so-called person-first thing. The phrase “person with” has an implication that many autistic individuals find utterly distasteful, and the ones who do not just have not woken up to themselves yet. The phrase implies that the thing being described is separate to, apart from, the individual. In the case of things like cancer, diabetes, a hernia, or arthritis, it is quite easy to build a case that this is acceptable, even desirable. But the folly of believing this applies in any way to being autistic is easily seen by comparing it to its racial or physical equivalent. Saying “person with tallness” will get you odd looks from people who are 6’4″ or above. Saying “person with blackness” can get you killed in some places.
When we ask the person-firster why one is acceptable and the other not, however, their response tends to reveal the true nature of what they present as being thoughtful and “about the person”. In reality, it is a series of complex rationalisations designed to change the way the speaker thinks about the subject. Pretend you are the Man From Mars for a second, and the first place you have landed in is predominantly populated by black people. You hear “person with whiteness” so often that you start saying it yourself. How does it make you think of white people? As people who can help being white no more than you can help being red-eyed and green? Or as people who need help to grow out of whiteness?
Choices of words can have a dramatic impact upon how one perceives the subject under discussion. When the compact disc digital audio format was introduced to the public in the early to mid 1980s, the companies most interested in putting it forward were very careful in how they described it and its quirks to the audience. In early examples of the format, small blurbs were printed in the booklets. Minor variations existed on the text, but the example I have in front of me read as follows:
The compact disc digital audio system offers the best possible sound reproduction – on a small, convenient disc. Its remarkable performance is the result of a unique combination of digital storage and laser optics. For best results, you should apply the same care in storing and handling the compact disc as you would with conventional records. No cleaning is necessary if the compact disc is held by its edges and is replaced in its case directly after playing. If the compact disc becomes soiled by fingerprints, dust or dirt, it can be wiped (always in a straight line, from center to edge) with a clean and lint-free, soft, dry cloth. Never use a solvent or abrasive cleaner to clean the disc. If you follow these suggestions, the compact disc will provide a lifetime of listening enjoyment.
Now, let me tell you from the perspective of a boy who was about six years old when compact disc players first started appearing in department stores how this should have been written in order to not be misleading:
The compact disc digital audio system offers slightly less than half of what a studio master tape is capable of in frequency range. This is because although the ability to stamp information into pits for a microscopic laser to read is indeed impressive, it will be another fifteen years before this technology is refined enough to offer something that would really knock your socks off. You should also be hypervigilant in handling this disc. Fingerprint oil will bleed into its edges from your hand. Turning your eye away from it for a second whilst it is not in the player or in its case will result in scratches that make it difficult, if not impossible, for laser optics to read the disc information. The means to make near-identical duplicates to protect your investment or trade with friends will also not be available for another ten years or thereabouts. But we are bringing you this beta-like product now because we want to tap into the whole Jetsons-type fantasy you and doubtless your children have in your heads about the immediate future.
Obviously, there is a reason why one of these blocks of texts appears nowhere but here. It is because although it is stunningly closer to the reality, it also has the effect of making the beholder sit down and really think about what they are paying for.
As a child of the 1980s, I find the belief that we must all download every bit of media we purchase and store it on a fragile, easily-destroyed mass storage disc to be horrifying. Because although the humble compact disc is very easy to destroy, especially when you get as drunk as Ozzy Osbourne apparently does whenever he signs a contract and get the idea to use it as a frisbee, the destruction of one compact disc means the loss of only a small portion of your collection. If all of the hard drives on which all of your music is stored go belly-up at once, your entire collection is gone.
In fact, it is probably a great irony that until the sizes of hard drives and personal files began to explode, oh-so-reliable and safe hard drives were being backed up onto scratch-prone optical discs that, due to the mechanics of making recordable optical discs in mass amounts, tend to have a limited shelf-life anyway. But this is getting away from the point.
The novel most readily associated with George Orwell, a man I have little trouble believing was as linguistically-inclined as I am (and then some), is Nineteen Eighty-Four. During part one, chapter four, the main character, Winston, is given a series of directives concerning news reports he is expected to “correct”. All of them are written in the language that the ruling political party is hoping will supersede English one day. The directive that is gone into detail here reads as follows:
times 3.12.83 reporting bb dayorder doubleplusungood refs unpersons rewrite fullwise upsub antefiling
Now, if you are like me, the first time you read that, you thought “what in the unholy hell does that mean?”. The abstract, connective, descriptive parts of the sentence appear to be completely gone, and thus this sentence that is incomplete by normal English rules lulls the abstract, descriptive mind into a stupor. As Orwell puts it, this directive would be rendered thusly in the English that real-world Humans recognise:
The reporting of Big Brother’s Order for the Day in The Times of December 3rd 1983 is extremely unsatisfactory and makes references to non-existent persons. Rewrite it in full and submit your draft to higher authority before filing.
The point here being that, as Orwell writes in his end-notes for Nineteen Eighty-Four, the first version of the directive is written with a hidden but well-understood purpose. Winston is meant to just read it and act on it, without any thought whatsoever. In fact, Newspeak is deliberately designed to make “heretical” thought impossible to sustain and abstract thought as difficult as possible. Person-first language is no different. We are meant to hear it and immediately think of the person as separate to the described characteristic, without any consideration of the fact that this might contravene the person’s desires. In the case of characteristics like autism, this is very clearly wrong.
Another problem with the person-firster is inconsistency. When I say to them that having to sit and watch them talk about something that is as integral to me as my eye colour as if it is something separate and latching onto me like a cancer is hurtful, they engage in a furious move of the goalposts. I have already addressed their defense of “personal preference” elsewhere, so I will be brief here. I could tell a doctor that I would prefer to drink battery acid than the liquids deemed fit for drinking in some places. That does not mean said doctor is going to sit on his hands whilst I pour a highly corrosive acid into my mouth.
But probably the biggest problem with person-firsters is their astounding belief that they are “putting the person before the disability”. First of all, being autistic is, as I keep saying everywhere, a unique situation. If you are not giving it unique consideration, then you are putting the autistic individual last. Secondly, and this taps into point one, autism is not a disability in the same sense that blindness, deafness, or paralysis is. If ninety-nine percent of the world were blind, deaf, or paralysed, they would still be considered disabled. If ninety-nine percent of the world were autistic, the normies would be the ones considered disabled.
This difference is extremely signifcant, and unlike a lot of claims made about autism by people who should be forbidden to speak to anyone by their immediate neighbours, verifiable. A lot of the societal norms that normies proclaim people disabled for not being able to follow exactly to the letter are superfluous and only maintained for their boys’ club-like effects. Had I a son like my sister’s, I would be telling him actual important rules for getting by in life. Things like never pick a fight with someone you do not know you can belt the shit out of. Or never make a promise that you are not absolutely certain you can keep under the even moderately abnormal run of things. Or never put your hands anywhere near a person who has not made it clear to you they want you to do so. As numerous experiences that I have had in the state of Queensland have made clear, these are rules that the majority of normies never seem to pay the slightest mind to. Yet for importance, they do a shit on hey look at me when I am talking to you from a height that Odin cannot conceive of.
There is another area in which details that apparently are small to normies matter a great deal. The sound of a word, the manner in which it is enunciated, can have far greater implications than normies give it credit for. When a little boy is hearing threats in the mere manner in which his mother speaks to him, regardless of what she is saying, that has dreadful implications for the future. And when someone who is trying to shove person-first terms into them speaks to them in such a manner, it is as a red flag supposedly is to a bull.
But good luck explaining all of this into the little mind of a person-firster, I suppose.