Some of the most dedicated foes of clear and powerful prose are academics toiling away in the nation’s universities. For too many of them, English is a tool of oppression that must be defanged before it claims another delicate soul.
To wage this war, woke university types create guides to help end the heartache. The results are laughably bad, as Lance Morrow writes:
…the University of California Irvine has issued an Inclusive Language Guide. In addition to the usual banalities (e.g., “avoid ableist language,” say “folks, team, y’all” instead of “guys” or “gals,” and advance “social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion” with every particle of speech, be it only a “he” or a “she” or a “zhir”), the guide offers this advice: “Avoid metaphors, which can introduce unneeded baggage.” Needless to say, “baggage” is not meant literally.
The guide grows briefly playful when pondering the potential harm of metaphors and considers, as an example, the “baggage” that comes with the cliché about “killing two birds with one stone”—a hurtful image that might trigger the darlings. The authors propose, instead, that you say, “Feed two birds with one scone.”
The only way to fix such nonsense is to remind people to read, and take to heart, George Orwell’s classic “Politics and the English Language.”