The PC Manifesto Featuring A PC Primer And Revised PC Lexicon
Saul Jerushalmy & Rens Zbignieuw


What is P.C.?
PC stands for Politically Correct. We of the Politically Correct philosophy believe in increasing a tolerance for a diversity of cultures, race, gender, ideology and alternate lifestyles. Politically Correctness is the only social and morally acceptable outlook. Anyone who disagrees with this philosophy is bigoted, biased, sexist, and/or closed-minded.
Why should I be PC?
Being PC is fun. PCism is not just an attitude, it is a way of life! PC offers the satisfaction of knowing that you are undoing the social evils of centuries of oppression.
I am a white male. Can I still be PC?
Sure. As a matter of fact, most people at the forefront of the PC grand destiny are white males. But remember, as a white male, you must constantly feel guilty.
If you are a white male, your ancestors were responsible for practically every injustice in the world: slavery, war, genocide and plaid sport coats. That means that you are partially responsible for these atrocities. Now it is time to balance the scales of justice for the descendants of those individuals whose ancestors your ancestors pushed down.
It's simple. You've got to be careful what you say, what you think, and what you do. You just don't want to offend anyone.
You mean I should guard against offending anyone?
That's right. Being offensive is destructive, and will not make the world a harmonious Utopia, like in John Lennon's Imagine.
How else can I be PC?
Oh, there are lots of ways. For example, why buy regular ice cream when you can buy "Rain Forest Crunch?" Segrega--whoops--separate all of your garbage into different containers: glass, metal, white paper, blue paper, plastic, etc. Make sure that all your make-up has not been tested on animals. Try to find at least sixty ways to use your water; when you take a shower, brush your teeth at the same time. Then don't let the water go down the drain, use it to irrigate your lawn. Or better yet, replace your lawn with a vegetable garden. Don't use aerosol. And by all means, don't burn or deface our flag. Remember, as a citizen of the United States, your living in God's country. If you are fortunate enough to know your ethnic heritage, dress the part! Don't do drugs. You should listen to at least one of the following PC musicians: U2, REM, Sinead O'Connor, Sting, or k d lang. Harass people who wear fur coats. Remind them that an innocent baby seal was mercilessly clubbed. Or just yell, "FUR!" They hate that. And don't ever eat meat.
Don't eat meat? Why not?
Cows are animals, just like humans are animals. That means that they have rights. When you eat meat, you're oppressing animals!
So all killing is bad?
No, not always. Sometimes killing can be justified, like in the Persian Gulf. You have to be able to tell when an animal has rights, and when it doesn't.
How do I know when an animal has rights?
The general rule is as follows: If an animal is rare, pretty, big, cute, furry, huggable, or lovable, then it has rights. Examine the following chart:
cute bunnies
dolphins in tuna nets
red squirrels
harbor seals
tuna in tuna nets
gray squirrels
Wow. What else can I do to be PC?
Hug a tree. Rejoice each day in our cultural differences, for they are what gives flavor to our great country. Get in touch with your sexual identity. Check your refrigerator for freon leaks. Subscribe to National Geographic. Search it for neat non-Western cultural traditions and costumes. After you read it, use the paper as an alternative fuel source. Try to wear clothes with Xs on them if they're all natural fibers. Above all, always question authority!
But wait, I thought--
Don't worry, that's not important.
Well, I'm not too sure about this.
If you are feeling unsure about your motivation, just remember. You Are Right. It's that simple. You, as a PC social warrior, are right.
How do I know if an action is un-PC?
Good question. It's important to know when someone is saying something insensitive so that you can have that person removed from society. The guideline is as follows: Is the confrontation between two white people?
Yes: The liberal is right.
No: The white person is oppressing the ethnic person.
Remember, many seemingly obvious issues, such as the railroading of Mayor Marion Barry, or the Clarence Thomas issue, are really race issues. Here's a fun practice drill for you: See how many newspaper articles you can make into race bias stories. It's fun! Some PCers are so good they can make the weather report look like a KKK pamphlet!
What should I do if I see someone do something non-PC?
It all depends on the situation. If you are not in a position of authority, by all means report this activity immediately to whomever is in charge. If your school leader, employer, or superior is hip to the trend of the 90's, she or he will take the necessary steps to have the insensitive offender disciplined.
But isn't that censorship?
The Constitution never meant for racism, sexism and insensitivity to be espoused by anyone. That's not what free speech is about. Some call it censorship. PCers call it "selective" speech. Saying something negative about a particular race or gender is just as damaging as, say, punching them in the face. We just can't allow that kind of verbal assault.
I've heard a lot about PC words to replace "Black," "Indian," etc.
Yes. That's part of the PC movement. You see, part of the way we think about people comes directly from the words we use to describe them. Take "black" for instance. Why should a person be judged by the color of their skin?
You mean they should rather be judged by the content of their character?
No, I mean they should be judged by where their ancestors are from. If your great grandparents are from Africa, or Asia, or wherever, then you should be identified by that fact. You can even apply for special scholarships!
I'm a mixture of French, German, English, and Russian. Can I get one?
No, there are no scholarships for any of those. Sorry. If you are a woman, however, there should be some.
Hey, wouldn't a white person from Libya or Egypt technically be an African-American?
Technically, yes. But that's not the kind of African-American we mean. We mean black African-Americans. Another example: A white South-African US immigrant is not an African-American either.
How can I learn to make my language more politically correct?
For more help, see the PC LEXICON at the end of the handbook.
I'd like my child to be PC. What can I do?
Well, for one thing, we should forcibly encourage students to volunteer their time with philanthropies. Also, we should re-emphasize non-Western perspectives on history. Finally, we should re-structure tests and quizzes to reflect cultural biases.
I don't get it.
Well, the way the system works now, "select" under-represented minorities who tend to do worse on entrance tests have lower standards of admissions at school and work and receive preferential treatment. This is unfair and wrong.
It is?
Yes. The truly PC way to do it is to have a different grading scale for different groups which gives or subtracts points from the final score, depending on who is taking the test. If you are white, then you have been benefited by society during your life. That means that you lose ten to fifteen points to make the test fair to everyone else.
I guess that sounds right.
It is right. That's the beauty of PC.
What else do I have to be careful of?
Humor. PC people take every comment very seriously. We will not accept any comment, joke, remark, or anything that sounds like it could be a racial or ethnic slur.
Give me an example.
"What's black and white and red all over?" has been staple humor for decades. Not PC--It can be taken the wrong way. In every day speech, try to use phrases like, "Isn't that the pot calling the kettle African-American." Any racial jokes or jokes even mentioning culture or gender should be omitted. True, this mostly limits comedy to the level of sitcoms, but that's a small price to pay for social equality.
Is that all there is to it?
Yes. The Politically Correct belief is essentially a recognition that people are diversely equal. We rejoice in this equality by treating people differently based on their equal individuality. Hop aboard the bandwagon... Be PC. Or you're an intolerant, racist, sexist insensitive pig.


ETHNICITY (PC people do not recognize the term "race" as valid)
Black = African-American (Note: does not include Libyans, Egyptians, white Africans. Does include people with dark skin regardless of where they are from or where they live.)
Oriental = Asian-American (Note: not considered "real" minorities since they tend to do well.)
Indian = Native American Indigenous Peoples of the North American continent (Note: the following teams are not PC: Atlanta Braves, Cleveland, Indians, Washington Redskins. Avoid these cities!)
Chicano = Hispanic (Note: the following are not PC: Cheech and Chong, Chico and the Man, the Cisco Kid, Rosarita, Salsa, Speedy Gonzales.)
White Trash = PC Unaware Rustically Inclined
WASP (white male) = Insensitive Cultural Oppressor
Woman = Womyn, Vaginal-American
Girl = Pre-Womyn
Housewife = Domestic Engineer
Fireman = Fire Fighter
Stewardess = Flight Attendant
Meter Maid = Parking Enforcement Officer
Postman = Postperson
Mailman = Personperson
Policeman (cop, pig) = Law Enforcement Officer
Baton Boy = California Clubber
Prostitute = Sex Surrogate (Teen Victim, see Broken Home)
Mankind, human, person = Earth Children
PEOPLE (subgroups)
Handicapped = Differently Abled Handicapable (Blind: optically darker; Deaf: visually oriented)
Poor = Economically Unprepared
Bum = Homeless Person Displaced Homeowner Philosophy Major
Hunter = Animal Assasin Meat Mercenary Bambi Butcher
Commercial Fisherman = Flipper Whipper
Whaler = Blubber Lover
Old Person Elderly = Senior Citizens Time-extended
Gerontologically Advanced
Conservative = Right Wing Extremist Fascist Pig
Drug Addict = Chemically Challenged
Bald = Comb-free
Vegetable = Noble Unconscious Hero
Bisexual = Sexually Nonpreferential
Midget Dwarf = Little People Vertically Challenged
Insane = Selectively Perceptive Mental Explorer
Tree-hugger = Environmental Activist
Logger = Wood Weasel Paper Pirate Treeslayer
Obese Fat = Differently Weighted People of Mass Gravitationally Challenged
Far East = Asia
Censorship = Selective Speech
Older Students = Non-traditional Students New-traditional Students
Learning Disability = Self-paced Cognitive Ability
Cheating = Academic Dishonesty
Library = Information Center
Used book = Recycled book
Dorm = Residence Hall
Berkeley = Mecca
Broken Home = Dysfunctional Family
Mercy Killing = Euthanasia Putting down
Cattle Ranch = Cattle Concentration Camp "Moo-shwitz"
Ghetto Barrio = Ethnically Homogeneous Area Pre-integrated Pre-Nirvana
Hamburger = Seared, Mutilated Animal Flesh
Cheeseburger = Adding Insult to Injury
Tree = Oxygen Exchange Unit
Gang = Youth Group
Pimpmobile Low-rider = Culturally Responsive Transportation
Drunk Trashed Wasted = Spatially Perplexed
Slum = Economic Oppression Zone
China = Porcelain
Delicatessen = Corpse Farm


These are some, but unfortunately not all, words that are used to describe people. Remember, there are much more eloquent PC ways to say the same thing (and mean the same thing) without offending any of Earth's Children.
Do not use these words.(except when telling other people not to use them). If you hear anyone use these words, regardless of context, respond immediately:
"Alky, Babe, Beaner, Belgian-Bastard, Betty, Bimbo, Bitch, Blonde, Broad, Bum, Canuck, Chick, Chink, Coolie, Coon, Commie, Crip, Dego, Dike, Dot-head, Druggie, Fag, Fairy, Four-Eyes, Fudgepacker, Greaser, Hebe, Hippie,Honky, Hooknose, Indian, Injun, Jap, JAP, Jesus-Freak, Kike, Kraut, Lez, Lush, Nazi, Nigger, Nudnick, Pinko, Polock, Raghead, Redneck, Redskin, Retard,Ruskie, Sambo, Skirt, Spic, Spook, Tart, Toots, Uncle Tom, Vegetable, Wetback, Whore, White-Trash, Wop"

Reading this list made your skin tingle with revulsion, didn't it? It better have.

George Carlin - Euphemistic Language

Politically Incorrect Poem
David (Verso)

We have no faith

in posers politics

Slick men

Sick men

Dirty tricks men


with sound bites

Blood sucking

on vampire nights

Red and blue

Tainted white

Orange and green

pledge to fight



Remote controlled



Liberty takers


and truth fakers

Hidden agendas

Gender benders

Perverted hypocrites

Moral offenders

Family value losers

Red light cruisers


and sex abusers

Rent boys

and prostitutes

Black masks

and high-heeled boots

Secret meets

Tax-free treats

Dark dealings
in unlit streets



Dirty money

in clean clothes

Grey suits

Brown tongues

Grasping hands

grabbing bungs

Kiddie kissing

for photo-shoots

Planting trees

that bear no fruits

Empty hearts

Busy beds

Stuffed pockets

and empty heads.

Ας σκοτώσουμε τον "πολιτικά ορθό" τρόπο σκέψης μέσα μας, τώρα

Εμποτιζόμαστε μεθοδικά και συστηματικά, από τη μέρα που γεννιόμαστε, με ένα αξίωμα  χωρίς απόδειξη και την απορρέουσα από αυτό συνεπαγωγική “λογική” που έχει ως στόχο να γίνουμε πειθήνιοι και υποτελείς δούλοι που πρέπει,  “τοις κοινων ρήμασι πυθομενοι”, να διεκδικούν μέσα στα πλαίσια των “Θεσμών” και της “ηθικής”, απέναντι σε μια διαπλεκόμενη ολιγαρχία που ορίζει ανήθικα και ιδιοτελώς τις τύχες μας.

Σχολεία που μας διδάσκουν να πίνουμε αδιαμαρτύρητα το κώνειο, χάριν του “πολιτικά ορθού” και της ηθικής μας “ανωτερότητας” , θρησκείες που μας διαπαιδαγωγούν στην υπομονή και αγάπη απέναντι στους δυνάστες μας, πολιτικοί που χαράζουν τους κανόνες και τους νόμους της “Δημοκρατίας” ανάλογα με το συμφέρων των δωροθετών τους  και ΜΜΕ που παραχαράζουν την αλήθεια και ενοχοποιούν κάθε πράξη αντίστασης προκειμένου να μένουμε υποταγμένοι.

Ο “πολιτικά ορθός” τρόπος σκέψης είναι το Α και το Ω της σύγχρονης Δουλείας. Ο πολίτης διδάσκεται να υπερασπίζεται “θεσμούς” ως αξιωματικούς κανόνες της κοινωνίας και έτσι οι “θεσμοί” αγιοποιούνται, αποκτούν μια εξαϋλωμένη και αδιαμφισβήτητη υπόσταση, που διαχωρίζεται από τους ανθρώπους-διαχειριστές και γίνονται εργαλεία εξουσιασμού με την συναίνεση μας. Επίσης ορίζεται ως “πολιτικά ορθό”, το οξύμωρο πως η τυχόν αμφισβήτηση των προσώπων που αντιπροσωπεύουν τους θεσμούς, όταν αυτοί καταχρώνται την  “θεσμική”τους  εξουσία θα πρέπει να γίνεται εντός του “θεσμικού πλαισίου” δηλαδή η επανόρθωση της κατάχρησης εξουσίας θα πρέπει να αφήνεται στα χέρια των ίδιων των καταχραστών.

Έτσι “πολιτικά ορθά”, η κατάχρηση εξουσίας των εχόντων και κρατούντων επί των “πολιτών” μέσω μίας  “δημοκρατικής κυβέρνησης” είναι θέμα “θεσμών” και όχι προσώπων, ενώ η αντίσταση στην κατάχρηση από τον πολίτη είναι πράξη προσώπου ενάντια στον “θεσμό”. Ο βιαστής ονομάζεται “νόμιμα εκλεγμένη κυβέρνηση” (απρόσωπα) ενώ το αντιστεκόμενο θύμα “εχθρός της δημοκρατίας και της νομιμότητας” (προσωποποιημένα) διότι το πολιτικά ορθό είναι να υποστεί τον βιασμό του και να αντιδράσει σε δεύτερο χρόνο “θεσμικά” με την ψήφο του.

Και φυσικά το μεγαλύτερο τρίκ του “πολιτικά ορθού” τρόπου σκέψης είναι η ενοχοποίηση της βίας ως πράξη αντίστασης στη βία των “θεσμών”, η υποσυνείδητη θεσμοθέτηση της “νόμιμης βίας” όταν αυτή προέρχεται από  “Θεσμό” και η αξιωματική αναγόρευση της αντίστασης από τον πολίτη σε “παράνομη βία”. Η βία της εξουσίας νομιμοποιείται ως “συντεταγμένη πολιτεία” και η άμυνα των πολιτών περιορίζεται στο δικαίωμα τους να υποστούν την βία σιωπηρά εντός των πλαισίων που ορίζουν οι “θεσμοί” ειδάλλως κάθε πράξη βίας του πολίτη βαφτίζεται “αποσταθεροποιητικός παράγοντας” κατά των “θεσμών”, “απείθεια”, “τρομοκρατία”, “αντικοινωνική πράξη” κλπ. Η ενοχοποίηση της βίας είναι ο μόνος τρόπος να επιβληθεί η εξουσία των λίγων στους πολλούς γιατί στην βίαια αναμέτρηση οι πολλοί έχουν το πλεονέκτημα. Η ενοχοποίηση της “μη θεσμικής” βίας είναι ο ευνουχισμός μας,  γιατί οι λίγοι ορίζουν τους θεσμούς ανάλογα με τα συμφέροντά τους.

Ας σκοτώσουμε λοιπόν τώρα μέσα μας τον “πολιτικά ορθό” τρόπο σκέψης με τον οποίον μας έχουν υπνωτίσει.

Ας απενοχοποιήσουμε τη βία ως άμυνα στη βία των βιαστών μας τώρα.
Η αντίσταση στη βία εμπεριέχει βία, ας το καταλάβουμε και ας ξεκολλήσουμε από τα δήθεν ηθικά διλήμματα του πολιτικά ορθού τρόπου σκέψης που θέλει καταδίκη “της βίας απ όπου αυτή και αν προέρχεται”.

Η βίαιη αντίσταση στη βία της εξουσίας δεν έχει ανάγκη ηθικής επιβεβαίωσης, είναι ανακλαστική πράξη αυτοσυντήρησης, ας την απενοχοποιήσουμε για να επιβιώσουμε, εμείς είμαστε οι πολλοί.

The Principles of Newspeak
George Orwell in 1948

Newspeak was the official language of Oceania, and had been devised to meet the ideological needs of Ingsoc, or English Socialism. In the year 1984 there was not as yet anyone who used Newspeak as his sole means of communication, either in speech or writing. The leading articles of the Times were written in it, but this was a tour de force which could only be carried out by a specialist, It was expected that Newspeak would have finally superseded Oldspeak (or standard English, as we should call it) by about the year 2050. Meanwhile, it gained ground steadily, all party members tending to use Newspeak words and grammatical constructions more and more in their everyday speech. The version in 1984, and embodied in the Ninth and Tenth Editions of Newspeak dictionary, was a provisional one, and contained many superfluous words and archaic formations which were due to be suppressed later. It is with the final, perfected version, as embodied in the Eleventh Edition of the dictionary, that we are concerned here.

The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of IngSoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought -- that is, a thought diverging from the principles of IngSoc -- should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression  to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meaning and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meaning whatever.

To give a single example - The word free still existed in Newspeak, but could only be used in such statements as "The dog is free from lice" or "This field is free from weeds." It could not be used in its old sense of "politically free" or "intellectually free," since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed even as concepts, and were therefore of necessity nameless. Quite apart from the suppression of definitely heretical words, reduction of vocabulary was regarded as an end in itself, and no word that could be dispenses with was allowed to survive. Newspeak was designed not to extend but to diminish the range of thought, and this purpose was indirectly assisted by cutting the choice of words down to a minimum. Newspeak was founded on the English language as we now know it, though many Newspeak sentences, even when not containing newly created words, would be barely intelligible to an English-speaker of our own day. Newspeak words were divided into three distinct classes, known as the A vocabulary, the B vocabulary, and the C vocabulary. It would be simpler to discuss each class separately, but the grammatical peculiarities of the language can be dealt with in the section devoted to the A vocabulary, since the same rules held good for all three categories.

The A vocabulary

The A vocabulary consisted of words needed for the business of everyday life --- For such things as eating, drinking, working, putting on one's clothes, going up and down stairs, riding in vehicles, gardening, cooking, and the like. It was composed almost entirely of words that we already possess -- words like hit, run, dog, tree, sugar, house, field -- but in comparison with the present-day English vocabulary, their number was extremely small, while their meanings were far more rigidly defined. All ambiguities and shades of meaning had been purged out of them. So far as it could be achieved, a Newspeak word of this class was simply a staccato sound expressing one clearly understood concept. It would have been quite impossible to use the A vocabulary for literary purposes or for political or philosophical discussion. It was intended only to express simple, purposive thoughts, usually involving concrete objects or physical actions.

The grammar of Newspeak has two outstanding peculiarities. The first of these was an almost complete interchangeability between different parts of speech. Any word in the language (in principle this applied even to very abstract words such as if or when) could be used either as verb, noun, adjective, or adverb. Between the verb and noun form, when of the same root, there was never any variation, this rule of itself involving the destruction of many archaic forms. The word thought, for example, did not exist in Newspeak. Its place was taken by think, which did duty for both noun and verb. No etymological principle was involved here; in some cases it was the original noun that was chosen for retention, in other cases the verb. Even where a noun and a verb of kindred meanings were not etymologically connected, one or other of them was frequently suppressed. There was, for example, no such word as cut, its meaning being sufficiently covered by the noun-verb knife. Adjectives were formed by adding the suffix -ful to the noun verb, and adverbs by adding -wise. Thus, for example, speedful meant "rapid" and speedwise meant "quickly."  Certain of our present-day adjectives, such as good, strong, big, black, soft, were retained, but their total number was very small. There was little need for them, since almost any adjectival meaning could be arrived at by adding -ful to a noun-verb. None of the now-existing adverbs was retained, except for a few already ending in -wise; the -wise termination was invariable. the word well, for example, was replaced by goodwise.

In addition, any word -- this again applied in principle to every word in the language -- could be negative by adding the affix un-, or could be strengthened by the affix plus-, or, for still greater emphasis doubleplus-. Thus, for example, uncold meant "warm" while pluscold and doublepluscold meant, respectively, "very cold" and "superlatively cold". It was also possible, as in present-day English, to modify the meaning of almost any word by prepositional affixes such as ante-, post-, up-, down-, etc. By such methods it was possible to bring about an enormous diminution of vocabulary. Given, for instance, the word good, there was no need for such a word as bad, since the required meaning was equally well --indeed better-- expressed by ungood. All that was necessary, in any case where two words formed a natural pair of opposites, was to decide which of them to suppress. Dark, for example, could be replaced by Unlight, or light by undark, according to preference. The second distinguishing mark of Newspeak grammar was its regularity. Subject to a few exceptions which are mentioned below, all inflections followed the same rules. Thus in all verbs the preterite and the past participle were the same and ended in -ed. The preterite of steal was stealed, the preterite of think was thinked, and so on throughout the language, all such forms as swam, gave, brought, spoke, taken, etc., being abolished. All plurals were made by adding -s or -es as the case might be. The plurals of man, ox, life, were mans, oxes, lifes. Comparison of adjectives was invariably made by adding -er, -est (good, gooder, goodest), irregular forms and the more, most formation being suppressed. The only classes of words that were still allowed to inflect irregularly were the pronouns, the relatives, the demonstrative adjectives, and the auxiliary verbs. All of these followed their ancient usage, except that whom had been scrapped as unnecessary, and the shall, should tenses had been dropped, all their uses being covered by will and would. There were also certain irregularities in word-formation arising out of the need for rapid and easy speech. A word which was difficult to utter, or was liable to be incorrectly heard, was held to be ipso facto a bad word: occasionally therefore, for the sake of euphony, extra letters were inserted into a word or an archaic formation was retained. But this need made itself felt chiefly in connexion with the B vocabulary. Why so great an importance was attached to ease of pronunciation will be made clear later in this essay.

The B vocabulary

The B vocabulary consisted of words which had been deliberately constructed for political purposes: words, that is to say, which not only had in every case a political implication, but were intended to impose a desirable mental attitude upon the person using them. Without a full understanding of the principles of Ingsoc it was difficult to use these words correctly. In some cases they could be translated into Oldspeak, or even into words taken from the A vocabulary, but this usually demanded a long paraphrase and always involved the loss of certain overtones. The B words were a sort of verbal shorthand, often packing whole ranges of ideas into a few syllables, and at the same time more accurate and forcible than ordinary language.

The B words were in all cases compound words.

They consisted of two or more words, or portions of words, welded together in an easily pronounceable form. The resulting amalgam was always a noun-verb, and inflected according to the ordinary rules. To take a single example: the word goodthink, meaning, very roughly, 'orthodoxy', or, if one chose to regard it as a verb, 'to think in an orthodox manner'. This inflected as follows: noun-verb, goodthink; past tense and past participle, goodthinked; present participle, goodthinking; adjective, goodthinkful; adverb, goodthinkwise; verbal noun, goodthinker.

The B words were not constructed on any etymological plan. The words of which they were made up could be any parts of speech, and could be placed in any order and mutilated in any way which made them easy to pronounce while indicating their derivation. In the word crimethink (thoughtcrime), for instance, the think came second, whereas in thinkpol (Thought Police) it came first, and in the latter word police had lost its second syllable. Because of the great difficulty in securing euphony, irregular formations were commoner in the B vocabulary than in the A vocabulary. For example, the adjective forms of Minitrue, Minipax, and Miniluv were, respectively, Minitruthful, Minipeaceful, and Minilovely, simply because -trueful,-paxful, and -loveful were slightly awkward to pronounce. In principle, however, all B words could inflect, and all inflected in exactly the same way.

Some of the B words had highly subtilized meanings, barely intelligible to anyone who had not mastered the language as a whole. Consider, for example, such a typical sentence from a Times leading article as Oldthinkers unbellyfeel Ingsoc. The shortest rendering that one could make of this in Oldspeak would be: 'Those whose ideas were formed before the Revolution cannot have a full emotional understanding of the principles of English Socialism.' But this is not an adequate translation. To begin with, in order to grasp the full meaning of the Newspeak sentence quoted above, one would have to have a clear idea of what is meant by Ingsoc. And in addition, only a person thoroughly grounded in Ingsoc could appreciate the full force of the word bellyfeel, which implied a blind, enthusiastic acceptance difficult to imagine today; or of the word oldthink, which was inextricably mixed up with the idea of wickedness and decadence. But the special function of certain Newspeak words, of which oldthink was one, was not so much to express meanings as to destroy them. These words, necessarily few in number, had had their meanings extended until they contained within themselves whole batteries of words which, as they were sufficiently covered by a single comprehensive term, could now be scrapped and forgotten. The greatest difficulty facing the compilers of the Newspeak Dictionary was not to invent new words, but, having invented them, to make sure what they meant: to make sure, that is to say, what ranges of words they cancelled by their existence.

As we have already seen in the case of the word free, words which had once borne a heretical meaning were sometimes retained for the sake of convenience, but only with the undesirable meanings purged out of them. Countless other words such as honour, justice, morality, internationalism, democracy, science, and religion had simply ceased to exist. A few blanket words covered them, and, in covering them, abolished them. All words grouping themselves round the concepts of liberty and equality, for instance, were contained in the single word crimethink, while all words grouping themselves round the concepts of objectivity and rationalism were contained in the single word oldthink. Greater precision would have been dangerous. What was required in a Party member was an outlook similar to that of the ancient Hebrew who knew, without knowing much else, that all nations other than his own worshipped 'false gods'. He did not need to know that these gods were called Baal, Osiris, Moloch, Ashtaroth, and the like: probably the less he knew about them the better for his orthodoxy. He knew Jehovah and the commandments of Jehovah: he knew, therefore, that all gods with other names or other attributes were false gods. In somewhat the same way, the party member knew what constituted right conduct, and in exceedingly vague, generalized terms he knew what kinds of departure from it were possible. His sexual life, for example, was entirely regulated by the two Newspeak words sexcrime (sexual immorality) and goodsex (chastity). Sexcrime covered all sexual misdeeds whatever. It covered fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and other perversions, and, in addition, normal intercourse practised for its own sake. There was no need to enumerate them separately, since they were all equally culpable, and, in principle, all punishable by death. In the C vocabulary, which consisted of scientific and technical words, it might be necessary to give specialized names to certain sexual aberrations, but the ordinary citizen had no need of them. He knew what was meant by goodsex -- that is to say, normal intercourse between man and wife, for the sole purpose of begetting children, and without physical pleasure on the part of the woman: all else was sexcrime. In Newspeak it was seldom possible to follow a heretical thought further than the perception that it was heretical: beyond that point the necessary words were nonexistent.

No word in the B vocabulary was ideologically neutral. A great many were euphemisms. Such words, for instance, as joycamp (forced-labour camp) or Minipax (Ministry of Peace, i. e. Ministry of War) meant almost the exact opposite of what they appeared to mean. Some words, on the other hand, displayed a frank and contemptuous understanding of the real nature of Oceanic society. An example was prolefeed, meaning the rubbishy entertainment and spurious news which the Party handed out to the masses. Other words, again, were ambivalent, having the connotation 'good' when applied to the Party and 'bad' when applied to its enemies. But in addition there were great numbers of words which at first sight appeared to be mere abbreviations and which derived their ideological colour not from their meaning, but from their structure.

So far as it could be contrived, everything that had or might have political significance of any kind was fitted into the B vocabulary. The name of every organization, or body of people, or doctrine, or country, or institution, or public building, was invariably cut down into the familiar shape; that is, a single easily pronounced word with the smallest number of syllables that would preserve the original derivation. In the Ministry of Truth, for example, the Records Department, in which Winston Smith worked, was called Recdep, the Fiction Department was called Ficdep, the Teleprogrammes Department was called Teledep, and so on. This was not done solely with the object of saving time. Even in the early decades of the twentieth century, telescoped words and phrases had been one of the characteristic features of political language; and it had been noticed that the tendency to use abbreviations of this kind was most marked in totalitarian countries and totalitarian organizations. Examples were such words as Nazi, Gestapo, Comintern, Inprecorr, Agitprop. In the beginning the practice had been adopted as it were instinctively, but in Newspeak it was used with a conscious purpose. It was perceived that in thus abbreviating a name one narrowed and subtly altered its meaning, by cutting out most of the associations that would otherwise cling to it.

The words Communist International, for instance, call up a composite picture of universal human brotherhood, red flags, barricades, Karl Marx, and the Paris Commune. The word Comintern, on the other hand, suggests merely a tightly-knit organization and a well-defined body of doctrine. It refers to something almost as easily recognized, and as limited in purpose, as a chair or a table. Comintern is a word that can be uttered almost without taking thought, whereas Communist International is a phrase over which one is obliged to linger at least momentarily. In the same way, the associations called up by a word like Minitrue are fewer and more controllable than those called up by Ministry of Truth. This accounted not only for the habit of abbreviating whenever possible, but also for the almost exaggerated care that was taken to make every word easily pronounceable.

In Newspeak, euphony outweighed every consideration other than exactitude of meaning. Regularity of grammar was always sacrificed to it when it seemed necessary. And rightly so, since what was required, above all for political purposes, was short clipped words of unmistakable meaning which could be uttered rapidly and which roused the minimum of echoes in the speaker's mind. The words of the B vocabulary even gained in force from the fact that nearly all of them were very much alike. Almost invariably these words -- goodthink, Minipax, prolefeed, sexcrime, joycamp, Ingsoc, bellyfeel, thinkpol, and countless others -- were words of two or three syllables, with the stress distributed equally between the first syllable and the last. The use of them encouraged a gabbling style of speech, at once staccato and monotonous. And this was exactly what was aimed at. The intention was to make speech, and especially speech on any subject not ideologically neutral, as nearly as possible independent of consciousness.

For the purposes of everyday life it was no doubt necessary, or sometimes necessary, to reflect before speaking, but a Party member called upon to make a political or ethical judgment should be able to spray forth the correct opinions as automatically as a machine gun spraying forth bullets. His training fitted him to do this, the language gave him an almost foolproof instrument, and the texture of the words, with their harsh sound and a certain willful ugliness which was in accord with the spirit of Ingsoc, assisted the process still further.

So did the fact of having very few words to choose from. Relative to our own, the Newspeak vocabulary was tiny, and new ways of reducing it were constantly being devised. Newspeak, indeed, differed from most all other languages in that its vocabulary grew smaller instead of larger every year. Each reduction was a gain, since the smaller the area of choice, the smaller the temptation to take thought. Ultimately it was hoped to make articulate speech issue from the larynx without involving the higher brain centers at all. This aim was frankly admitted in the Newspeak word duckspeak, meaning ' to quack like a duck'. Like various other words in the B vocabulary, duckspeak was ambivalent in meaning. Provided that the opinions which were quacked out were orthodox ones, it implied nothing but praise, and when The Times referred to one of the orators of the Party as a doubleplusgood duckspeaker it was paying a warm and valued compliment.

The C vocabulary

The C vocabulary was supplementary to the others and consisted entirely of scientific and technical terms. These resembled the scientific terms in use today, and were constructed from the same roots, but the usual care was taken to define them rigidly and strip them of undesirable meanings. They followed the same grammatical rules as the words in the other two vocabularies. Very few of the C words had any currency either in everyday speech or in political speech. Any scientific worker or technician could find all the words he needed in the list devoted to his own speciality, but he seldom had more than a smattering of the words occurring in the other lists. Only a very few words were common to all lists, and there was no vocabulary expressing the function of Science as a habit of mind, or a method of thought, irrespective of its particular branches. There was, indeed, no word for 'Science', any meaning that it could possibly bear being already sufficiently covered by the word Ingsoc.

From the foregoing account it will be seen that in Newspeak the expression of unorthodox opinions, above a very low level, was well-nigh impossible. It was of course possible to utter heresies of a very crude kind, a species of blasphemy.

It would have been possible, for example, to say Big Brother is ungood. But this statement, which to an orthodox ear merely conveyed a self-evident absurdity, could not have been sustained by reasoned argument, because the necessary words were not available. Ideas inimical to Ingsoc could only be entertained in a vague wordless form, and could only be named in very broad terms which lumped together and condemned whole groups of heresies without defining them in doing so. One could, in fact, only use Newspeak for unorthodox purposes by illegitimately translating some of the words back into Oldspeak. For example, All mans are equal was a possible Newspeak sentence, but only in the same sense in which All men are red-haired is a possible Oldspeak sentence.

It did not contain a grammatical error, but it expressed a palpable untruth-i.e. that all men are of equal size, weight, or strength. The concept of political equality no longer existed, and this secondary meaning had accordingly been purged out of the word equal. In 1984, when Oldspeak was still the normal means of communication, the danger theoretically existed that in using Newspeak words one might remember their original meanings. In practice it was not difficult for any person well grounded in doublethink to avoid doing this, but within a couple of generations even the possibility of such a lapse would have vanished. A person growing up with Newspeak as his sole language would no more know that equal had once had the secondary meaning of 'politically equal', or that free had once meant 'intellectually free', than for instance, a person who had never heard of chess would be aware of the secondary meanings attaching to queen and rook. There would be many crimes and errors which it would be beyond his power to commit, simply because they were nameless and therefore unimaginable. And it was to be foreseen that with the passage of time the distinguishing characteristics of Newspeak would become more and more pronounced -- its words growing fewer and fewer, their meanings more and more rigid, and the chance of putting them to improper uses always diminishing.

When Oldspeak had been once and for all superseded, the last link with the past would have been severed. History had already been rewritten, but fragments of the literature of the past survived here and there, imperfectly censored, and so long as one retained one's knowledge of Oldspeak it was possible to read them. In the future such fragments, even if they chanced to survive, would be unintelligible and untranslatable. It was impossible to translate any passage of Oldspeak into Newspeak unless it either referred to some technical process or some very simple everyday action, or was already orthodox(goodthinkful would be the Newspeak expression) in tendency. In practice this meant that no book written before approximately 1960 could be translated as a whole. Pre-revolutionary literature could only be subjected to ideological translation -- that is, alteration in sense as well as language. Take for example the well-known passage from the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of those ends, it is the right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government. . .

It would have been quite impossible to render this into Newspeak while keeping to the sense of the original. The nearest one could come to doing so would be to swallow the whole passage up in the single word crimethink. A full translation could only be an ideological translation, whereby Jefferson's words would be changed into a panegyric on absolute government.

A good deal of the literature of the past was, indeed, already being transformed in this way. Considerations of prestige made it desirable to preserve the memory of certain historical figures, while at the same time bringing their achievements into line with the philosophy of Ingsoc. Various writers, such as Shakespeare, Milton, Swift, Byron, Dickens, and some others were therefore in process of translation: when the task had been completed, their original writings, with all else that survived of the literature of the past, would be destroyed. These translations were a slow and difficult business, and it was not expected that they would be finished before the first or second decade of the twenty-first century. There were also large quantities of merely utilitarian literature -- indispensable technical manuals, and the like -- that had to be treated in the same way. It was chiefly in order to allow time for the preliminary work of translation that the final adoption of Newspeak had been fixed for so late a date as 2050.

What is Political Correctness?
Jonathan I. Katz

What is political correctness, where did it come from, and why is it so influential at universities? It is the object of widespread ridicule, usually a very powerful weapon, so why doesn't it go away?

I used to think it was a simple matter of conformism, but there is a lot more to it than that. Political correctness is also sometimes regarded as synonymous with "left-wing" politics, but I think it is a tool rather than a specific set of political positions, and it appears in apolitical contexts also.

Consider, for example, the indignant letters that appear (as did recently in my local paper) when a newspaper publishes a picture of someone bicycling without a helmet. These letters criticize the newspaper for publishing the picture. We may be justified in criticizing hazardous or reckless behavior, but why should a newspaper suppress the fact that people act that way?

One day I felt politically correct thoughts myself, and understood them better. My local newspaper ran a series of articles on the dangers to living donors of organ donations, illustrated with stories of donors who had suffered serious damage to their health, or even death, as a consequence of donating. My emotional reaction was "They shouldn't have run those articles." Why? The articles were apparently factual (though unbalanced---there was no discussion of the benefits to the recipients). Why should the public be denied the facts on a matter of wide interest? The reason for my reaction was that I was afraid the articles would reduce the willingness of people to be living organ donors, which would cause the deaths of people needing and waiting for a transplanted organ.

My reaction (that I reject rationally) was that the truth should be suppressed because it might cause harm. This is a totalitarian impulse, and it is the root of political correctness. A democracy depends on the widest possible dissemination of facts, and the freest possible discussion of them.

I was reminded of an event that happened around 1980, in the early days of political correctness. I was at UCLA, and there was a controversy about the safety of the campus research reactor. I went out on the roof above it, stood in the exhaust of its ventilating system, had someone photograph me there, and sent the photograph to the student newspaper, which published it. Someone came to me and said "You shouldn't have done that." Why? To those opposed to the reactor, the truth that it was not discharging radioactive waste threatened their cause, so they wanted to suppress it. The harm they were afraid of wasn't the real harm done to a patient unable to get an organ transplant; it was harm to their political cause. The only acceptable position was that the reactor was dangerous and had to go, and anything that might suggest that this was incorrect was socially unacceptable, even if truthful.

On all issues there is a range of opinions people are willing to consider, outside of which opinions are rejected without consideration. Sometimes this rejection is justified on grounds of common sense, independent knowledge, or morality. For example, it is possible to defend many positions about the causes and consequences of the American Revolution, but pretending it never happened is outside the range of reasonable discourse.

Political correctness is the narrowing of the range of acceptable opinions to those held by a small group that enforces it. It is a attempt, often successful, to coerce the majority to accept the opinions of the enforcing group by suppressing any contrary opinion and making independent thought unacceptable. The enforcing group may be afraid of the the consequences of open discussion, or of making the facts known. It generally has a practical motivation: it wants something of value (money, jobs, special privileges) to which it has a weak claim. So it attempts to enforce its claim by ruling any disagreement from it outside the bounds of acceptable discourse. This is unnecessary when the claim is self-evidently strong, but may be the only means of getting the claim accepted when it is weak.

Political correctness also comes with an admixture of moral indignation. It removes the issue from the ordinary give-and-take of rational argument or the political process by injecting intense emotion. In my personal episode of politically correct thought, thinking of people dying for lack of an organ aroused strong feelings. Political correctness uses language with strong connotations, such as "discrimination" and "racism", or evokes ancient wrongs in order to associate any disagreement with support of past abuses. This emotional blackmail is effective in a self-consciously privileged environment, and what environment is more self-consciously privileged than an American university, populated with undergraduates who have been spoiled for eighteen years by overindulgent and affluent parents and with tenured professors, many of whom are still racked with guilt for having dodged the draft during the Vietnam war?

A current example is the movement to get the legal and tax privileges of marriage for homosexual couples. Its advocates express their case in terms of "discrimination", a powerful term because it evokes the past history of racial discrimination in America. Use of this term is an attempt, often successful, to make discussion of the genuine moral and policy issues "politically incorrect", that is, outside the range of acceptable discourse. Few people want to be accused of supporting "discrimination", even though there is a strong case to be made, on grounds of public health as well as morality, for public policy to discourage and discriminate against homosexual behavior. Not all "discrimination" is Jim Crow.

The classic example of political correctness was the reaction to the book "The Bell Curve". The theses (there were several) of this book, which was essentially the popularization of several decades of psychometric research, may be summarized: 1. Intelligence (more particularly the quantity called "g" or general intelligence by psychometricians) is a meaningful description of mental functioning. Measures of it in an individual are reproducible and stable across time. 2. Intelligence is a key to success in life. More intelligent people have, on average, higher incomes and better jobs, and are less likely to commit crimes, use recreational drugs or have illegitimate children than less intelligent people. 3. Intelligence is strongly heritable. This is difficult to quantify, but at least half the variation in intelligence is explained by heredity. The remaining variation is environmental, in poorly understood ways. 4. The mean intelligence is different in identifiable racial groups, and this explains the large variation in their success in American society. The most successful groups (East and South Asians) have the highest mean intelligence, Americans of European ancestry have somewhat lower mean scores, and Americans of West African ancestry have the lowest.

The fourth thesis was, naturally, the most controversial and aroused the strongest attacks. In fact, the first three probably would interest few other than professional psychometricians were it not for the general belief that the fourth follows from them. Of course, it is consistent with popular belief (held by most people, including most members of the groups asserted to have lower mean intelligence). And it isn't a new idea: for example, the English explorer Francis Younghusband said in his book "The Heart of a Continent" (1896) recounting his explorations of Central Asia (p. 396): "In mere brain-power and intellectual capacity there seems no great difference between the civilized European and, say, the rough hill-tribesman of the Himalayas; and, in regard to the Chinaman, I should even say the advantage lay on his side."

Given the uncertainties and limitations of social science (even of psychometrics, which lies between social science and biology) it would be futile to try to decide if "The Bell Curve" securely demonstrated its conclusions. More interesting is why it aroused such a strong reaction.

The facts regarding the mean success or failure in life of the various American racial groups are well-known and are a matter of everyday experience. One can hardly open a newspaper without reading about them. Curiously, the people who dwell on them the most are the friends of the less successful who want compensatory action, but by dwelling on them they only strengthen the conclusion that their failures must be deeply rooted and that efforts at compensation are futile. If they have not been remedied by a generation of compensation, then they are nearly immutable, and it hardly matters whether they are a matter of heredity or environment.

Everyone knows that identifiable racial and ethnic groups differ, on average, in many ways even aside from defining racial markers such as skin color. Scandinavians are heavier and taller than people of Mediterranean ancestry, the world's best sprinters come from West Africa and its best marathoners from East Africa, Pygmies are short and the Masai tall (because of geography and climate Africa has more human diversity than any other continent), etc. Why couldn't differences extend to psychometric measures? More important, why should that suggestion arouse such a strong attempt to push it beyond the bounds of acceptable discourse?

To some extent, it is a matter of group pride (a fashionable euphemism for racism; recall that pride is one of the seven deadly sins). But do people really take more pride in intelligence than in athletic ability (how many people pay to watch chess matches, in comparison to professional sports?)? I doubt it. And group averages tell nothing about individuals---the fact that intelligence is correlated with income doesn't make Bill Gates smarter than you or I (judging by the quality of his software, he surely isn't). The question isn't injured pride, it is the attempt to exclude a hypothesis with significant empirical evidence in its favor (and some against, despite the failure to identify "cultural bias" in intelligence tests) from the field of acceptable discourse.

The reason is that accepting, or even seriously considering, this hypothesis would injure some people's material interests. There are many people in America who make their livings from programs to address the supposed racial imbalance in American society, and more who are beneficiaries. The justification for these programs is always that if members of a certain group aren't, on average, doing well this must be the consequence of "discrimination" (which seems to be lost in the mists of "disparate impact" theology, because actual examples in modern America are few and hard to find) that must be remedied by some "affirmative action" program, and, yes, I'll manage such a program for you. And if you don't agree I'll organize a demonstration and call you a racist and there will be lots of bad publicity. You really don't want that, and we can negotiate the price. If the reason members of that group don't do well is that their aptitudes or preferences extend in different directions then the justification for "affirmative action" and some people's careers evaporates, so the possibility must not even be thought of.

Of course, if people weren't intimidated by threats of being called racist (or of demonstrations) they might decide that the supposed "imbalance" was of no more significance than the fact that right-handers are "underrepresented" among baseball pitchers---that's just the way the world happens to be, we may not understand why, but as long as we treat each individual fairly we needn't be concerned with it. That would put a lot of affirmative action coordinators and diversity administrators out of work.

I observed another example when I posted on my web site an essay Don't Become a Scientist! arguing that the job prospects for scientists are so poor that young people should look for careers elsewhere. One of my colleagues, a quite distinguished man whom I formerly respected, said he wanted to censor this. Why? Because if young people realized how poor the job prospects are in science he wouldn't be able to find graduate students to work in his laboratory. The later fate of these students in a flooded job market did not concern him. Political correctness is found even in matters that aren't overtly political, when someone wants to further his interests by suppressing facts or opinions.

Universities are the institutions most vulnerable to this extortion and its most enthusiastic participants (though large corporate and government bureaucracies do it too). One reason is that it is almost impossible to measure their success (no sales or production figures), so their leaders can indulge their prejudices freely. Another is that many universities are very authoritarian institutions (my own, Washington University in St. Louis, may be among the most so) in which neither students nor faculty have any voice or influence. Students are vulnerable because they have few legally enforceable rights. They can be given bad grades or subjected to discipline on subjective grounds (this also leads to sexual exploitation, something that still happens, despite the near-hysteria about "sexual harassment").

Students have come to expect indoctrination in their classes. They often fear that disagreement with their instructors will bring reprisals in the form of bad grades and that disagreement with administrators will lead to disciplinary action. In this climate university administration and teaching attract bullies who enforce political correctness. Universities themselves are terrified of bad publicity, because what they are selling is chiefly an image. This makes them vulnerable to the tactics of external enforcers of political correctness, whose chief weapon is the threat of bad publicity.

A few years ago I posted a web page In Defense of Homophobia. The title was deliberately provocative; the content was a temperate and reasoned discussion of how homosexual promiscuity had caused, and is morally culpable for, the AIDS epidemic in America. I fear homosexuality because it has created a deadly epidemic. For some years no one seemed to notice. Then one of my students did, and published an opinion column in Student Life calling for its censorship. (To my surprise, the administration has not attempted to do so.) This was followed by a wave of similar calls, including an editorial. After this first wave, my critics, most of whom probably consider themselves liberals, seem to have realized that censorship is not a liberal position. The next wave consisted of a mixture of name-calling, irrelevancies (one girl wrote how much she loved her wonderful homosexual "Uncle John") and attacks on positions I did not take (most commonly, the erroneous idea that only homosexuals get AIDS). Most disturbing was the concern, voiced by several students, that disagreeing with a professor would bring reprisals. Apparently this abuse of professorial authority is so common that students expect it.

No one took issue with what I actually wrote; it was as if I had triggered a nervous reflex rather than thought. While the published comments were mostly negative, private emails have been running about 2:1 in agreement with me, suggesting censorship by social pressure of public comments. One favorable email follows:
[Identifying information removed from following message:]
Your personal web page tells it like it is.
I am a [institution deleted] faculty, not tenured, who finds your ability to frankly state the obvious refreshing. Unfortunately I do not feel the academic freedom within this system of higher learning to voice non polically correct sentiments.
For now I'll toe the line, make the papers, work for the rank and tenure to be free to once state my real beliefs without fear of repression, censure, or job loss from from the Right.
[End of anonymized message; presumably he means Left rather than Right]

The negative comments, both private emails and letters and columns in Student Life (from late September through October, 2005) were frequently near-hysterical tirades, filled with name-calling and insults. These don't bother me, and I take the fact that I aroused their rage (and that none of them has attempted to meet my actual argument) as a compliment. But people who care more about the opinions of others might be intimidated; this is one of the ways in which the "thought police" enforce political correctness among those who do not accept the official line. No one responded to my challenge to a public debate; insults and name-calling are the response of those who know their positions are too weak to defend.

Political correctness can be found any time people are afraid of the consequences of an idea or a fact, and use social pressure to suppress discussion of it. The intensity of their reaction is usually an indication that they know or fear that the objectionable opinion is valid, but that they are invested (emotionally or literally) in its falsity.

Political correctness can be resisted by insisting on free, open and public discussion of even the most sensitive issues. The more it makes some people uncomfortable, the more important it is. A healthy society requires a free marketplace of ideas. You have a right to your own opinions, and to express them freely.

Little Red Riding Hood (politically correct)

There once was a young person named Little Red Riding Hood who lived on the edge of a large forest full of endangered owls and rare plants that would probably provide a cure for cancer if only someone took the time to study them. Red Riding Hood lived with a nurture giver whom she sometimes referred to as "mother", although she didn't mean to imply by this term that she would have thought less of the person if a close biological link did not in fact exist. Nor did she intend to denigrate the equal value of nontraditional households, although she was sorry if this was the impression conveyed.

One day her mother asked her to take a basket of organically grown fruit and mineral water to her grandmother's house. "But mother, won't this be stealing work from the unionized people who have struggled for years to earn the right to carry all packages between various people in the woods?"

Red Riding Hood's mother assured her that she had called the union boss and gotten a special compassionate mission exemption form.

"But mother, aren't you oppressing me by ordering me to do this?"

Red Riding Hood's mother pointed out that it was impossible for womyn to oppress each other, since all womyn were equally oppressed until all womyn were free. "But mother, then shouldn't you have my brother carry the basket, since he's an oppressor, and should learn what it's like to be oppressed?"

And Red Riding Hood's mother explained that her brother was attending a special rally for animal rights, and besides, this wasn't stereotypical womyn's work, but an empowering deed that would help engender a feeling of community.

"But won't I be oppressing Grandma, by implying that she's sick and hence unable to independently further her own selfhood?"

But Red Riding Hood's mother explained that her grandmother wasn't actually sick or incapacitated or mentally handicapped in any way, although that was not to imply that any of these conditions were inferior to what some people called "health".

Thus Red Riding Hood felt that she could get behind the idea of delivering the basket to her grandmother, and so she set off.

Many people believed that the forest was a foreboding and dangerous place, but Red Riding Hood knew that this was an irrational fear based on cultural paradigms instilled by a patriarchal society that regarded the natural world as an exploitable resource, and hence believed that natural predators were in fact intolerable competitors. Other people avoided the woods for fear of thieves and deviants, but Red Riding Hood felt that in a truly classless society all marginalized peoples would be able to "come out" of the woods and be accepted as valid lifestyle role models. On her way to Grandma's house, Red Riding Hood passed a woodchopper, and wandered off the path, in order to examine some flowers.

She was startled to find herself standing before a Wolf, who asked her what was in her basket.

Red Riding Hood's teacher had warned her never to talk to strangers, but she was confident in taking control of her own budding sexuality, and chose to dialogue with the Wolf.

She replied, "I am taking my Grandmother some healthful snacks in a gesture of solidarity."

The Wolf said, "You know, my dear, it isn't safe for a little girl to walk through these woods alone."

Red Riding Hood said, "I find your sexist remark offensive in the extreme, but I will ignore it because of your traditional status as an outcast from society, the stress of which has caused you to develop an alternative and yet entirely valid worldview. Now, if you'll excuse me, I would prefer to be on my way."

Red Riding Hood returned to the main path, and proceeded towards her grandmother's house. But because his status outside society had freed him from slavish adherence to linear, Western-style thought, the Wolf knew of a quicker route to Grandma's house. He burst into the house and ate Grandma, a course of action affirmative of his nature as a predator.

Then, unhampered by rigid, traditionalist gender role notions, he put on Grandma's nightclothes, crawled under the bedclothes, and awaited developments. Red Riding Hood entered the cottage and said, "Grandma, I have brought you some cruelty free snacks to salute you in your role of wise and nurturing matriarch." The Wolf said softly "Come closer, child, so that I might see you."

Red Riding Hood said, "Goddess! Grandma, what big eyes you have!"

"You forget that I am optically challenged."

"And Grandma, what an enormous, what a fine nose you have."

"Naturally, I could have had it fixed to help my acting career, but I didn't give in to such societal pressures, my child."

"And Grandma, what very big, sharp teeth you have!"

The Wolf could not take any more of these specist slurs, and, in a reaction appropriate for his accustomed milieu, he leaped out of bed, grabbed Little Red Riding Hood, and opened his jaws so wide that she could see her poor Grandmother cowering in his belly.

"Aren't you forgetting something?" Red Riding Hood bravely shouted. "You must request my permission before proceeding to a new level of intimacy!" The Wolf was so startled by this statement that he loosened his grasp on her.

At the same time, the woodchopper burst into the cottage, brandishing an ax.

"Hands off!" cried the woodchopper.

"And what do you think you're doing?" cried Little Red Riding Hood. "If I let you help me now, I would be expressing a lack of confidence in my own abilities, which would lead to poor self esteem and lower achievement scores on college entrance exams."

"Last chance, sister! Get your hands off that endangered species! This is an FBI sting!" screamed the woodchopper, and when Little Red Riding Hood nonetheless made a sudden motion, he sliced off her head. "Thank goodness you got here in time," said the Wolf. "The brat and her grandmother lured me in here. I thought I was a goner."

"No, I think I'm the real victim, here," said the woodchopper. "I've been dealing with my anger ever since I saw her picking those protected flowers earlier. And now I'm going to have such a trauma. Do you have any aspirin?"

"Sure," said the Wolf.


"I feel your pain," said the Wolf, and he patted the woodchopper on his firm, well padded back, gave a little belch, and said "Do you have any Maalox?"