The Gospel Truth

The War on Words | May 5, 2015

camFor the last 30 years we have heard or read millions of words on the wars on poverty, terrorism and women. One war that most people have not even noticed is the war on words…an insidious attempt to control the language and with it the thoughts, minds and lives of the American people.

Many age-old aphorisms have warned of the importance of a nation’s loss of its language and the true meaning of its words.  Novelist Robert L. Stevenson (Kidnapped) proclaimed that words are power. Orwell said that controlling language makes humans easy to control.  Orwell’s corollary of this appeared in his dystopian novel, 1984: Those who control the past control the future.

Of Orwellian proportions the current war on words has won battles on many fronts in this country. Minority groups, such as Jews, blacks, gays, females and now Muslims all have protective words that have hermetically sealed them from any sanctioned verbal or intellectual challenge or assault.

Contrived words with little substance or literary value abound in our politically correct world. These  shields of verbal armor include Anti-Semitism, Racism, Homophobia, Sexism and now Islamophobia.

Unlike the old adage I learned as a child about sticks and stones, like a hilarious Geico Insurance commercial with the ill-fated lonely cowboy, these words can not only hurt you but destroy your careers, marriages and stain you with a secular guilt that no water or absolution will ever wash away.

In general they all mean irrational attacks on the integrity, history or culture of an ethnic group, race, lifestyle or a non-Christian religion. Their very invocation end any sort of fair and honest debate as to the merits of their programs, ideas, policies and moral vision.

They are by their very nature collectively reminiscent of the anti-intellectualism that has flared up among the left for several generations.

These contrived words with little substance have a power of their own. They have become the vanguard of the politics of personal destruction and their power grows by the minute in our schools, universities, businesses and even many of our churches.

My Catholic Church appears in the crosshairs of many of these groups for its attempts to support and buttress the remnants of the Western Civilization they contributed largely to over the last 1500 years.

Jewish people don’t like our Gospel according to St. John because he warns of the fear of the Jews. Gays feel uncomfortable in our churches because of our designation of their sexual proclivities as deviant and sinful. Women think they should be running the Church and ordained to our male priesthood. The Muslims blame us for the Crusades, which to them were nothing more than Roman imperialism, quickly forgetting that in the second century of their existence they had brought Jihad to the gates of Paris.

I see the day, already here in Canada, when a priest will be arrested for preaching against homosexual behaviors.  I see the day when any letter to the editor that does not laud these groups will never see the light of day. No religious person will be welcome on a college campus anywhere in America. They will have to shed their religious beliefs like offensive garments at the doors of elected office.

That day has already ascended on many of our schools.  In reality these anti-American ideas create confusion and a fear among its people who will cower millions into silent cooperation.

In some cases there is even confusion among its participants. Many years ago I was at Holy Cross for a football game. At a meeting for class agents, a young black school administrator was pontificating on the importance of people of color. Now I don’t mind any sort of reasonable change in nomenclature but with black people change seems to be endemic to their race.

In my lifetime a black person has been politely called a colored person, a Negro, black, African-American and now some wished to be called people of color. No wonder so many black people tend to be confused about their racial identity. I raised my hand and asked the young POC a rhetorical question: Isn’t calling a person, ‘someone of color’, very close to calling him or her a colored person? In other words in the wild and crazy word of identity politics, have we not come full circle?

Another area that roils my blood, though not as important as any of the above is heated battle over the mascot names of dozens of American sports franchises on the professional and the campus level.

Native Americans have become very influential in American culture. They have traded the stupor of the reservation for the luxury and power of the gambling casino.   A small number of advocates have made it their main purpose to rid our sports culture of any mention of their warlike background. In others words this is a vain attempt at rewriting Indian history, including the cultural tributes bestowed on them by naming sports teams after their heritage.

Personally, I still call them Indians, even though that was it was a Columbian misnomer…but then so is their contrived substitute Native American. The American Indian migrated across the Bering Straits eons ago. They were just early immigrants to the area that became the Americas.

Literally dozens of professional, college and high school teams had lionized Indians by calling their teams, Indians, Warriors, Braves and so on. Can anyone think of one team that has chosen a name to denigrate its sports franchise?

Even the Whittier College Poets, where Richard Nixon sat on the football team bench, revered its namesake, James Greenleaf Whittier.

The only ones I can think of that may be even considered were the Indianapolis Clowns, a Negro League team that Henry Aaron once played for. Of course there was the short-lived substitute for the Stanford Indians, who for one season were called the Thunder Chickens. That sounds like a self-parody! Now they are named after a color, just like most of major league baseball’s pioneer teams, who chose their names from the color of their socks. And Stanford now has a tree as a mascot. How green of them!

To date virtually all derivations of Indian heritage have banished from the face and real estate of  life in America.

I got my MA from St. John’s University when they were called the Redmen. I didn’t see anything offensive about that and their cheerleaders, two of whom I had dated in high school, were nothing but respectful. I will admit that their new name The Red Storm is an attractive and reasonable substitution but the very fact that they had to be coerced into change still annoys me.

The last Indian mascot standing was the ill-fated North Dakota University Fighting Sioux. In use for over 70 years the name first came under fire in 1999 when the UND athletics program’s use of the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo was the subject of controversy and conflict with the NCAA, resulting in the unpopular decision to retire the Sioux nickname and Indian head logo in 2012.

While The Sioux had a brief respite in 2012 it has now been completely legislated and coerced out of existence by the state and the race-conscious (fearful) NCAA, which threatened them with expulsion from its ranks should they stubbornly resist this coercive sociological change. To date no mascot name has replaced the still locally popular Fighting Sioux. As an aside is the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame University next on the politically correct hit list?  Or my own Holy Cross Crusaders!

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3 Comments »

  1. Orwells corollary etc 1984: He who controls the past controls the future.
    I have to agree with him absolutely, it gives full force to the control of the church and the white washing of history when necessary to enforce it.

    Comment by L. Newington — May 8, 2015 @ 8:39 am

  2. the fighting doves?

    Comment by Tim — May 8, 2015 @ 5:52 pm

    • Beautiful! Would work perfectly at Harvard or even Holy Cross.

      Comment by Bill Borst — May 13, 2015 @ 6:36 pm


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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at bbprof@sbcglobal.net

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