Words and Brain Damage

I am starting my own war against empty, silly slogans and presumptuous words. I think they are the brick and mortar of political correctness which is smothering our brains. Living in Santa Cruz, California and dutifully listening to National Public Radio every day sure raise my awareness of brain cell destruction. (See endnote.)

Somebody had to do it, to start this war, I mean. And it’s in the best of human traditions that old men admonish the rest of the tribe to behave itself. (It’s “itself,” not “themselves;” tribe is singular. There are uses for a plural singular. This is not one. Pay attention. Learn English. I did.)

First thing first: If you call yourself an “educator,” you are not fit to educate anyone, especially children; I mean that you are not cultured enough. Learn to read, please!

If you believe that “educator” gives you gravitas (look it up) because the word rhymes with “doctor,” think again. Medical science exists, incurable warts and all. There is no science behind education. The mistaken belief that there is has led this country to waves after waves of destructive fads. These have left whole generations unable to write simple declarative sentences or to divide 144 by 12.

In twenty-five years of teaching in an expensive university, I met several graduating seniors, Spanish majors, who were illiterate in two languages including their own. (Reality surpasses fiction!) Education science indeed!

The proper word is not the pretentious “educator,” it’s “teacher.” If that does not sound noble enough for you, you should not be teaching. Good teaching requires a degree of humility. I refer to the humility to be ready to get another job if you can qualify for one.

Everyone in the world remembers his best teacher: He or she was enthusiastic yet calm, humane yet rigorous, encouraging yet demanding. There is no science in any of this. These qualities never add up to anything anyone would pompously call an “educator.”

My brain feels better already.

9 thoughts on “Words and Brain Damage

  1. Sign me up, Jacques! Empty slogans and presumptuous words are not just the brick and mortar of “political correctness” but of fuzzy thinking generally.

    I will add that “rest of the tribe” is reasonably construed as plural because it conjures an image of a group of individuals, minus the speaker. And of course, tribes don’t behave at all, only individuals behave.

  2. “I am starting my own war against empty, silly slogans and presumptuous words.”

    Ah sweet irony. Of all the empty, presumptuous, silly slogans the ‘War on X’ may be the silliest, emptiest, and most presumptuous. It’s certainly in the top five.

    We have the War on Poverty, the War on Drugs, the War on Terror, the War on Women, the War on Christmas….ad nauseam. A perfect time for a new War. In my opinion, one of the most objectionable aspects of ‘Wars on X’ is the association with another empty, silly, and presumptuous word: Czar. It seems that every War needs the appointment of a ‘Czar’. It’s your War, I think it is only fair that Brandon appoint you to the position of Czar.

    Writing his post made Jacques’ brain feel better. I wish reading it had the same effect for me. As usual his entry killed a number of neurons equal to several servings of alcohol without the benefit of a warm buzz.

    • Another reason why many readers of NOL think that Prof. Terry does not exist, that I invented him to make myself look good!

      Don’t blame me if he seldom fails to make my point.

      Prof. Terry does not understand the difference between: “The War on…” and “the war on…” The latter is simply a statement of intention which can easily be an individual intention. There is nothing grandiloquent about it. It’s like this:

      “Prof. Terry has declared war on cockroaches; he kills them, chases them away and makes them feel like not returning to his house.”

      No Czar implied, no Czar needed; the war is really a war, not an overblown image .

      I will never be able to stop teaching English, including to “educators.” It’s so tiresome.

  3. “…the war is really a war…”

    No. It is not. The reason that your statement is an empty, presumptuous, silly slogan is EXACTLY because it has nothing whatsoever to do with war. Your comparison of a campaign against grammar you find objectionable and war is typical of a chickenhawk [slang, look it up].

    I was unfortunate enough to come of age at the height of the Vietnam war and cowardly enough to enlist in the Air Force to avoid combat. I had friends, neighbors, and a relative getting killed and maimed at an alarming rate [wrong social class, college deferments were for Dick Cheney and his ilk]. I sure as hell didn’t want that happening to me. War is a horrible, awful thing.

    Go back to whinging about municipal ordinances.

  4. I read this. There is only one meaning to the word “war.” It has to incorporate all and sundry old men’s feelings of guilt. Got it.

    And, I am really, really sorry, I was not draftable at the time of the Vietnam war. I guess I should have volunteered to avoid… what? I am confused.

    • Of course I mean whinging. Emigrating to Canada broadened my vocabulary.

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