Newspeak

During a hearing held on October 13, Senator Hirono informed Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett that the term “sexual preference” is now offensive even though Hirono herself and the late Justice Ginsberg have used the term extensively. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary has now labeled the term “offensive.” Senator Hirono prefers “sexual orientation.”

I’m sick of the skewing and twisting and trashing
Of words to the point of the harshest tongue-lashing
From government hijacking straightforward meaning
To hold up our speech to political screening.
Now shading the truth is alternative fact
Emotional rape has replaced lack of tact
Plain person is used—never female or fella
A poor homeless soul is an alfresco dweller
A streetwalking strumpet’s a sex care provider
A sponsor of ALL lives—a racial divider
A cop-killing thug is a top freedom fighter
And peaceful protester has overthrown rioter.

Since Judge Coney Barrett has opened her mouth
The skewing of language has slipped further south.
Her crime was to mention the term sexual preference
Considered so bad, now the lexicon’s reference
Informs us those words are no longer PC
(They’re banned by tyrannical powers that be)
For nobody’s drawn to a partner through choice—
In matters of mating, we don’t have a voice.
It’s futile to argue, no need to get nettled,
We don’t pick our lovers—the science is settled…
Though only for those with whom THEY disagree—
A mind of one’s own is now called bigotry.

 

 

Susan Jarvis Bryant is a church secretary and poet whose homeland is Kent, England.  She is now an American citizen living on the coastal plains of Texas.  Susan has poetry published in the UK webzine, Lighten Up On Line, The Daily Mail, and Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets).


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49 Responses

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you very much, Dick. I appreciate the support – speaking out these days is not for the faint-hearted.

      Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      jd, thank you very much. I’m working on the premise that “many a true word is spoken in jest” – you’ve just confirmed my serious message is loud and clear. With much gratitude.

      Reply
  1. Martin Rizley

    Brilliantly done– and done so quickly, too! So tell me– is liking well-written formal poetry with rhyme and meter a poetic preference or a poetic orientation?

    Reply
    • Sally Cook

      All that “correct” people like is an alternate truth.
      Renegades searching for real truth are lost in the weeds.
      Speaking with forked tongue may get you quite far in your youth,
      As you mature you may find that this practice impedes.

      Good work, Susan, on one of my favorite subjects – the torturing of language.

      Reply
      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Sally, everything you say is infused with wisdom – a wisdom that seems to be lost in today’s world of chaos, confusion and manipulation. I wasn’t going to write another political piece, but, like you, my love of language propelled me to do so. The “torturing of language” is unforgiveable, and I cannot remain silent! Thank you for your support, my friend… it means a lot!

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Martin, thank you very much for your wonderful comment. To answer your highly amusing question, Liking “well-written formal poetry with rhyme and meter” is definitely a preference… for me “preference” means freedom of choice and personal responsibility – something Big Brother will never allow.

      Reply
  2. Jeff Eardley

    Susan, the first notch downward for public opinion on Meghan Markle was when she wrote mindless messages onto bananas for distribution to the “Sex Workers” of Bristol. Whatever happened to “prostitute?” As someone who hates “Male,Female, Unspecified” on forms these days, this is a powerful statement on all this nonsense. Thank you again.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Jeff, thank you very much for your comment – your observations are always thought-provoking and amusing. I had no idea Meghan Markle did this – what an idiot. I hope she recognized victims of rape too! As for the word “prostitute”, it comes with finger-pointing responsibility for one’s dubious and lawless choice of “profession” – and lawlessness and complete lack of personal responsibility seem to be lauded these days. Perhaps today’s politicians ought to embrace this appellation – they’re always compromising principles for personal gain.

      Reply
  3. Russel Winick

    Susan – Your ability to instantly capture current events in fine poetic fashion is truly impressive and fun!

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you very much, Russel. I have so much inspiration from today’s headlines, it’s made poetry much easier. The subject chooses me rather than the other way round – great for creatives.

      Reply
  4. Mike Bryant

    I really love this perfect (in so many ways) take on this pernicious practice that has taken our country to the gates of hell.
    Having said that… I thought that homeless people preferred to be called outdoorsmen.
    I’ve been watching you write poems, full of humor, rhythm and poetic device for over ten years, and I’m still amazed and appreciative of your beautiful gift and your absolute dedication to poetry. Lovely, just lovely.

    Reply
    • Julian D. Woodruff

      Mr. Bryant,
      Surely “outdoorsman” is preferred only if one identifies as a man.

      Reply
      • Mike Bryant

        Actually, Mr. Woodruff, I believe that “outdoorsman” was suggested by the public relations firm that was working for the homeless. Perhaps the homeless would have embraced the term IF the firm had suggested outdoorspeople or outdoorspersons.

    • Peter Hartley

      Utterly blinking ridiculous. Absolutely mad! There’s no justification whatsoever for any of this verbal deceit. A sex care provider supplies pills to treat your latest bout of gonorrhoea. How does the adjective emotional in any way qualify “rape”? What is the POINT of divesting a person of his or her gender? How can you be an alfresco dweller? You can only dwell in something fixed and I assume the homeless wander about a bit. Language worthy of Arthur Sullivan and metrically perfect as ever, Susan is a rare prosodic phenomenon.

      Reply
      • Peter Hartley

        I’m beginning to get exceedingly angry about all this pc malarkey and when I get angry I start breaking things.

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Peter, I wasn’t going to reply to any comments until tomorrow, but your disturbing response to my inflammatory piece means I simply have to take emergency responsibility for the effect my words have had. Please listen carefully. In your anger at the destruction of our language, please do not destroy your gob iron and (especially) your Tyrolese bugle. It would break my heart! As for the “alfresco dweller”, I will get back to you when you’ve calmed down. With care and sympathy, Susan. Please go make a pot of tea… I know it cures everything (even the news of murder) if you’re British!

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Peter, in my haste to save the harmonica and Tyrolese bugle, I forgot to thank you for your beautiful comment – “ Language worthy of Arthur Sullivan” is high praise indeed, and I am basking in the golden glow of this glorious comparison. Thank you very much!

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you so very much, biggest fan! Your support makes it all happen and for that I’m eternally grateful! x As for the “gates of hell”, surely you mean “portal to warmer climes”… 😉 But, how could it get much hotter than Texas!! It scares me to think of it!

      Reply
  5. Joseph S. Salemi

    Top-notch work, as usual, Mrs. Bryant.

    A bastard is now an “O.W. child.”
    An obese tub is now a “person of size.”
    A jailbird is now a “government detainee.”
    A Communist is now a “progressive.”
    A healthy and strong person is now “temporarily abled.”

    In one of the universities where I teach, all persons (students, administrators, office staff, and faculty) are being urged to indicate what pronoun you are to be addressed with: he, she, it, they, we, and even absurd fictive forms like “shay” or “heo” or “meetoo.” It is expected that your choice will appear as a note on all in-house e-mails that you send. This is gender ideology gone berserk.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Joe S (I feel we know each other well enough to move on from such formalities – call me “Susan”), thank you very much for your endorsement and your highly amusing comment… if the situation wasn’t so bloody darn serious, I’d be laughing a little harder.

      Reply
  6. Julian D. Woodruff

    Mr. Salemi,
    Gender ideology IS berserk. Would Shaw, e.g., have been able to guess what the term means?

    Reply
    • Joseph S. Salemi

      Shaw would have been baffled by this idiocy. But imagine what savage scorn George Orwell would have unleashed upon it. And he was a leftist sympathizer!

      Reply
      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Joe S., your observation on Orwell is exactly why our current times are so horrific. It’s a sorry shame that many don’t know it.

  7. Julian D. Woodruff

    This is marvelous, Susan. I could tell it was yours strictly from the subject, and your lines do not disappoint. Orwell’s complaints about the abuse of language are updated, and with humor.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Julian, coming from you, this is a real compliment. I cannot believe that I’ve written so many political poems. I grew rather worried about it the other day, and swore to myself I would concentrate on anything other than politics… but, I just couldn’t help myself, and I’m thrilled with the response. I’m not the only one out there who thinks the world’s gone insane! Thank you, Sir!!

      Reply
  8. Cynthia Erlandson

    I love it! I have noticed more and more language abuse lately: censors are now called “fact-checkers”; riots are now “protests” (mostly peaceful except for the fires, violence, and looting); what should be called anti-social distancing is crazily disguised as “social”; vandalism is now called “justice”; all people of European descent are called “racists”, and putting healthy people under quarantine and law-abiding citizens under house arrest are described as mitigations for the sake of health. Oh, yes — and an emergency can now be something that lasts indefinitely. These silly lines came to me as I was reading “Kubla Khan”:
    In Michigan the governor
    Continuous emergency
    Decreed. The state, enslaved to her,
    Was locked, and soon the people were
    Anything but free.

    (By the way, your “Divider/ fighter/ rioter” is a great rhyme sequence!

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Cynthia. thank you very much for your comment. I didn’t even think of “fact checkers” as “censors”, but you are so darn spot on. I almost feel like adding another stanza with your term and Dr. Salemi’s terms added to my poem… I have a feeling that my poem could go on ad infinitum. I agree wholeheartedly with all of your fine points, and your take on Kubla Khan is spot on… you should develop it into a full work – too many have “drunk the milk of paradise” and need to be put straight. I look forward to reading the end result. With much gratitude for your support!

      Reply
      • Joseph S. Salemi

        Susan, the phrase “fact-checkers” has been a euphemism for censors ever since the 1980s. The subtle semantic shift wasn’t recognized at first, since many newspapers and magazines did employ genuine fact-checkers to go over copy before it was committed to print. Their task was to verify names, places, dates, statistics, and quotations.

        When the cultural Left began to colonize all mass media and print journalism after the 1960s, they used a textbook Gramscian procedure for infiltration: they kept the name “fact-checker” but transformed the job into the surreptitious censorship and exclusion of any fact or statement or argument that contradicted left-liberal ideology. No opinion could be expressed that did not follow the left-liberal Party Line, because it was purportedly “not factual.”

        In other words, “truth” became whatever the left-liberal bosses of Mainstream Media said was the “truth.” Everything else was dismissed as “non-factual.” Recall what the Soviet Communists called their mouthpiece newspaper: PRAVDA, which in Russian means “TRUTH.”

        Today, whatever events or reports or opinions our American and British Mainstream Media dislike are now called “fake news.” That phrase can be translated as “whatever news is inconvenient or distressing to the ruling elite of the Deep State.” Our PRAVDA today is the New York Times, and the BBC.

        The same thing is happening now to the word “Christian.” In the past it had a definite doctrinal and theological meaning. The left-liberal Gramscians are trying very hard to shift the meaning to “overly sentimental spineless whiner who apologizes endlessly for the sins of the European past, and whose strong support for what the cultural Left wants is a nice religious cover for our social revolution.”

        The placing of the heretical Antipope Bergoglio at the head of the Vatican was a major step in this new name-change.

      • Cynthia Erlandson

        Thank you for elaborating, Joseph. That’s more than I knew.

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Joe, thank you very much for this. I have read your words a couple of times over and I’m saddened to have you confirm that this goes back to the 1960s.

        In the 80s and 90s, I remember sniggering at my grandparent’s horror at the seemingly ridiculous idiocy being foisted on us in the UK by those wishing to change the language and the law in the name of “human rights”… programs to send prison inmates on seaside holidays as part of a rehabilitation process, while ignoring the victims of crime etc. etc. The last ten years have led me to believe that this “idiocy” is, and always was, part of a greater plan more evil than I could ever have imagined. I know that history warns us, and I only wish I had pored over books of historic fact from an early age instead of burying my head in fiction. My grandparents were right to be horrified, and I’m certainly not sniggering now.

        Jordan Peterson woke me up a couple of years back when he refused to embrace gender pronouns – the backlash terrified me and still does. Verbal abuse has turned to violent abuse and murder if one doesn’t agree with this sick ideology. All those who have escaped communism have warned us. Hungary and Poland defy the rules of the EU because they remember exactly what it’s like to be trodden on by the cruel boot of a super state. Yet, the warning voices, the voices of those who really care for freedom and human rights, are considered the enemy. That worries me greatly, and I feel guilty for not taking it seriously enough. My grandparents fought for my freedom and I’ve taken that gift for granted… until now.

  9. Terry L. Norton

    Susan, how could you be so insensitive as to write an absolutely brilliant poem? Euphemisms eventually lose their blandness and turn negative for the self-appointed puritan thought-police who constantly want to monitor another’s usage in order to present themselves as morally superior. Everyone in time figures out the new word has replaced the old, so-called offensive, language, so that the new expression must be sacked. I’m surprised that “lady,” which has now become an all-inclusive word, though at one time a very specific term, isn’t deemed offensive. The whole game of not offending – and no can predict what will be offensive since insensitivity has become entirely subjective – has grown excessively tedious. (And by the way, when did accusations of insensitivity become a form of argument to refute anything?) The “woke” should spend time in a self-reflective examination of conscience and worry about the two-by-fours in their own eyes instead of their perceived splinters in the eyes of others.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Terry, you make my point beautifully and perfectly. The euphemism; “pushing up daisies” is all well and good, until the harsh, in-your-face reality of death hits you like a sledge hammer. I believe the Western World is standing on the brink of this reality – the hammer’s swinging and we’re only just dodging it… a scary scenario. Terry, the world needs more animal-fable wisdom to set it straight – I can’t wait for your next poem!

      Reply
  10. Jeff Kemper

    Wow! (Perhaps that word is offensive.) This poem makes me angry beyond measure, because it reminds me of the brave new sick world of the 21st C. Out of curiosity, how long did it take you to write this exquisite poem? And here’s an idea: a satirical poem based on Hirono’s (or pick your favorite Democrat!) logic-free bilge at the hearing. Perhaps I’ll try that.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Jeff, thank you very much for your interesting and inspirational comment. I’m thrilled my poem has the “Wow!” factor and I’m glad to see the subject matter had the same effect on you as it did me. My blood was boiling when I saw this exchange. The sheer hypocrisy of Senator Hirono was glaring – shaming others by manipulating language to further a perverse ideology is pure evil. I grew even angrier at the news that the dictionary definition had been altered on the same day to suit this insidious political agenda. As I seem to be doing more often these days, I drew on my ire to spit out (that’s how angry I was) this poem in around an hour… it took me another hour to polish it. The reason I produced it so quickly was because of the adrenalin rush. I should probably take up yoga instead of writing political poetry… it may well prove better for my health and reputation. LOL

      I like your idea of a satirical poem on “logic-free bilge” (great term). I am handing the baton over to you, and look forward to reading the end result.

      Reply
  11. C.B. Anderson

    Susan,

    I have nothing to add to what has already been written, except to say that you seem to have a hair-trigger response to every absurdity infecting current North American “thinking.”

    Reply
    • Joseph S. Salemi

      It’s because they are more than just absurdities, Kip. They are lethal dangers threatening the lives, liberties, and property of sane Americans.

      Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      C.B. For too long I’ve remained silent on issues I’m beginning to feel extremely passionate about. I know the medium I’ve chosen to express my passion is not far-reaching, but if it makes a difference to some, then I’m grateful. If the voices that have been silenced for too long all speak up in their own unique way against the “lethal dangers threatening the lives, liberties, and property of sane Americans” (thank you, Joe) then perhaps we’ll make a difference.

      Reply
  12. Sarban Bhattacharya

    Yes, that is very true. Susan Jarvis Bryant has written the poem with great dexterity. Liberal censorship has become excessively prudish. The so-called liberals are throttling free speech.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you very much for reading my poem and commenting, Sarban. The oxymoron “prudish Liberal” is exactly right. Today’s “Liberals” are as far removed from the word freedom as the harshest of prison wardens… unless, of course, the “freedom” applies to THEIR way of life. Those whose thoughts aren’t in keeping with today’s tyrannical ideologies are living on very dangerous ground.

      Reply
      • Joseph S. Salemi

        I can’t recall who said it, but it’s very true:

        “Inside every liberal there’s a totalitarian screaming to get out.”

  13. Damian Robin

    Thanks Susan.
    I thought this sickness was in remission. I see from your poem and the comments that I was just contentedly missing out.
    We can make a difference. Thanks to you and the commentators above.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Sadly, Damian, there’s no remission here in the US, but I’m heartened to hear that you think we can make a difference. Your fearless poetry definitely keeps my eyes open, and I’m thankful for that. I appreciate you dropping by and commenting – encouragement, indeed!

      Reply
  14. David Watt

    Susan, if you do take up yoga, I hope you still find time for political poetry. Otherwise, we would miss your gems of truth.

    The infuriating debasement of language is a calculated means of skewing thought. I can remember when the word ‘diversity’ meant five different species of frog in one pond. Now, the situation would be fluid (as befits frogs), and each could embrace the identity of their choosing.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      David, thank you! I love your frog observation. I am smiling, though sadly, there’s so much honesty in your analogy – the insanity surrounding all of this is enough to addle anyone’s brain. When the choice comes to yoga and poetry – poetry wins every time. I simply can’t help myself. I have to vent my spleen in verse… I’m not done yet! 😉

      Reply
  15. Daniel Kemper

    Spot on. Outrage is building and building.

    My brother, bless his confused heart, attends a church that immediately put BLM signs on the lawn and is now doing a study of some text with workbook exercises about sensitivity and apparently apologizing for various things (CRT stuff I glean). I have bi-racial children and he actually crept toward the notion that if I didn’t do this, that I was somehow being racist toward my own children. A female Muslim non-American he wanted to use to tell me how to father. (Female wisdom is no objection, generally a step ahead of male, but each has limits to what it can advise.) This is the third time this has happened to me. He was gentle and apologetic and cautious, my two friends were not.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Daniel, thank you very much for reading my poem and for your heartfelt comment. Your love for your brother shines through, and that is a beautiful thing. Too many families have split in acrimonious circumstances surrounding ethics that have been horribly politicized. To think that our churches are being propagandized and have become an arm of the government is soul destroying. As a parent, I will tell you this. Parenting has nothing to do with the color of your skin and you don’t need any outsider to tell you how to be a good father. Your heart will lead the way and your children’s love and respect for you will tell you exactly how you’re doing.

      Your brother and friends are lucky to have the voice of truth and light shining in their circle… never stop standing up for what you believe in. As Damian says above, “We can make a difference”. Thanks again!

      Reply

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