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Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Obituary for the English Language

Modern English passed away recently, following a steady decline in health that took a sudden turn for the worse a few years ago. The chief cause of death appears to be Political Correctness. "Murder" has been officially ruled out as a suspect.

Modern English was preceded in death by its parents and grandparents: Classical English, Middle English, and Old English, as well as numerous siblings and one cousin. Its sole surviving descendant is Post-Modern English.

Burial will be scheduled at a later date, as it always takes a while to put a language to rest after its decease.

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Hi folks, I'm back. I had to take a few days off due to internet connectivity problems, probably somehow associated with Great Iowa Flood.

What provoked this article was a full-length news feature this morning on "the murder of a mountain gorilla." Now, this immediately brought to mind the Anthropoid Apes of Tarzan fiction, who could communicate with each other and even other species by spoken words in a language all of their own. Yet when Tublat killed Tarzan's father, threatened his mate Kala, and was eventually killed by Tarzan himself, the word "murder" never came into play. The shooting of mountain gorillas Senkwekwe Rugendo and his three wives was apparently the first documented case of inter-species murder.

So what is "murder," this newly coined member of the Post-Modern English vocabulary?

Basically, it is direct involvement in any class of death of which the speaker or writer does not approve, but the perpetrator does.

Therefore anti-abortionists can speak of a surgeon "murdering an unborn child" when he cuts her up in her mother's womb; anti-darwinists of parents "murdering their child" when they allow natural selection to take its course in the life of their diabetic daughter; anti-islamists of a father "murdering his daughter" when he slits her throat to deflect the shame she has brought upon her family; anti-suicidists of Jack Kevorkian "murdering his patients" when he holds a lethal gas mask over their mouths; and anti-homophobes of the likes of Jeffrey Dahmer "murdering their lovers" when they butcher and eat their sexual partners.

And the prescribed penalty for murder? Well, back in the days of Classical English at least, and even into the days of Modern English, Murder was, by definition, a capital crime. That no longer being the case, one can now face the incongruity of a stiffer penalty for "murdering" an unhatched bald eagle than for "murdering" an unborn child; for "murdering" a mountain gorilla than for "murdering" an immodest daughter. There is no longer a legal connection between the past participle "executed" and the prepositional phrase "for murder." It is no longer so important that murderers be removed from the gene pool, as that they show public contrition for their politically incorrect deeds.

I have three questions for the creators of post-modern English.

1) When machete-wielding vigilantes hack apart captured thieves and leave their bodies to rot along the path as an example to others, to whom would this action be describable as "murder," and who would be the appropriate body to carry out the penalty thereof?

2) How long after suicide is allowed among other species before the legalization of inter-species assisted suicide?

2) How many mountain gorillas does one have to kill, out of a total population of less than 500, to become a "mass murderer?"


I'm back again in February 2009, to report a curious fact: for the 15 months following the 'execution' of the 5 gorillas from the Rugendo family, the Burunga National Park where they had lived was a combat zone; no park rangers were able to do their jobs. Ironically, when the rangers returned, they found that the Rugendo family had actually grown in their absence. Coming out of a 15-month war, the Burunga National Park now boasts more mountain gorillas than it had before. So was it murder--or population control?

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