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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Spelling Test

Moslems do not tell me how to pronounce English words. It is not "Muslim". It's Moslem. Same with Peking. Apparatchiks under Mao's hateful totalitarianism do not tell me how to pronounce the English name of a foreign city. I don't know what "Beijing" is. Something the Red Chinese told me to say? No. The word, in English, is Peking. Do the Germans tell me how to pronounce Munich? Are we somehow incorrect if we don't say M√ľnchen? Must I celebrate gay Parie? No. We're speaking English, here, in an English speaking country. Same with Burma. A fascist junta will not be changing the name of a country, and I honor it. Myanmar? Kampuchea? No.

That's all. There's a reason for it, you see, my orthographic quirks. Most of them, anyway. Orwell got it right. When they control language, they control thought. Shall we give them that authority? We've seen the battle over words. Choice/abortion. Affirmative action/quotas. Gay/homosexual. Nigga/nigger. When it goes beyond what someone wants to be called, and moves into ideology, we do not have to comply.

So apparently there was a nine year old girl pretending to sing at the Peking opening Olympic ceremonies. The real singer was seven. Is this a big scandal? I only just heard about it. The on-camera girl was pretty; the singing girl could sing. Said Chen Qigang, general music designer of the ceremonies, "The reason was for the national interest. The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feeling and expression."

"The reason was for..." Sort of an incomplete expression of the subject, eh? The reason for what was for...? The reason for our manipulation, our deceit, our lies...? But it's just show biz. Like makeup, pushup bras, airbrushing, lipsyncing. This is a scandal? For some reason, yes, it is. The Olympics, its spirit, is about excellence. Personal and human excellence. Authenticity is implicit in the entire enterprise. It's why drugs are banned. That's the theory, of course, the ideal.

The reality is that castrated men can somehow compete in women's categories -- so how is this silliness even worthy of notice? Is it that we know in advance about the castrated men, if we choose to be informed on the matter? I don't know enough about it to say. But we feel fooled, with these little girls. And the Red Chinese used them for political, for "national interest" purposes. Same deal with those opening-ceremony fireworks. Digital effects, mostly. And you've heard about the high walls that keep Western eyes from seeing Chinese slums. (See? The Left knows that walls do work.) Not to mention the thousands and tens of thousands and millions and hundred of millions and 1.3 billions of "dissidents" who've been jailed or otherwise kept from freedom. The reason is for the national interest.

Turns out that spelling is much more complicated than we might have thought. I like to keep things simple. Peking is a city in China. "Beijing" is an effort at thought control. You see? Even when I'm not in accord with convention, I'm understood. It's called communication, and it has layers.


J

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