Thursday, March 01, 2007

Illegal Pronouns

John McCain is officially in the 2008 Presidential race, as of last night’s appearance on David Letterman
wonder how many Top-Ten Lists the McCain Campaign will generate?

The United States and China are making noise about thawing North Korean funds frozen in retaliation for Kim Il Jong’s nuclear missile program.
They’ll just buy them from the Syrians with all that money…

LA Dodgers Pitcher Matt White is on his way to becoming baseball’s first billionaire…and not necessarily from a stellar batting average or particularly wiley manager.

White bought some land from an aged aunt who needed the money to enter a rest home. Turns out the land has a rock deposit worth billions in building material grade stone—24-million tons of the stuff.

Priced at $2-million a ton…do the math.

A potentially entertaining new show on FOX could provide an irresistable combination with American Idol for the network to capture the February sweeps: it's called “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?”
Imagine a combination of the old Art Linkletter’s “Kids Say the Darnedest Things" with the intellectual content of Jerry Springer.

“Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader” takes its quiz show questions directly from first through fifth grade level textbooks, with the contestant will bet cash on whether or not he or she can answer a series of "general knowledge" questions.

There will be five fifth graders of average intelligence on stage with the contestant to act as lifelines and "gently mock" the adult.

The spin-offs are unlimited, given the demographic make up of our country. Imagine a show featuring “Are you Smarter than an Asian 5th Grader,” or “Are you Smarter than a French 5th Grader.”
Perhaps “Are You Smarter than an Illegal Immigrant 5th Grader” might be a little over the top.

Which brings us to the next cultural change wave…just as it is no longer politically correct to describe various types of individuals in society by their most obvious traits, like skin color, approximate height, weight, or family heritage, a Florida state legislator is now calling for the abolition of the use of the phrase “illegal alien” to describe persons who are presently on US soil without the benefit of government sanction.
“Illegal Immigrant” is the preferred term, apparently.

This opens up a whole new era of descriptive nouns and pronouns, especially since the State of Florida has a “Plain English” mandate for all government documents. (Wonder if that might also be altered to “plain language,” so as to be inclusive of all spoken tongues in that state?)

Florida could use words like “colonists,” “settlers,” or the fashionable-sounding “émigré” to describe folks who’ve come over to visit and decided to outstay their welcome—or their visa.

“Refuge” and “migrant” have pretty much been relegated to the linguistic trash heap, with negative connotations thanks to Media overuse. “Colonizer” was another alternative that showed up in my word search, but that sounds more like a problem that would be treated with Amdro.

I am partial to none of these, so long as the proper adjective is attached: Illegal.
Illegal visitor.
Illegal émigré.
The trick here is to accurately describe what’s going on, while avoiding being offensive.

To many Americans, especially those who are foreign-born and who have legalized their residence here, nothing could be more insulting.

I sort of like the word “squatter.”

1 comment:

Amar said...


I could not agree more with respect to the illegal alien part. I am an immigrant, a legal immigrant. I moved to the country legally and I have done everything the hard way to become a proud citizen of this great nation, and it is very insulting for me when my adopted country gives free passes to law breakers. I feel like the fool who’s done it the hard way while others didn't work for it as hard. I can assure you that anything that is acquired easily is often taken for granted. Now, think about this for a second. I often meet Americans by-birth who often take their citizenship and country for granted. Go figure.