the words are all new, so why bother
When we reflect on Zamyatin's letter of resignation from the Russian writer's union as the result of their censure during the controversy surrounding the publication of "We," his words are a timeless affirmation that history rhymes.
The entire letter is too long to post here, but this excerpt demonstrates a historical underpinning for cancel culture and today's long march through the institutions:
"The general meeting in Moscow, without waiting for my explanations, without even expressing a desire to hear them, adopted a resolution condemning my "act." The members of the Moscow branch also took the occasion to express their protest against the contents of the novel, written nine years ago and unknown to the majority of them. In our times nine years are, in essence, nine centuries. I have no intention here to defend a novel that is nine centuries old. I merely think that it would have been far more timely if the Moscow members of the union had protested against the novel We six years ago, when it was read at one of the union's literary evenings.
The general meeting of the Leningrad branch of the union was held on September 22, and I know of its results only from a newspaper report ( in Vechern Krasnaya of September 23). From this report it may be seen that in Leningrad my explanations had already been read and that opinion at the meeting was divided.
A number of the writers, after reading my explanations, considered the incident closed. Nevertheless, the majority found it more prudent to condemn my "act."
Such is the act of the All-Russian Writers' Union. And from this act I draw my own conclusion: I find it impossible to belong to a literary organization which, even if only indirectly, takes part in the persecution of a fellow member, and I hereby announce my resignation from the All-Russian Writers' Union."
So sorry (not!) to hear about your unfortunate not-writing accident. It calls to mind Ron White's stand-up bit where he recounts an inebriated incident where he acknowledges that he DID have the right to remain silent, but not the ability...
Let's hear more, when you choose!
"Words have had meaning. They can again."
This made me laugh.
Best for Memorial Day.
Ban is a word that gets inflated. Boycott's another--a bunch of people deciding not to buy something because they dislike its symbolism is not a boycott.
I don't blame you for breaking your writing fast. That was the kind of story that makes you want to find the nearest brick wall and just slam yourself into it. I know that was my reaction when I caught it on Twitter (the place where reality goes to die).
And you're giving her way too much credit calling her a midwit.
I don’t know where you are, but it looks charming.
"tedious midwits", that made me cackle😂😂 I'm from Little Habana (Miami), the midwit is now the butt of many jokes. Most of us had never heard of her, she'll soon be forgotten.
Your vacation spot looks lovely. Enjoy, hope the weather is nice.
A few years ago I bought an old dictionary. I decided to find something from the year I was born. There are more than a few words that have changed since 1968.
Continue enjoying your break! We'll be waiting but take your time.
I promised myself I wouldn’t start reading if I woke up early and could go back to sleep. (I have terrible insomnia.) But when I saw your article (which you weren’t supposed to write) I immediately started reading it at 5:00 am. Now I’m tired AND pissed. Thanks, Chris! Please take your break so I can pretend the world is okay just for a bit and get some shuteye.
They are playing fast and loose with the word vaccine these days, to our great detriment.
Please, by all means, continue writing. I needed to read your piece today. Thank you.
Don’t know your age, Chris, but here’s the thing: They don’t even have to “burn” dictionaries, because dictionaries are no longer solid objects. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if half of our millennials have never thumbed through an actual paper dictionary.
Words can be memory-holed or their meanings twisted at the speed of clicks. Just like our “print journalists” now stealth edit their pieces three times in 48 hours if their initial grovelling or exaggerations didn’t work out right.
Printed books are themselves basically samizdat.
As you say, the revision of language goes hand in hand with the political revision of history. The Soviets do seem to be the role model for our Leftists. If you’re interested in fiction about how an everyman can keep his dignity and quietly work to subvert a totalitarian state, you may like Hans Fallada’s masterful work: Every Man Dies Alone, published in 1947. It deals with Nazi Germany. Have a great weekend.
According to the Amanda Gorman’s of the world certain books and ideas must be banned or neutered - Dr. Seuss or Mark Twain, for example. However, when the left beans or neuters a book, it is somehow good. However, when a conservative school district chooses not to buy a book or to move a book from one section to another, it is Nazi book banning. It is so stupid, but, Chris, it is well worth interrupting your holiday weekend to calm it out. It needs to be called out every single time.
The library I work for recently made the curious (not really) decision to relegate Matt Walsh's toddler board book to adult 800's oblivion (poetry, etc) while books like "I am Jazz" and other trans nonsense for our smallest visitors remain front and center on display. 🙄