George Carlin predicted the Associated Press banning the term “illegal immigrant”
Well, not that phrase in particular. But he did explain how Americans tend to replace simple, direct, honest language with comforting euphemisms in an effort to insulate themselves from reality. Which, in the end, only makes things worse.
Here’s Carlin almost 25 years ago, talking about how the term “shell shock” eventually became “post-traumatic stress disorder.” Note that Carlin gets through several minutes here without cursing. It’s almost as if he knew these words would live on after he died, and he wanted as many people as possible to remember them:
It’s only gotten worse since then. If somebody engages in terrorism because he thinks it’s the will of Allah, you can’t call him a “Muslim terrorist.” Similarly, the needlessly blunt phrase “war on terror” becomes the more palatable “overseas contingency operations.” Control the language, control people’s patterns of thinking.
And now, if somebody immigrates into a country illegally, you can’t call him — or her! — an “illegal immigrant.” Because it makes liberals and the media (PTR) uncomfortable. And there’s no crime worse than that.
I propose we replace “illegal immigrants” with “differently citizened individuals.” That’ll do until we can think of something with more syllables.