So we’re coming up to the fifteenth anniversary of the publication of a Henry Beard’s and Christopher Cerf‘s The Official Politically Correct Dictionary and Handbook (New York, NY, USA: Villard Books, updated edition 1993), and I thought it would be a good idea to hunt down my copy of it and take a look at some of its knee-slapping and yet eerily sobering entries.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I want to do this because I believe that this was the book that saved western civilization from the ravages of ’80s campus radicals (who were actually recycled ’60s campus radicals with Ph.D.s) by keeping them from using the Sapir-Whorf linguistic hypothesis to turn America into a nation of intellectual zombies who would ban Rush Limbaugh from the airwaves and bring an end to talk radio as we know it.
…But where was I?
Oh, yes—according to Beard and Cerf (hey, that would be a great name for beachfront bar!), the postmodern term for “book” is “processed tree carcass,” and “according to postmodern literary theory, all processed tree carcasses are ‘texts'” (85). And you don’t read processed tree carcasses, you control them, because “reading and writing are merely technologies of control. [They are] martial law made academic” (124).