As I continue commemorating the 15th anniversary of the initial publication of The Official Politically Correct Dictionary and Handbook, by Henry Beard and Christopher Cerf (New York, NY, USA: Villard Books, updated edition 1993), which began with my post of January 3rd, it occurs to me how surreptitiously many of the words in this book have since crept into our day-to-day speech in ostensibly innocuous fashion, even to the point of assuming a place of privilege in many of our cultural institutions.
ice people. The European-American descendants of northern Ice Age peoples. The term was coined by Dr. Leonard Jeffries, chairman [sic] of the Afro-American Studies Department of the City University of New York, who theorized that humanity is divided into two principal groups, “ice people” and “sun people” (Africans, Asians, and natives of Latin America and the Caribbean). The two groups have diametrically opposed value systems: ice people are materialistic, egotistical, and exploitive, while sun people are humanistic, communal, and caring.
[Henry Beard and Christopher Cerf, The Official Politically Correct Dictionary and Handbook (New York, NY, USA: Villard Books, updated edition 1993), 35. Photo and caption of Idi Amin is found next to the definition of “sun person,” ibid., 71.]
Weariness hung from his facial muscles like lead weights on fishing lines. His hair, recently mauled by the suburban Chicago winds, reflected the gusts of reproach he had just battled. His jaw was set like that of a courtroom defendant whose guilty verdict was still echoing in his ears as he came to lay his pile of frustrations on the counter just long enough to write out a check to the seminary business office and be on his way.
Something told me he was having a rough day. It didn’t take long for me to dig it out of him. I guess he thought I would empathize.
As we continue to recognize the fifteenth anniversary of the original publication of The Official Politically Correct Dictionary and Handbook, by Henry Beard and Christopher Cerf, let us consider the plight of the voiceless victims of speciesism. But how can we consider their plight if we don’t know the exact nature of their oppression? Hence the need for a handy reference work that can enlighten (or is it better to say “encolor?”) us on this matter.
In fact, a lot of people have liked this book. And isn’t that all that matters? I mean, if you can write in a congenial autobiographical style that makes people feel good by telling them the kinds of things anyone would want to hear, if readers warm up to you the way kids would to a favorite uncle who intrigues them with views different from those of their parents, if you can effectively manipulate the emotional hooks in a story when truth and logic abandon you, does it really matter if your premises are faulty, your facts are few and far between, and the cover of your book is a tad misleading? So what if this book is less than the sum of its parts (much less, actually)! Why can’t we all just be open minded for a change, and if, in the process of opening our minds our brains fall out, so what? If God is bigger than our puny little brains, He shouldn’t care what’s in them, right? So let’s try putting the stuff Philip Gulley and James Mulholland have written in their book, If Grace Is True: Why God Will Save Every Person (San Francisco, CA, USA: HarperSanFrancisco, 2003) into them and see what happens. Continue reading
One of the things I find a tad irritating about Beard and Cerf’s The Official Politically Correct Dictionary and Handbook (New York, NY, USA: Villard Books, updated edition 1993), is that it is actually four separate dictionaries bound in one volume, and it has no index. I know what you’re thinking: you’re thinking that that’s actually two things to be irritated about. Well, when it comes to irritability, I’m a multitasker.
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.