Of All the Words We Should Ban…Really?

So the latest word we can’t use for females is the ‘b’ word.  No, not that ‘b’ word; that one is still okay.  The other one.  ‘Bossy.’  Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (no relation to Andy Samberg) has started a campaign to ban the word ‘bossy’ from our absurdly language-dependent culture.  She claims that the adjective discourages girls from pursuing leadership rolls wherein they can actually be bossy and tell people what words they can and cannot use.

If you ask me, which nobody does for obvious reasons, this whole thing is kind of like the anti-bullying movement that is bullying us into not bullying or congresspersons staying up all night and burning the midnight oil to tell us to stop using so much energy or Al Gore flying around in his private jet to get us to reduce our carbon emissions or Al Sharpton making $5 million a year by telling us how oppressed he is or….You get the idea: we are being bossed into banning ‘bossy’.

I also find it interesting that Martin Scorsese can make a movie with 500 f-bombs that gets a gazillion Oscar nominations, but the word ‘bossy’ is deemed too bellicose for sensitive ears.  On a related note, I think I’m going to get Mr. Scorsese a thesaurus for Christmas.

Perhaps you recall that Ms. Bossypants Sandberg is no stranger to contrived controversy.  She wrote a not-really scandalous book that recently caused a pretend furor because her interpretation of feminism was at odds with other interpretations of feminism.  And if you follow feminism at all, you are well aware that there ain’t no furor like a feminist furor cuz a feminist furor don’t stop.  At least her book didn’t cause a German Führer.  Those are way too bossy.

She says that unlike her, some girls can’t persevere and overcome the bossy taunt to become leaders in the workplace and we should therefore eliminate it so more women can become corporate bigwigs.

Because overcoming adversity is entirely unnecessary in corporate high-management positions.

The obvious question in all this is…Is it better to teach kids to not use the word ‘bossy’ or to teach kids to not be bossy?   I mean, if my daughter acts like a dorkopotamus such that I have to call her a dorkopotamus, isn’t it better for her not to be said dorkopotamus in the first place?

And what if you’re a boss?  Isn’t the point of being a boss to be bossy?  How are bosses going to get people to stop reading lame blogs and get back to work?   And what if you’re a mafia don?  When this campaign is over are we going to be seeing crime bosses attend sensitivity training and seminars on Total Quality Management?

“When I squeeze your thumbs like this, how does that make you feel?”

I wonder if Ms. Bossy-Bosserson Sandberg went to school in New York.  New York is the undisputed world leader in nonsensical bans and they seem to be training their children to ensure their future dominance.  Last year, the New York City school district banned a whole list of words and topics from being used on standardized tests; words that “could evoke unpleasant emotions in the students.”

Because we never have to deal with unpleasant emotions as adults.

Among the listed words are ‘swimming pool’ and ‘home computer’.  These are banned because not everyone owns a swimming pool or a home computer and it might make those who are in such abject poverty feel excluded and jealous and depressed.  Also banned is ‘dinosaur’ presumably because not everyone owns a dinosaur and ‘birthday’ because not everyone has a birthday.

‘Politics’ and ‘vermin’ are both on the list, which seems redundant.  In fact, anything to do with the big three topics of conversation (sports, religion and politics) is banned because such topics could induce uncontrollable disagreement, like in the Standardized Test Riots of 1982; things like ‘Christmas’ or ‘unemployment’ or ‘how much the Twins suck’.  And you can’t mention ‘geological fossils’ because evidently Fundamentalists don’t believe in geological fossils.

History is especially displeasing; ‘war’, ‘slavery’, and ‘diseases’ are deemed too upsetting to be taught.  So are ‘creatures from outer space’ and ‘movies’, which is actually understandable considering Thing 2’s tearful reaction to ET.

‘Rap’ and ‘Rock and Roll’ are also a no-no.  Country music seems to be okay on the surface, but is banned inferentially as one cannot mention ‘divorce’, ‘guns’ or ‘beer’.

In other words, any topic one might teach or discuss in an educational or social setting is not allowed to be tested in New York public schools.  Perhaps one reason charter schools are so popular there is because the public school list is entirely inadequate for avoiding offense to all potential sensitivities.  Conspicuously absent are things like ‘getting out of bed’, ‘human interaction’, and ‘life’.

I would write to tell them their list is incomplete but doing so might give the impression that I’m kind of bossy.  Which would then cause all kinds of confusion because they wouldn’t know what to call me.


Since my whole ban ban idea hasn’t taken off, I think for next week I’ll just give in and create my own list of words to ban.  Any suggestions?

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