It’s called writing style. Every major news agency has a stylebook that most publications in their countries of origin tend to follow. The Americans, for example, view the Associated Press Stylebook as their bible, while their Canadian colleagues revere the Canadian Press Stylebook.
These journalistic sacred books used to limit themselves to questions of spelling, proper descriptions of official titles, correct grammar and accepted (acceptable) phraseology.
It wasn’t an overnight phenomenon but, seeing how blindly reporters and editors follow their advice, stylebook gurus decided to wade into the murky waters of politics, identity politics in the first place. Such as: the word black, no matter whether it describes a night or skin colour, must be capitalised. Thus the AP, and obeying that sermon from the mount has now become a duty. Avoid it, and you’ll get worse than 99 lashes across your behind.
Everything moves. Including Google. The once overwhelmingly good search engine (no longer, by the way) has decided that it, too, should improve its users’ writing skills.
Some time ago, Google has introduced an application named Google Docs.
The original idea: why not have an online word processor and document editor that makes it easy for more individuals to see a document and work on it.
One of the collectivist idiocies to begin with, under the guise of increased efficiency (and time savings in corporate or educational environments).
That it also allowed Google, the notorious invader of its users’ privacies, to secretly spy on those using the application, would become a minor concern. Only a few would be worried, too. It seems that the younger today’s users, the less they care about their privacy.
Inculcated from kindergarten in the basics of identity politics as a most positive sign of humanitarian progress, it is to be expected that they would have no issues with Google’s newest brainstorm: Google Docs now include a feature nudging users toward using language that is more “inclusive.”
Inclusive, you have read right.
It’s called More assistive writing suggestions in Google Docs, and who cares that the word assistive is but a stupid replacement for simple and straightforward words like helpful: assistive looks much more sophisticated.
Here’s the list of changes:
- Word choice: More dynamic or contextually relevant wording
- Active voice: Active rather than passive voice
- Conciseness: More concise phrases
- Inclusive language: More inclusive words or phrases
- Word warnings: Reconsidering potentially inappropriate words
To make sure no Google Docs user can avoid the harassment, Google has provided this useful information:
- These features will be ON by default and can be turned off in the admin console for eligible select Google Workspace education editions — see Availability details below.
- In the coming weeks, we will introduce these admin controls for the remaining eligible Google Workspace editions — see Availability details below. For those editions, these features will be ON by default and can be turned off at the domain, OU, and group level.
- End users:
- This feature will be ON by default and can be disabled by the user. Visit the Help Center to learn more about managing writing suggestions in Google Docs.
- When typing in Docs, tone and style suggestions are indicated with a purple underline. Selecting the underline will show a brief description for the suggestion — you can accept or reject the suggestion from here.
How frightfully democratic: you can turn the suggestions on and off, and you can obey or ignore them.
Robert Spencer, the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, found a few precious examples of such idiocy.
Verbatim quote #1:
(Recently), real estate journalist Rebecca Baird-Remba showed how this worked: she tweeted a screenshot from Google Docs showing that when she typed the word “landlord,” a prompt came up saying: “Inclusive language: Some of these words may not be inclusive to all readers. Try instead ‘property owner,’ ‘proprieter.’ ” Baird-Remba replied to sceptics: “i love how people are asking if this is real. yes! i was writing a lease story in google docs and this popped up in the first sentence.”
End of quote #1.
Of course, Microsoft wouldn’t be outdone.
Verbatim quote #2, again from Robert Spencer:
Replying to Baird-Remba, another Twitter user provided a screenshot of “Microsoft Editor Settings,” which allow readers to check boxes for automatic flagging of “Age Bias,” “Cultural Bias,” “Ethnic Slurs,” “Gender Bias,” “Gender-Neutral Pronouns,” and more. The boxes can all be unchecked at this point, but it isn’t hard to foresee a day when people who want to write freely are going to have to buy an old typewriter and distribute what they write furtively, as in the days of the samizdat literature in the old Soviet Union.
End of quote #2.
Lest anyone thinks that what they do in the privacy of their homes is nobody else’s business, and when they turn off these censorship features, either on Google or on Microsoft, they’ll be free to write as they goddamned please, they should remind themselves: both Google and Microsoft had been spying on what they were doing in the privacy of their homes, and they had gall enough to announce it.
Good news comes in threes, so, here’s quote #3, again, from Robert Spencer:
(Name) ran some famous words through these new Google Docs features, with striking results: “Google suggested that Martin Luther King Jr. should have talked about ‘the intense urgency of now’ rather than ‘the fierce urgency of now’ in his I Have a Dream speech and edited President John F. Kennedy’s use in his inaugural address of the phrase ‘for all mankind’ to say ‘for all humankind.’ ” Oddly, “a transcribed interview of neo-Nazi and former Klan leader David Duke — in which he uses the N-word and talks about hunting Black people — gets no notes.” On the other hand, “radical feminist Valerie Solanas’ SCUM Manifesto gets more edits than Duke’s tirade; she should use ‘police officers’ instead of ‘policemen,’ Google helpfully notes. Even Jesus (or at least the translators responsible for the King James Bible) doesn’t get off easily — rather than talking about God’s ‘wonderful’ works in the Sermon on the Mount, Google’s robot asserts, He should have used the words ‘great,’ ‘marvellous,’ or ‘lovely.’ ”
End of quote #3.
What to do?
We all have several options:
- we can behave like sheep and obey the ideology that has proven itself to be an abject failure and yet, many still believe in it;
- we can ignore these new applications, knowing we’re doing it at our own risk: one not so distant future day, these proponents of Marxism will come calling and start asking uncomfortable questions such as: how dare you?
- or we can say to hell with your pretences of progress, we will ignore Google Docs and any other such application that tells us what and how to think, we will be using applications that serve us, not the other way round.
That final option would hurt the perpetrators where it hurts them the most: in their wallets. How long would they continue their insanity before it brings them to declaring bankruptcy would be their choice. We would be only watching them with keen interest. They don’t deserve anything else.