|As reported elsewhere, the following letter was sent to a British newspaper, The Sunday Times, from America:|
Conspiracies to suborn, corruption of the law, and the sins of the flesh have all received their share of media coverage this last month. There is nothing we would wish to add to the comment even if we had something new to report. But this letter proposing the superiority of Bill Clinton over the Queen of England, in that the former was chosen and the latter (as alleged ignorantly) was not, deserves to be answered on one specific point of the greatest importance - the corruption of the English language.
Our language is perhaps our most precious heritage. It does not belong to Bill Clinton. Nor does it belong to such of his countrymen as the writer of this letter represents. And among the reasons it is precious is that it helps to safeguard our liberties. The corruption of language is a permanent target for dictators and all who assist anti-democratic movements. In the land that so vociferously guards "free speech" we expect this to be recognised.
Bill Clinton, the "man who represents our choices on many issues", sought and still seeks to corrupt our language.
The (American) Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary gives -
It now appears to be generally accepted by members of Congress and by the American news media that the "inappropriate relationship" to which Bill Clinton confessed is one of sodomy. Merriam- Webster's definitions appear to insist that sodomy is a form of sexual intercourse. They appear also to refute the suggestion that "oral sex" (sodomy) cannot be a basis for the charge of adultery, because -
Intercourse forms a relationship between two people. It cannot be said to belong to one partner alone, not by anyone, not even by one of those partners.
English is indeed a very valuable language, but it will remain so only as long as its users insist that its definitions remain uncorrupted.
|Constitutional Matters: - A Letter from America|
|Letters to the Editor|
|The October Contents Page|