Small Vocabulary = Small. . . . . Brain*

Mamacita says: A person who advocates censorship probably has a small vocabulary.  People with small vocabularies don’t have the understanding nor the schema to comprehend things that people with big vocabularies have no trouble understanding and applying.

I can’t help but wonder if all this brouhaha about dumbing down the vocabulary in classic literature right now has at least part of its origin in the sad fact that many of our parents and teachers can’t understand the big words.

This isn’t funny; it’s unforgivable.

John Wayne, quote about stupidity

The more words we know, the better able we are to communicate with others and to understand others.  Literate people have three vocabularies, as I tell my students each semester.  One is relatively small; one is medium-sized, and one is quite large.  Think “The Three Bears.”

Our smallest vocabulary is our speaking vocabulary.  The middle-sized vocabulary is our writing vocabulary.  Our largest vocabulary is – or at least, is supposed to be – our reading vocabulary.

That is, our reading vocabulary is large unless the dumbing-down PC police have stuck their white-out pens into other peoples’ business.

The only person who has the right to change a piece of writing is the writer.  Period.  If you are so over-sensitive and culturally illiterate that you are offended because back in a certain period of history, people spoke and acted in a particular way, and you don’t want anybody to know about it because it hurts your feelings even though it was quite ordinary for the times, and you’re unable, due to your low brain cell count, to create a valuable lesson with such facts, you’re sadly and selfishly stupid.  I pity your poor children.  I hope you’re not a teacher.

Peter Rabbit being put to bed by his mother and fed soporific lettuceAnd if you belong to the school of thought that still thinks that “soporific” is a word that small children can’t handle and you want it removed from Beatrix Potter’s “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” there are no words in any thesaurus to adequately describe your ignorance.

I despise you.  I try not to, but I do.  You’re an intellectual coward.  You yourself don’t understand something, so you straightaway condemn it.  Unforgivable.

I’ll tell all of you something else I tell all of my students:  put a thesaurus in your bathroom.  Learn a couple of new words with each twosie.  Two new words a thesaurusday, say, or maybe three, times seven days a week times 365 days a year equals a lot of new words.  Do it.  You can get a thesaurus at the Dollar Tree, a good enough edition for a bathroom.  You’ll be replacing it every month or so anyway.  I hope you do, anyway – nobody’s family is that clean.

* As for the title, it’s absolutely true, and such people’s brains aren’t the only small body part they’re sporting.  This is, of course, an opinion, but I firmly believe that people who advocate censorship are considerably unendowed in every other area, as well.  The first punch is almost always thrown by the person with the smaller vocabulary.  He/she runs out of words and has to lash out in the only way left to them, exactly like a toddler who runs out of words and melts down in frustration.

Censorship comes in all kinds of guises, all of them disgusting.  Equally disgusting is our population’s growing lack of cultural literacy.  We learn by exposure.


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