Thursday, January 21, 2010

Vodou or Voodoo?

Steve Sailer says that "the fad for changing the spelling of 'voodoo' to 'vodou' in news stories about Haiti is just another example of the long-running campaign to make the American public more ignorant by cutting them off from their past learning by changing names" — Haiti & Anarchism: One Cheer for Voodoo!

"The intention is to make Americans' eyes glaze over when they see the word 'vodou' instead of light up when they see 'voodoo.'" He pithily adds, "We'll know that liberals are sincere when they start referring to tax-cutting as 'vodou economics.'"

Mr. Sailer also posts a 2002 article of his arguing that with "attempts to create a new name unburdened by old prejudices, the name game can end up dissipating the goodwill built up toward the old one" — The Name Game - Inuit or Eskimo?

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Blogger Enbrethiliel said...


I prefer the charm of the double Os in the familiar spelling.

(Hey, does that count as a pun???)

Then, of course, there's "women" and "wymyn," a classic exercise even George Orwell did not anticipate when he envisioned a sexless Oceania and a Ministry of Truth with the job of rewriting the past.

1:17 AM  
Blogger Enbrethiliel said...


That is, an officially sexless Oceania. (We all know how that worked out, of course.)

1:18 AM  
Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

Yet one more reason to despise political correctness!

Great stuff on the blog, lately. I've been busy so I haven't been commenting much, but I've been reading almost daily. Thanks for keeping the flow of information coming!

5:47 AM  
Blogger The young fogey said...

Yes, in English voodoo.

That said, the news got me interested in Haitian Creole. I don't know French well but I've seen signs in Creole around here. What's being done with it is like what's done to most of the many Spanish words in Tagalog (Filipino): they're spelt phonetically which throws you off. It looks dumbed down, condescending. I'd rather see French spelling (it seems signs in Haiti are in proper French). Anyway listening to Creole, to somebody with little or no French it sounds French.

10:59 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Enbrethiliel, funny that PC has out Orwelled Orwell. Good pun, too. Puns are wrongly derided as the lowest form of humor.

Mark, thanks for the "props" as the kids used to say around the time I left the States. I read your blog daily, as well, but don't comment as much as I should, probably because I often can;t think of anything better that "Right on!" to say.

Fogey, on a related note, I'm reminded of a Polish friend who had spent much time oin France and said West African French was the most beautiful. Creole (or Kreyol) reminds me of Jamaican patois, which, I think, benefits from the new spellings. This, in turn, reminds me of reading the Black Olr Rightist Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, the Black dialect only made sense when I read it out loud.

4:01 PM  

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