The Official Blog Of Edward Cline

The Ghouls of Grammatical Egalitarianism

In
his FrontPage article of October 19th, “Why
Charles Krauthammer Gets It Wrong on the Redskins
,” Daniel Greenfield
corrected columnist Charles Krauthammer over the storm-in-a-teacup issue of the
allegedly derogatory name of the Washington football team.
Krauthammer,
in his October 17th Washington Post Opinion article, “Redskins
and Reason
,” wrote in defense of his opposition to the team name
“Washington Redskins.” He claims it is a racial slur, whether or not
Indians object to it:
I
know there are surveys that say that most Native Americans aren’t bothered
by the word. But that’s not the point. My objection is not rooted in pressure
from various minorities or fear of public polls or public scolds.
What
is his objection? It’s a personal, subjective objection. Krauthammer’s usual
prescience on hard politics has abandoned him on the issue.
Years
ago, the word “retarded” emerged as the enlightened substitute for such cruel
terms as “feeble-minded” or “mongoloid.” Today, however, it is considered a
form of denigration, having been replaced by the clumsy but now conventional
“developmentally disabled.” There is no particular logic to this evolution. But
it’s a social fact. Unless you’re looking to give gratuitous offense, you don’t
call someone “retarded.”
In
a feeble attempt to find a substitute name that would omit the term
“red,” he suggests:
How
about Skins, a contraction already applied to the Washington football team? And
that carries a sports connotation, as in skins vs. shirts in pickup basketball.
A
fair try, but unfortunately, the term skin
has too many “negative” meanings, as well, among them the British
term for the paper used to roll a joint, a condom, nudity, and so on. Krauthammer
seems to be rebelling against the concept of identity, in Standard English and
in slang.
Greenfield
noted:
The
people most obsessed with this question are white people. Mostly white
liberals. This is a debate that white liberals and white conservatives are
having over political correctness.
And
that’s the point. Krauthammer, whether or not he admits it, has succumbed to
the bogyman of Marxism-driven
politically correct speech. And politically correct speech (and thinking) is
the subject of an essay I wrote in 1997, originally published in the November/December
number of The Social Critic of that year. It is republished here with
some minor editing.
__________________________________________________________________________
A small, innocuous-looking book appeared in bookstores recently,
published under the auspices of the Association of American University Presses
(AAUP), an organization which claims to be devoted to the dissemination of
knowledge and scholarly research. Its title is Guidelines
for Bias-Free Writing
, by Marilyn Schwartz and the Task Force on
Bias-Free Language (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995). It is little
more than 100 pages long, weighs less than a pound, yet its contents are more
potent than the Oklahoma City bomb. Its ingredients are politically correct
jargon, multiculturalism, and the phenomenon of what may be called “grammatical
egalitarianism.”
It
is important to note at the start that the Association boasts a membership of
114 institutions, mostly university presses, but includes such diverse
organizations as the National Academy Press, the National Gallery of Art, the
Modern Language Association, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the J. Paul Getty
Trust. Its membership includes all major American and Canadian universities,
plus Oxford University Press and presses in Tokyo, South America, and
Scandinavia. This is an organization with significant cultural clout.
What
is “bias-free” writing? The Guidelines’ definition of it is “writing
free of discriminatory or disparaging language.” It should be stressed that the
object of Guidelines’ concerns is not primarily racial slurs. The AAUP
is not referring to the language to be found in the pathological hate
literature published by the Ku Klux Klan, the Aryan Nation, or the Black
Muslims, but to staid university publications. Its focus is common,
inoffensive usage, and the implication throughout the book is that scholarly
works that are not “sensitized” and “sanitized” may in the future be demoted to
the rank of hate literature, and treated with the same disdain, regardless of
their intellectual merit or significance.
The
following is a short selection of terms, phrases and usages from Guidelines,
found by its authors to be discriminatory, disparaging or otherwise “biased”:
Man, the singular pronoun none
coupled with his; girl, mother nature, the alleged association of
he and she with good and bad and great and small;
born-again, retard, idiot, redneck, city slicker, Siamese twins,
Dutch treat, deprived, needy, underprivileged, well-dressed, ghetto,
indigenous, tribe, teenager, juvenile
and elderly.
Also
on its list of “offensive” terms are able-bodied and intelligent,
which are considered discriminatory by implication and disparaging in any
instance of comparison.
Guidelines includes the
disclaimer, “there is no such thing as a truly bias-free language” and stresses
that the advice it offers is only “that of white, North American (specifically
U.S.), feminist publishing professionals.” The Task Force, which is composed of
21 university press editors (two of them men), recommends euphemistic proxies
for all of the terms on its “hit list.”
“Books
that are on the cutting edge of scholarship,” reads the AAUP Board of
Directors’ position statement, “should also be at the forefront in recognizing
how language encodes prejudice. They should also be agents for change and the
redress of past mistakes.” By “prejudice” Guidelines means an operative
hierarchy of values, not racist premises or gender “chauvinism.” While the term
“encodes” suggests that the authors of Guidelines regard the human mind
as a kind of computer chip that must be sterilized before “correct” encoding
can be applied (and who therefore imply that the mind is a mere passive
receptor and mirror of its cultural environment), another statement deserves
still closer scrutiny:
“The
term normal may legitimately refer to a statistical norm for human
ability (such as 20/20 vision), but should usually be avoided in other contexts
as…invidious.”
If
one sets as his standard of normalcy an individual who is in full
possession of his mental faculties, who is not debilitated by disease or
physical impairment, who is able to take responsibility for his own life, can
think and act without special “accommodation,” then by definition most people
are normal, and any limitation in any
of these criteria is a measure of subnormalcy.
In
private conversation, one might say of another, “He’s feebleminded.” In public
– e.g., in a “sanitized” book or in a speech – one may be allowed to say, “He’s
cognitively challenged,” or “He’s conceptually arrested,” or “He’s differently
conscious.” But assuming an absence of malice or cruel intent, the use of the
adjective “feebleminded” represents a conclusion reached from an evaluation or
a judgment of a person who, for whatever reason, chooses not to exercise his
mind, and thereby renders himself comparable to a feebleminded person who has
little or no choice in the range or depth of his thinking.
The
same argument can be applied to any of the supposedly discriminatory or
disparaging terms targeted by Guidelines. Suppose one said, “He’s an
idiot,” or “He’s a moron,” or “He’s a retard”; or was more inventive: “His mind
is on crutches,” or “His brain is in a wheelchair” – assuming that one has made
an accurate observation and a just evaluation, the terser or colorful one’s
descriptive prose, the more heinous one’s act of disparagement. But, in fact,
one is not mocking or disparaging idiots, morons, or non-ambulatory men: they
are merely being used as referents of normalcy.
In
essence, Guidelines advocates abolishing human comparison by prohibiting
the identity of referents. In the foregoing example, one would be discouraged
from expressing a judgment or evaluation of a person who has offered abundant
evidence of his inability or unwillingness to think normally or to perform some
task. Such a person is simply there, like a rock or a tree, beyond
discrimination (in the strict, nonracial, nonsexist meaning of that word), beyond
evaluation, beyond recognition. He is not incomparable; more precisely, he is non-comparable.
To compare the inventor of the steam engine with a man who is unable to do
simple math or boil a kettle of water without harming himself is, by
egalitarian anti-standards, a grave breach of “social justice” and an
unforgivable faux pas.
According
to Guidelines, “[a]djectives such as poor and unfortunate
have a similar [negatively connotative] effect and are patronizing, as are such
epithets as heroic and courageous.” Thus, if Guidelines’
authors have their way, not only will it be considered a breach of egalitarian
etiquette to make a distinction between heroism and cowardice, but it will not
be permitted to establish distinctions between normalcy or abnormalcy by which
to measure anyone’s character, ability or physical condition. There will be no
such thing as normalcy or any hierarchy of values, or value-measurement, just
whatever the slot machines of egalitarianism and multiculturalism happen to
disgorge from an eclectic, random stew of humanoids. A genius and an idiot are
not to be distinguished, discriminated, or even recognized; each is
“differently abled” or “specially conscious,” and no value may be placed on one
over the other.
This
is not the pursuit of “social justice,” even if one could assign a benign
intent to the concept. It is a formula for the manufacture of politically
correct automatons.
Strictly
speaking, measures of subnormalcy are not moral judgments. Neither are
they absolute measures of one’s potential for achievement. Helen Keller was
both blind and deaf. John Steinmetz, the brilliant electrical engineer, was a
hunchback. Toulouse-Lautrec, the painter, was a dwarf (injured by a fall down
the stairs when a youth). Neither is gender an obstacle to achievement, nor is
race, especially not in regards to intellectual accomplishment or to any field
of productive work that entails a greater than average measure of mental labor.
The numbers represented by women and individuals of other races or cultural
backgrounds in this respect are so great that they do not represent exceptions
to the rule – the rule simply does not exist.
(Parenthetically,
the act of blacklisting supposedly disparaging terms is self-defeating. Readers
will recall how quickly the first wave of politically correct euphemisms was
met with disdainful humor. What occurred was the transfer of the intended
evaluations or judgments from the banished terms to the euphemisms. The intent
of the evaluations or judgments found a new mode of expression – with the
added, stressed note of contempt for the euphemism itself, for its stumbling,
awkward redundancy, for its ill-disguised role of shielding the subject of the
euphemism from true identification or evaluation.)
Grammatical Egalitarianism

Webster’s defines egalitarianism as “a belief in human equality,
especially with respect to social, political and economic rights and
privileges.” Grammatical egalitarianism is the systematic culling of
“offensive” words and phraseology from the English language and the
substitution of innocuous or “preferred” argot, at the expense of clarity,
economy and logic, for the sake of protecting the feelings of real or
imagined “victims” of such offending language.
In
economics, egalitarianism is the philosophical root of antitrust laws and
graduated taxation; in politics, of the welfare state and modern university
admissions standards. If we treat the identification of individuals or of
specific human conditions as “social” elements of some egalitarian ideal, then
grammar has lagged behind economics and politics – until now. Grammatical
egalitarianism would be employed to “catch up” by leveling people’s conceptual
and evaluative criteria, so that by law, etiquette or custom, no person can be
distinguished from another, and to no one’s advantage but the lowest common
denominator’s.
Perhaps
the most troubling aspect of Guidelines is that its contents are not at
all shocking or revolutionary. The “guidelines” contained therein are already a
matter of ubiquitous, if uneven, conformity in business, government and the
news media. In its bibliography are listed more than a dozen other
publications, by university and trade publishers alike, that serve as guides
for “nonsexist” and “bias-free” writing. While this would imply that the AAUP
Task Force’s effort is redundant, perhaps merely a postscript to a culture-wide
phenomenon, it is in fact much more. The welfare state introduced new meanings
to such terms as deprived, disabled, and handicapped. As a
politically correct metathesis, grammatical egalitarianism strives to purge
language of all human distinctions and measures, regardless of their
origin.
To
illustrate the potential influence of Guidelines, imagine that a scholar
whose field of study is American political history has, after years of work,
finally completed his magnum opus on modern political trends. His thesis
is that, with very few exceptions to the rule, the character and capabilities
of political officeholders tend to diminish in direct proportion to the growth
of statism. This scholar’s work is being seriously considered for publication
by a university press. In his manuscript, however, are several statements of
questionable egalitarian taste, one of which, summarizing chapters of dry
commentary and rigorously researched proofs, reads, “Modern politicians are
moral and intellectual midgets, when compared with the moral and intellectual
stature of the Founding Fathers.”
His
editor at the university press might feel compelled to ask the historian to
rewrite that and other allegedly offensive sentences, or to substitute bland
proxies for midget and other red-flagged terms. The scholar cannot use dwarf,
or cripple, or any other term which, either as a simile or a metaphor,
implies a subnormal human condition; yet subnormalcy is the point he wants to
stress and the Founding Fathers are his measure of integrity and intellectual
achievement. He harbors no ill feeling toward or prejudice against midgets,
dwarfs or the handicapped; he was not even conscious of them when he wrote the
sentence. He senses that he had been expected to be conscious of them, but he
dismisses that thought as too fantastic. He consults a dictionary of etymology,
and learns that midget is derived from a variety of long-dead languages, and
that its original meaning was a gnat-like insect or sand fly; that is, the word
existed long before it was modified to name a human condition.
What
can the scholar do? Should he try to rewrite the sentences? Find substitutions?
Remove the sentences altogether? Work out some kind of compromise? Or take a
stand and insist that his words remain unaltered?
The
answer depends on a host of unknowns. If the scholar does not want to risk
reducing his chances for publication – and his career as a historian would
depend on publication – he may not want to take a stand for the sake of a few
words. Furthermore, he cannot know whether his editor is a staunch advocate of
“bias-free” writing; or is indifferent to the issue and so not likely to risk
offending his managing editor and coworkers, who may be advocates; or is a
loner who is contemptuous of “bias-free” writing, but who is certain that he
would be voted down in an editorial meeting.
And
there is always the AAUP in the background, ready to reconsider the status of
recalcitrant members who publish books whose texts “encode prejudice.” If the
editor manages to push through the historian’s “unsanitized” work, the
publisher may be upbraided by the AAUP or subjected to other unknown pressures.
If
the scholar caves in and accommodates the editor and publisher, he sets a
precedent for himself and other publishers and writers. “See? Even the champion
of liberty and enemy of collectivism had the decency to compromise. Why can’t you?”
And if the scholar takes a principled stand against having his work sanitized –
if he does not wish to become an “agent” for a change he does not endorse, if
he does not want to become a “redresser” of mistakes he either does not concede
or had no role in – he will do so with the knowledge that he risks rejection of
his work, for there are other, less troublesome authors willing to be published
under almost any conditions.
This
scenario depicts the conflict faced by an accomplished adult who presumably, in
his formative years, could avail himself of the Oxford English Dictionary,
Roget’s Thesaurus, and Webster’s Synonyms and Antonyms before
large sections of these reference works were X’d out by grammatical
egalitarianism and declared off-limits by his teachers. It is a dilemma in
which many authors might soon find themselves, unless they are fortunate enough
to have courageous publishers willing to place paramount value on an author’s
ideas and competency, and none on his capacity for obsequious thought
orthodoxy.
In
her 1972 essay “The Establishing of an Establishment,” Ayn Rand notes that:
Private cliques have always existed in the intellectual field,
particularly in the arts, but they used to serve as checks and balances on one
another, so that a nonconformist could enter the field and rise without the
help of a clique. Today, the cliques are consolidated into an
Establishment….Rule by unofficially privileged groups spreads a special kind of
fear, like a slow poison injected into the culture. It is not fear of a
specific ruler, but of the unknown power of anonymous cliques, which grows into
a chronic fear of unknown enemies. [1]

The relevance of her remarks as regards grammatical egalitarianism should be
apparent.
The Atomization of Concepts

To atomize a concept for the purpose of destroying or repressing it is
to explode a term into its constituent parts, treat the constituents as wholes
in and of themselves, and finally to inhibit the rediscovery or usage of the
atomized concept with cognitive barriers. Well-known among logicians as a
“reductionist” fallacy, this process repeals the law of Occam’s Razor, which
states that entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity.
Guidelines, which devotes almost
half of its page count to the subject of how to achieve “gender-inclusiveness”
in writing, focuses on the terms he and man. Reading the
recommendations in Guidelines on how to atomize these terms is, at
times, amusing:
“[I]n
subjects and traditions of discourse where he has been universally
employed and men are assumed to be present, it [she] may temporarily
redress the traditional omission of women.”
And:
“Using
words like mankind and man to refer to men and women, while
convenient shorthand, embodies bias and introduces that bias into our
perceptions of history and self. Use of the masculine singular pronoun [he]
to refer to all people is misleading and exclusive.”
Thus,
the concept man must be atomized into numerous phantom concepts which
are never reunited under that term again by their essential attributes.
If
one consults the etymological source of the term he and remembers how it
is used in the generic sense, one will see that it is derived mostly from an
amalgam of Old German and Old English, and has come to be used so that it and
its derivatives, such as his, refer to a person of either gender. The
terms man and men have similar histories, and have been used
accordingly since the Enlightenment.
What
the feminists are really objecting to are these terms’ secondary but
unavoidable masculine connotations. The only answer to their objection is that
the terms he and his and man must refer to some
abstraction, or to some personified image of a human being. And since one of
the attributes of the male gender, virility or potency, has been metaphorically
linked to the physical and mental behavior of the human race, for better or for
worse, the personified image or abstraction naturally defaults to man.
Unless one is willing to settle for a circus freak, or a hermaphrodite, or even
an “it” as an alternative to man or he, there is no other term
that performs the same task.
And
why would the grammatical egalitarians wish to atomize the term man? For
two reasons: First, discarding the term gives them the rationale and precedent
to perform the same vivisection on other, less complex terms; second, the term man
does not include, and certainly does not evoke the image of, any of their pets:
the handicapped, racial minorities, the elderly, homosexuals, or women. The
term man is an ennobling term; it does not admit ciphers who refuse to
poke their heads out of their particular group or tribal shells. The concept is
a reproach to the egalitarians, for they see nothing noble or glorified within
themselves that correlates to the concept, and nothing in the concept that can
be applied to them.
“Insensitivity
to racial and ethnic identities” continues the AAUP position statement, “and to
differences of religion, age, ability, and sexual orientation reinforces the
conscious and unconscious attitudes that allow us too often to reproduce
ignorance.”
Both
in the AAUP position statement, and in Guidelines’ table of contents,
are cited as victims of discrimination, disparagement and injustice almost
every group that has benefited from governmental social or economic
legislation: minorities, women, the elderly, the handicapped, and homosexuals.
However, that grammatical egalitarianism is being sanctioned and promoted by a
quasi-governmental organization is not a fundamental cause of the phenomenon.
Subjectivist art usurped representational art as part of a cultural trend whose
root cause was the disintegration of philosophy. It was private foundations and
a coalescing art Establishment which over decades banished representational art
from parks, museums and business offices. The National Endowment for the Arts
(NEA) did not appear until long after the fact.
Similarly,
objectivity and clarity in language have been under attack from academe for
decades, as ambiguity and imprecision in language gradually became hallmarks of
sophistication and wisdom among the pseudo-intelligentsia. It was only a matter
of time before the sewer lines through which the universities have been spewing
effluvia into the culture themselves became rotted. The proposed
“homogenization” of language by grammatical egalitarianism is merely another
feature of a wider phenomenon, with government nomenclature and subsidies
abetting and accelerating the trend.
Thought Orthodoxy

Thought orthodoxy is not synonymous with thought control. There
is no Federal Board of Language Usage to which publishers must submit their
books and journals to be tested for discriminatory of disparaging language
before they can be put on the market for sale to the public. However, while no official
agency of control exists, there is a kind of interlocking directorate of
semi-public institutions and organizations which accomplishes the same purpose
by presenting a united front against freedom of expression and imposing
orthodoxy on our culture’s intellectual and literary pacesetters.
“Say what you please, we’re not censors!” proclaims the AAUP’s
unspoken credo. “But say it our way, or do not bother to say it.” Short
of overt government repression, I cannot imagine a more insidious form of
thought control than this, which is to thrust independent minds of whatever
professional suasion or degree of ability into a purgatory that is not quite
freedom and not quite slavery.
The goal of the grammatical egalitarians is not to diminish our
range of thought, but to homogenize it. To homogenize the contents of a
mind, however, is to accomplish the same end: unquestioning, knee-jerk
obedience to the authority of orthodoxy. Such a mind may be able to produce a
“sanitized” book without prompting by the czars of goodthink, but it
would never venture to extend its range of thought. Instead of reducing the
number of words available to people in an ever-shrinking Newspeak dictionary
(as described in George Orwell’s novel, Nineteen
Eighty-Four
), Guidelines and its proponents advocate swelling
the number of “value neutral” euphemisms for the ostensible purpose of
preserving the “self-esteem” of the beneficiaries of collectivism and altruism
(and, indirectly, to preserve the “moral” aura of the welfare state by
squelching any incipient criticism of it). [2]

What of young minds? Discussing the issue of reprinting old or classic texts or
collections of historical and literary documents, Guidelines advises
that “Educated readers generally understand that scholarly publishers may not
revise the language in a reprinted text…unless the text is intended for
classroom use in the primary and secondary grades
.” [Emphasis added.] Thus,
an educated adult may be permitted to read unexpurgated, unsanitized reprints,
because he will somehow know better than to be “prejudiced” by whatever
“disparaging” language he may encounter. The minds of children and adolescents,
however, must be homogenized before “encoding” sets in, and so it is
permissible to tamper with old or classic texts.

In the scholar’s case, the cognitive obstacle is fear – fear of recrimination
from unknown powers and influences in the realm of publishing. In the school textbook
case, the cognitive obstacle is engineered ignorance by schools in
concert with the publishers of textbooks – a practice that has been unofficial
policy in public schools for decades.

Ayn Rand concluded her 1972 essay, “Censorship: Local and Express,” with a
dedication to Jefferson’s vow, inscribed in marble above his statue: “I have
sworn…eternal hostility to every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”[3] She
wondered how conservative members of the Supreme Court could bear to look at
the Jefferson Memorial in light of their decisions. In 1996, the grammatical
egalitarians are neither blind to the magnificence of the statue, nor deaf to
the meaning of the words. They would prefer to see the statue and the words
replaced with an NEA-financed androgynous hulk who humbly swears subservient
deference to any random cipher who chances by.

Guidelines reflects almost every collectivist trend that has come to
fruition over the past thirty years: gender conflict, egalitarianism, the
elevation of mediocrity, the indulgence of the irrational as a right, and the
theft of physical and spiritual wealth under the rubric of “social justice.”
The grammatical egalitarians have assigned themselves the task of concealing
the destruction caused by these and other trends behind a wall of words
designed to exclude reason, inquiry and truth. This wall is composed mostly of
euphemistic, concept-destroying argot; lining the top of it is the barbed wire
of envy and the broken glass of malice. The wall will remain intact for as long
as men consider it their altruist duty neither to question its existence, nor
to wonder what it hides, nor to speculate whether it is meant to protect or to
imprison them.

Under the entry “The Aggrandizement of Mediocrity” in Usage
and Abusage
, the late lexicographer and grammarian Eric Partridge
concluded a poignant commentary on the decline of standards in literature, the
arts and language with the observation that
“[a]nyone who believes in civilization must find it difficult to
approve, and impossible to abet, one of the surest means of destroying it. To
degrade language is finally to degrade civilization.” [4]
Had he lived long enough, Partridge might have made the astonished
observation that there exist those who do not believe in civilization, who
approve and abet its destruction, and who are dedicated to diminishing men’s
minds by degrading language as a means of finally degrading civilization, not
by reason of ignorance or ineptitude, but as a conscious, informed policy.

Notes:

1. “The Establishing of an Establishment”, in Philosophy:
Who Needs It
. New York: Signet, 1984. P. 168

2. See Orwell’s “The Principles of Newspeak” in the Appendix following the
conclusion of the novel. While it is a brilliant essay on the methodology of
the deliberate epistemological stunting of minds, there is a distinct
difference in goals between the grammatical egalitarians of today and the
totalitarians of the novel. Ayn Rand rightly remarked that such a society as
Orwell describes could not long survive even as a semi-industrialized one,
chiefly because the minds that could make it function would perish. And, there
is another difference between the grammatical egalitarians’ purpose and that of
the minions of Big Brother, which is that the former wish to impose thought
orthodoxy on everyone, while the latter imposed orthodox thought and language
only on ruling Party members. Rulers who reduced their range of concepts to the
parroting vocabulary of an autistic person would not be able to continue making
and maintaining telescreens, helicopters or any other product of free, thinking
minds, nor would they be able to indefinitely retain their power, as Orwell
suggests such a dictatorship could, regardless of the degree of their
brutality.

3. In Philosophy: Who Needs It, p. 188.

4. “The Aggrandizement of Mediocrity” in Addenda, Usage and Abusage: A Guide
to Good English
, by Eric Partridge. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1947.
Reprinted by Penguin, 1981. P. 379

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4 Comments

  1. blnelson2

    I notice they snuck religion in as one of the groups to whose feelings one might be insensitive – Islam, I presume.

  2. Tim C

    Regarding the opening discussion of the Redskins etc, I am dreading when these retards notice the recently-resurgent (Polaris seems to be doing it right) Indian Motorcycle Company.

  3. Edward Cline

    Chris in Britain said this about the column: Ed, your observation that 'measures of subnormality are not moral judgements' just hit the nail of this issue completely on the head. That is the kernel of this issue in one simple and unanswerable sentence, and it exposes the moral sleight of hand of those who have more or less made it their life's work to make them so. I doff my hat at you, Sir……and will be broadcasting this axiom at every opportunity 🙂 Ps you could have also mentioned Ludwig Van Beethoven in your list, who gleefully carried on composing whilst he was going deaf, or Handel and Schumann who were clearly clinically and chronically depressed, and Winston Churchill, who if reports of his diet are accurate took on the Nazis whilst he was a functioning alcoholic. I guess today there'd be a raft of disempowering acolytes trying to make their ailments more tragic and insurmountable than they would have been had they just found their own ways around them.

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