Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Being required to volunteer

As George Orwell pointed out long ago, the English language is under siege, and it is up to us to fend for it.

(Among his many alerts was "Animal Farm's" "All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.")

The signs are everywhere.

The next time a store offers you a “free gift” take it on yourself to ask the clerk whether the store is also offering gifts that aren't free.

Or consider “recall back” or “foresee ahead.” Leave it at “recall” and foresee.” Likewise “past memories” and “future predictions.”

This is all by way of introduction to Renee Mitchell’s column in today’s Oregonian.

Although the column tells me a bit more about Renee’s domestic life than I want to know, the column makes a good point about the need for men to get more involved in the lives of their young sons.

The sticking point for me came in this sentence about Detroit schools: “Parents are required to volunteer at least 16 hours each quarter.”

“Required to volunteer”?


Volunteers, by definition, aren’t required to do anything. That’s why they are called “volunteers.”

If I’m not mistaken, someone who is “required to volunteer” is called a slave.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home