Language reform

Really, there is something faintly disgusting about all the serious newspapers talking about bin Laden’s three “widows.” For one thing – three? Three widows? If there are three, they’re not “widows” in the usual sense of the word. It’s too much “respect” for polygamy to call them widows (or wives) – you need different words for a system in which men can have lots while women can have no more than a fraction of one.

For another thing – widows? That assumes they were genuine wives first, having been genuinely married. In fact, from what I’ve read, at least one of them was simply given to him by her father or some other Important man, like a bottle of vodka.

Come on. These women weren’t wives or widows, they were slaves.

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