“It’s the same G-d” —TJK, AP
I have learned more about the formation of the English language in AP lecture than I have in probably my entire career and all my studies of English and foreign language. Last night, for example, I learned that, according to the Associate Press, G-d is G-d, G-d is one. Clearly, this self-evident fact isn’t more or less true because TJK of the Associated Press repeated it in his lecture Thursday night. But there is something profoundly meaningful in this enshrining of fact in AP Style. I haven’t yet quite been able to express why this is so cool, but I’ll attempt to do it here:
In the giant, tumbling bureaucracy that is AP Style, where some of my favorite semantic fight—like Gypsy vs. Roma and Bombay vs. Mumbai—have gone down in recent years, there is little, if anything that is left to chance. The Press regulates down to the upside-down apostrophe when it comes to how English addresses the rest of the world. They also dictate where political correctness begins and ends in the press—of course, you can always write your own style, and most people do, but for the vast majority of press organizations big and tiny, the AP is the gold standard—if you don’t know, go AP Style.
Of course, you’ll probably be pissed off by at least some of the time. The Hispanic vs. Latino is one that really chafes me; others dislike black vs. African American, or Myanmar vs. Burma. I wrote an entire paper on Bombay vs. Mumbai just in 2007 when the change was adopted, a little over the decade after the name change took place. But I believe as recently as the 2008 or 2009 edition, something really magical and Small Worldy and Imagineery has happened. Something deeply humanist that I feel in the darkest corner of my heart to be right has happened in the secret annals of AP Style.
Basically, it goes down like this. Until very recently, the Associated Press translated quotes from speakers in the Muslim world speaking about the Lord as saying “Allah”—as in, “if it is the will of Allah,” etc. Now, the rule says G-d is G-d, and should be translated as such. The translation of the preceding sentence would now be “if it is the will of G-d.”
The repercussions of this decision are profound. It is, in essence, a statement by one of largest volume producers of the written English language, which is in the top five most widely spoken languages in the world, that we all worship the same G-d. That we are all, in essence, the same. How fucking beautiful is that?