Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Stop Making Fun of Its Pronouns


In a better world we would have long since seen the absurdity of the notion. Which notion might that be? It would be the notion that each human being has a right to declare his or her or its or their own pronouns.

As reported recently, even a venerable bank like Goldman Sachs has adopted this practice. Clearly, this is a sign of a civilization in decline.

Someone named Kat Jercich writes in the Washington Post that he, she (or it) is being seriously traumatized by the wave of ridicule that is washing over those who declare themselves to have the right to impose their own pronominal usage on their friends and neighbors.

She explains:

This ham-handed approach appears to transcend political affiliation. Ricky Gervais, who has made no secret of his disdain for so-called politically correct culture, has claimed that his pronouns are “it” and “he he” — because he’s a comedian, get it? At a recent conference I attended, one panelist identified her pronoun as “boss,” to the delight of most of the packed room. Enough people, whether they’re seemingly well-meaning or trolly, have indulged in this behavior that it has become a meme: Bisexual actor Joshua Rush tweeted in October that saying “my pronouns are attack helicopter” is one of “like three jokes” homophobes and transphobes rely on.

Strictly speaking, these comedians are not making fun of specific individuals. They are casting ridicule on the notion that certain people have the right to dictate language usage. They ought to know that language usage is a free market. And that the market, not a bunch of psycho overlords, makes the final decision.

They actually believe that language was invented to express what you have deep inside… in this case, what you have under your clothes. Oops. Not exactly. They do not want language usage to reflect anything about your genitalia. They want it to express your own beliefs about what you are. Because, being male or female is just a state of mind. Change your mind and you can change your gender. In rank defiance of biological reality.

So, the non-binary crowd wants to impose its own beliefs on other people. It wants to force everyone to see them as they believe themselves to be. If they have a male or female appearance one is not allowed to take that into account when choosing which pronouns to use in their presence.

Because it makes people feel uncomfortable. You would think that they would feel uncomfortable pretending to be something they are not. You would think that they would feel uncomfortable negating their biology, whether by adopting a deceptive appearance or by undergoing hormone treatments.

In the first case people will naturally believe that the gender non-conforming are fraudulently trying to take control of other peoples’ minds. Do they honestly believe that the the negative effects of hormone treatments will feel etter if people refer to them as: zir or zod.

Obviously, Jercich does not know how to think either. Note the following constatation. She imagines that our society is somehow special for equating appearance with gender identity. Seriously. Name one society, one community, one culture in the history of the human race that does not equate gender with appearance. And besides, did you notice the other piece of stupidity. It’s not about appearance. It’s about genetics. The human body contains billions of chromosomes. In all but a handful of cases they are either XX or XY. They do not change because a man puts on a bra or a woman sports a codpiece. Or because anyone has chosen to defy reality.

Allow Jercich her pretense at thinking:

In a society that frequently equates appearance with gender identity, it can be comforting for those who identify differently to push back against those assumptions, and it’s affirming to know that others are at least making an effort to do the same. Which is why it’s increasingly common, especially in spaces trying to demonstrate LGBTQ friendliness, to have people declare their pronouns upon introduction or in their email signatures: My name is Kat, I live in Chicago, and I use she or they pronouns.

Sadly, the nonsense about pronouns is moving through society:

Avinash Chak reported for the BBC in 2015 that “sharing one’s pronouns and asking for others’ pronouns when making introductions is a growing trend in US colleges.” Chak noted that the University of Vermont, “which has led this movement,” began asking students to self-report their pronouns in 2009. In job settings, too, more companies have made stating one’s pronouns a regular part of introductions. The employee analytics platform Culture Amp, which says it works with more than 2,500 organizations, advises workplaces to encourage employees to share pronouns in icebreakers; an NPR article recently did the same. Uber’s internal employee profile pages list their users’ pronouns.

Imagine the scene. Half a dozen people are attending a dinner party. If you are among their company you will need to recall the preferred pronouns of each guest and will need to remember to use them correctly in all of your verbal offerings.

Is it not obvious to anyone with an ounce of sense that this merely adds stress to the ritual? Is it not obvious that people will solve the problem by avoiding social contact with anyone who tries to force his or her or its or their beliefs on their friends.

Anyway, Jercich insists that those who ridicule such believers are hurting their feelings. 

In these contexts, there is no need to be cute or funny; don’t say your pronouns are “princess” and “in charge.” You may get a laugh, but is the cost — the alienation, discomfort or frustration of vulnerable people — worth it? A cisgender person who claims that their pronouns are “dance mom” and “brat” is suggesting that they are not interested in how fraught this matter can be for trans and non-binary people.

Has it not crossed her mind that pretending to be something she is not, attempting to impose her beliefs on other people… is causing this discomfort.

Naturally, Jercich ends with the absurd notion that when you are trying to impose your beliefs on other people you merely want them to see you as you are:

Those of us who make a point of identifying our pronouns often want to make sure that others see us as we are. Having my gender interpreted incorrectly makes me feel panicky, like trying on a sweater that’s too tight around the neck in a crowded store. Others have said it makes them feel stigmatized, lonely, dysphoric, depressed or threatened. It’s not appropriate for people who aren’t in danger of being fired, evicted or even murdered for their gender identity to decide that pronouns are a joking matter.

I would simply add that forcing everyone to modify language usage is not a good way to make friends and to influence people. Thinking that you can define correct and incorrect usage manifests hubris. This story is not going to end well.

5 comments:

J said...

Stuart and company, any suggestions on how to handle a situation where someone introduces themselves and also shares their preferred pronouns? This has happened to me a couple times and I have just politely ignored it, but I'm beginning to wonder if a more direct approach is in order.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

I believe that polite is best. I do not see any reason to respond with one's own preferred pronouns. Polite is better than provoking a confrontation... from which no good can emerge. I would be interested in hearing what other people think.

Anonymous said...

It's obviously been weaponized, and is designed to provoke a confrontation.

I like the writer's use of "vulnerable" in the quote in the original post above.
An armed person is generally not considered "vulnerable".

- shoe

UbuMaccabee said...

It's a ruse designed to get you doxxed and fired, plain and simple. The left works by playing victim and anyone who is normal gets identified as a hater and a then gets attacked--usually by destroying your business or targeting your employer. You slip up at a party, not even work related, and the next thing you know you are in your HR department while they play an audio tape of you telling the crybully that you don't recognize pronounds except "he and she". You will now be made to confess, go to rehab, and are on the permanent hit list at work. Such lovely people.

That's if you have something to lose. And most people do. The advantage of being poor (or financially untouchable) is you don't have to be polite if you do not want to be. But this is not really about being polite, it's an insidious demand to buy into a big fat lie disguised as being polite. Polite isn't the right word: circumspect is. You are saying nothing because the drama queen is looking for drama and the best drama is getting you fired. Or, you could try plan C:

Been there; they tried to list me as a hater at work--until I outed myself as a cocksucker and joined the velvet mafia. True story. They never saw that coming. My wife joined in and sold the deal. Now I free to self-identify all I want and any way I want. I'm "B" and "Q" and whatever else I demand you call me. I even started a alphabet group at my location that didn't exist before; it even gives me cover to pay a visit to the local leather bar once in a while and get some pictures with the boys. One handjob and you're good to go, just don't get it on my wool pants. Now, I get to determine who is a hater and who is not, and I get to walk around in little shorts in public.

Anonymous said...

isn't bolshevism wonderful? ^^^

didnt dalrymple say it wasn't the gov't lies, so much as getting the people themselves to repeat the lies??