Friday, December 27, 2019

What Happens When You Use Incongruous Pronouns

I don’t know who Barra Kerr is. I cannot find a profile or even an internet presence. Google only  knows her, I assume Kerr is a she, by an article entitled: “Pronouns Are Rohypnol.” I am assuming that the name is a pseudonym... because she is expressing some seriously politically incorrect thoughts... thoughts that might cost her a job.

The article appeared on Mumsnet and then on Medium. It was promptly removed for being prejudicial against those who insist on imposing their own pronouns on the population. 

The analogy in the title is obviously excessive. Rohypnol is a date rape drug. Kerr is arguing that using incongruent pronouns alters our perceptions, dulls our emotions, and distorts our ability to deal with reality.

Take this example, my own concoction. How do you respond when you read this sentence:

He was chasing her down the street.

And then, try this sentence.

She was chasing him down the street.

If you are still with me, try this mind numbing modern variation.

They were chasing them down the street.

Or else, if “they” is now a singular pronoun, perhaps we should say:

They was chasing them down the street.

Evidently, in the first sentence we imagine a woman being threatened by a man. Women who read the sentence will feel an emotional reaction to danger and will want to flee it. If the pronouns are degendered, Barra says, a woman will tend to ignore the danger to herself. The human female mind has evolved to be sensitive to real dangers in the world. Using certain pronouns to describe certain situations is part of the adaptation.

In the second sentence, when she is chasing him down the street, we do not assume that he is in danger. We assume that she is seriously angry with him, and perhaps that she wants to have a conversation with a man who is running away from her, and perhaps from his responsibilities.

In the third sentence, when they are chasing them down the street, we picture something like a gang war, a group of men chasing another group of men, with nothing good in mind. We see a dangerous situation, one that we will be more likely to ignore than to join. Though if we are young and male we might well want to join the fight or to protect the victims.

The fourth sentence is functionally illiterate, so it is best ignored.

Anyway, Barra emphasizes what happens when you override your sense of reality in order to mislabel someone with what she calls incongruent pronouns:

Forcing our brains to ignore the evidence of our eyes, to ignore a conflict between what we see and know to be true, and what we are expected to say, affects us.

USING preferred pronouns does the same. It alters your attention, your speed of processing, your automaticity. You may find it makes you anxious. You pay less heed to what you want to say, and more to what is expected of you. It slows you down, confuses you, makes you less reactive. That’s not a good thing.

So, it slows down your mind and confuses you. Thus, it inhibits your mental functioning.

She continues:

They dull your defences. They change your inhibitions. They’re meant to. You’ve had a lifetime’s experience learning to be alert to ‘him’ and relax to ‘her’. For good reason. This instinctive response keeps you safe. It’s not even a conscious thing. It’s like your hairs standing on end. Your subconscious brain is helping you not get eaten by the sabre tooth tiger that your eyes haven’t noticed yet.’

Fair enough, we are often more alert to danger instinctively than we are consciously. Thus, we are obliged, when we feel dread to take a minute and to evaluate the situation, to identify the source of the danger and to develop a plan for dealing with it. If we do not recognize the danger because we are accustomed first to ask whether we are using bigoted language... we might be lost.

She continues that forcing people to use incongruent pronouns makes them mentally dysfunctional:

Incongruent pronouns also make your brain work much harder; not just when you are using them, but when you are receiving them as information. You are working constantly to keep that story straight in your head. Male or female? Which one, again? Concentrate harder. Ignore your instincts, ignore your reaction.

She concludes:

They change our perception, lower our defences, make us react differently, alter the reality in front of us.

They’re meant to. They numb us.

They confuse us. They remove our instinctive safety responses.

They work.

Whether this makes them a date rape drug requires something of a stretch. This does not obviate the fact that Barra has seen clearly that this seemingly innocuous practice is damaging, because it warps our sense of reality.

One might add that incongruous pronouns are like passwords, identifying us as members of a woke cult.


UbuMaccabee said...

If she means that adopting the use of idiotic person pronouns turns you into a mongoloid, well, yes, it does. It also helps me sort out who is normal and who is retarded (nice to see “retarded” is still in the dictionary). That volunteered information comes in handy to fairly shun people at work. You cannot have thought control unless you first control the language.

n.n said...

Political congruence ("=") is a first-order forcing of [catastrophic] [anthropogenic] climate change. The State-established religion: "Pro-Choice", selective, opportunistic, with a Twilight faith ("penumbras and emanations"), and liberal ideology, is an ancient Chamber that defers to mortal gods. Let us bray.

UbuMaccabee said...

n.n., Alfred Jarry could not have put it better himself. Exactly right.

UbuMaccabee said...

Jabrwok, I arrange it like this:

Sleep leads to lying and lying leads to evil. The first step is the diminishment of human consciousness, and in that degraded condition, lying replaces truth. The lying multiplies and multiplies exponentially, supporting and buttressing more elaborate lies. Lying habitually about everything further degrades human consciousness and deepens the propensity to lie. The habitual lying over time engenders evil, and people butcher and enslave one another over the defense of the lies.

Dalrymple is describing the combination of perversity and sadism that men engage in by compelling men to admit to lies even when they both know they are lies. The lying is well described by Czeslaw Milosz in "The Captive Mind." A now-forgotten classic on the subject.

If man were a zoological type, he'd be called "the lying animal." Ouspensky

Patrob said...

It made sense to me. You've left out the first part with the cognitive tests
and attempted to ridicule it. Bits better people read the article for themselves and make up their mind. I tend to agree with her. But then I'm a woman conscious that men are being allowed to be incarcerated in female ou raisons because they use she/ her. That's the rohypnol effect

Patrob said...

Several typos there but I hope it's clear enough.