Apex point - © Robert Sommers 2024

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Butchered Pronouns

First the boilerplate. 

Although all humans, or honest humans anyway, admit to certain prejudices, I try to keep mine to a minimum. People have a right to a free and peaceful life, no matter who they choose to love and regardless of the shade of melanin they were conferred with at birth.


I was reading HuffPo this morning and I got stopped by this article. I don't know why I even stopped to read it, pretty girl I suppose?  

HuffPo is full of these sorts of stupid Millennial, Gen X, Y, Z stories, honestly I am so old I can't even tell anything post boomer apart.

But there was something cumbersome about the subheading that made me read the text of the article. 

Here are the first two paragraphs.

Alyson Stoner recently discussed an “uncomfortable” kissing moment they experienced as a preteen actor on Disney’s “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.”

During an Aug. 18 episode of their podcast “Dear Hollywood,” Stoner, now 30, reflected on the time they learned that the script for an episode of ‘The Suite Life’ had their character, Max, kiss both twins, Cody and Zack (played by real-life twin actor brothers Cole and Dylan Sprouse, respectively).

Well, voila! I figured it out. It was the word they. I'm old and slow but Alyson is non binary. What does that mean? Let's go to the dictionary:

Non-binary people may identify as an intermediate or separate third gender, identify with more than one gender, no gender, or have a fluctuating gender identity. Gender identity is separate from sexual or romantic orientation: non-binary people have various sexual orientations.

Let me put my cards on the table. I have at least one and maybe two "non binary" nieces and nephews at the moment, I can't quite keep count.  Love them but we don't talk much. You might say things are fluid. And they are entitled to whatever gender identity "they" might have this month.

But I resent the theft and butchering of the English language. The He/She/They thing is so fatuous and contrived. The pronoun "they" has represented a plural in our language for about 1500 years, since Anglo Saxons arrived in Britain from Germany in the Fifth century. Ditto the earlier Latin antecedents.

And now all of a sudden it is being co-opted to describe a single individual? I could see it for multi personality disorder or one of those disassociation illnesses but even that is a stretch. But now, the excessively woke have commandeered a perfectly good pronoun and essentially dismembered it. The deed is done and we acceded and let them steal it without a shot being fired.

I hate to sound like the "get off my lawn" crotchety old guy but I look at this sort of behavior as mostly shock value and a way to traumatize your parents and elders, like big mohawks and safety pins in the Sex Pistols period. 

Gender bending appears to be the flavor du jour for today's maladjusted youth,

They just don't get it. Most of us don't give a fuck. Do what you want to do, sleep with whomever you want to, just leave us alone.

Call me old fashioned but I personally still think that your sex is defined by X's and Y's. Shave your Adam's apple, cut off your Johnson, add a store bought Johnson, unless you are one of the minuscule .5% of the population with a clinically verifiable intersex variation, I believe that the trans phenomenon is largely self delusion, if the switchee honestly thinks they are changing their sex. But hey, be comfortable.

I have discussed this with gay friends, many feel the same way but don't have the balls (excuse the expression) to voice it out loud.

I usually get a lecture like this: 

Robert, you are confusing biology with gender identification or orientation and they are two different things completely. 

From the APA

Sex is assigned at birth, refers to one’s biological status as either male or female, and is associated primarily with physical attributes such as chromosomes, hormone prevalence, and external and internal anatomy. Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for boys and men or girls and women. These influence the ways that people act, interact, and feel about themselves. While aspects of biological sex are similar across different cultures, aspects of gender may differ.

Fine. You can identify as the Trix Rabbit for all I care, or a grapefruit, does that make you one? X's and Y's don't lie. I'm not going to run this topic into the ground any more than I have. I just find this "they" shit when there is one person around as tedious as people blaring misogynist rap music with their windows down or non Maori people getting tattoos on their faces.

Why the sudden need to proclaim your gender identity and confusion to the rest of us? Is this really necessary? Did we have to change the English lexicon for this?

The old pronoun language has operated very nicely and
serviceably for a really long time, probably since we humans started using our opposable thumbs back on the African veldt. 

Dress like the opposite sex, alter your machinery, do whatever you want to do but do us all a favor and back off on the pronouns


Blue Heron said...

Thank you Robert for having the balls to write about this.
As a student of the English language, it bothers me too!!
I really, truly don’t give a shit how someone identifies… or loves… live and let live.
They are free to do so - as long as it’s consensual.
However, no one will ever be able to stop my mind from going to “Sybil” if he or she identifies as “they.”


Unknown said...

You expressed my opinion about a single person wanting to be called "they" perfectly! I didn't think I could comment here unless I know you personally, which I don't, and I don't remember who gave me the link to this blog a few years ago, but in case you get this, I enjoy it very much. Thank you!

Blue Heron said...

Glad you commented. You don't have to know me, I just ask people that write nasty anonymous comments to sign their name. Yours is not.

Blue Heron said...

A gay friend sent me this comment - Love the new blue heron last blast-off. Thanks. T

Jeff Nichols said...

I am 100% with you on the pronouns, Robert. I'm not throwing away 60 years of learning English just so some self-absorbed folks can be referred to as "they" or "them". It's a selfish, "it's all about me" move on their part.

xoxnic said...

I teach at an art school, which has been the leading edge in this particular cultural shift. All I can say is "relax people, it does become second nature. Don't be so cranky." I'm happy to call anyone whatever they so desire. Even in this day and age, coming out as anything is bloody difficult and takes a lot of courage. The first time I walked down the street with a trans friend it was on Main Street in Santa Monica in the 90s and everyone who passed us felt perfectly comfortable expressing out loud whatever ignorant thoughts about my friend was running through their thick head. I realized on that walk how much courage it takes to live that truth. Maybe a little more compassion for someone making these hard choices. No one does it on a whim or as fashion. To honor that courage, I'm fine giving them their "them."

Blue Heron said...

Thanks for the input, Nicole. I appreciate your compassion, I am a grouchy old man.