Most readers here know that I view most of modern culture as being driven by a mad ultra-left, ultra-radical progressivist agenda that is waging war on any manifestation of our humanity, be it our masculinity, femininity, the old, the young, the unborn, the disabled, a child's innocence or an elderly person's experience and wisdom, and that this war against the human extends to language itself. The "gender inclusive" fad here is, to my mind anyway, one of the most egregious examples, as the three letters "Man" has to be banned, as if somehow, magically, they imply the exclusion of women. We've all seen how "mankind" disappeared, and 'humankind" entered the vocabularly. Even the garish expression "s/he" is no longer gender neutral enough for some people, and perish the thought that one use "he" or "she" as an old rhetorical pars pro toto pronoun! Sexuality has been reduced to "gender"; we no longer see "sex, male or female" on forms, we see "gender", doubtless with "None of the above" being one of the checkable boxes soon to appear. Now some thought police want to banish "husband" and "wife":
What is at stake here, I submit, is not only an effort to make free speech and academic freedom a thing of the past - and these students should rigorously insist on their right to use what words and pronouns they want to use, or insist on "balancing courses" that require older forms of diction in the name of "fairness" - the real goal is to cut us off from the traditions of our culture, and hence, from our culture itself. The real goal is the free editting of texts by self-appointed thought police and culture police. It's about the uglification of culture, and hence, about more dehumanization.
Imagine the "updating" process applied to, say, Cardinal Wolsey's soliloquy from Shakespeare's Henry VIII(one of my favorites, incidentally). The original is eloquence and elagance itself:
Farewell, a long farewell to all my greatness! This is the state of man: Today he puts forth the tender leaves of hope; tomorrow blossoms, and bears his blushing honours thick upon him; The third day comes a frost, a killing frost, And - when he thinks, good easy man, full surely His greatness is a-ripening, - nips his root, And then he falls as I do. I have ventured like little wanton boys that swim on bladders This many summers in a sea of glory...(Henry VIII, Act III, Scene II)
And so on.
If we're going to be strictly "fair", we must edit and update all such texts, not just excise "husband and wife" from our speech and writing. I propose an updated, gender neutral Shakespeare, in which the good Cardinal Wolsey's soliloquy(to be played by an acting person who represents as much inclusivity as possible),might read like something along the following lines:
Good riddance to all my perks and bonuses. This is what humankind is: today s/he (or it) plants a garden with young plants meant to symbolize hope, and they flower and bloom sometime in the future under normal conditions, and these cause her/him to become too comfortable in his/her sense of privilege and class. Eventually, the weather becomes bitter cold and kills all those plants, and thus the weather symbolizes changing circumstances and the dead plants symbolize the end of her/his privilieged status, but s/he continued on as before, oblivious to climate change, in a manner similar to young children swimming in a pool that represents their privilieged status, on various kinds of flotation devices, thinking that everything is A-OK, but they return home to their garden and find all their plants are dead. And then they have a life-crisis, like I'm having now...(The 21st Century Shakespeare, Henry/Henryetta VIII, Act III, Scene II)
Of course, it will be some time before we knock some gender-neutral sense into that hideously patriarchal poetry of the bard from Stratford on Avon, or whoever s/he was, but if we get right on it, I'm sure that before the century closes we can all relax with uplifted, non-patriarchal, gender neutral" consciousnesses and with productions of Henry/Henryetta VIII. I nominate the professor from the University of Florida for the job. I'm sure s/he'll do fine, and in the meantime, won't infect any more students with his/her claptrap.
See you on the flip side...