So “they” as a singular personal pronoun to refer to people who don’t identify as either male or female, we’re calling them non-binary at the moment, was added to Webster’s dictionary this week. Not thst that matters much. The OED is still where it’s at. As any proper English Major will gladly tell you. Webster’s has always been for the scrabble playing mainstreamers and not the intellectual ivory tower set. But still. It’s official.
So yeah. Wow. There it is. It prompted an engaging exchange between me and our youngest girl this evening. She prides herself on being “woke” and is giddily willing to correct anything or anyone she notices might be the least bit politically incorrect. As any of us would and did in our early 20s. Although I remember the focus being more on what was cool or uncool. Not politically correct or incorrect. Perhaps it’s just the label that’s changed.
About “woke” for a moment. At first it’s easy to dismiss it as the Millennial’s and Generation Z’s version of being enlightened. They’ve just decided for whatever reason to stop using proper English. But upon further examination it does seem like there’s more to it. Whereas when we were in our 20s and life itself was dedicated to becoming enlightened, yes it was certainly about righting the wrongs of the world and correcting all the mistakes of the past and saving the planet and fighting for equality for all people, but it was also about the personal journey toward enlightenment. To connection with the Divine and self mastery. Woke seems a lot more focused on being politically correct. In an almost militant fashion. And enforcing political correctness. Less about enlightenment or connecting with the Divine Source of All That Is and more about political correctness. The problem of course is who determines what is politically correct? It’s tricky.
I still think, and forgive me for saying this, there will be a small group of us who will still use the terms he and she to refer to the person’s actual gender. Nor because we’re trying to be rude or mean or insulting. But just because that’s who we see. And we may never be comfortable calling someone they or them. But don’t worry, we’ll die off in another 40 or 50 years. So it won’t last forever.
We’ll probably also still use terms like gay and retarded in jest or in our humor. I saw Seinfeld and Bill Maher recently discussing it together. Alec Baldwin was there too. And they were hilarious. Absolutely refuse to give those terms up. I just think it’s an age thing.
They / we don’t actually use those terms in a derogatory fashion. More like when were goofing off with our friends. BUT I recently discussed it with my college boys over text. They were torn. They said we can do it amongst ourselves but not publicly. And then Matt sent us this hilarious clip of a Louis CK episode where it’s all about the word fag and where it comes from and it was actually very sad. But then he made a joke of it in the show. Slagged it off. We all agreed that word is off limits. I don’t know… just talking while thinking out loud I guess. It’s hard. Maybe it’s always hard for older generations. Like maybe WE made it hard for baby boomers. ??? Didn’t seem like it though.
It does make me think though. I mean Ali is gay. Or whatever we’re supposed to call it. And you’re whatever we’re supposed to call it. I mean honestly part of the problem is I think — and this is coming from someone who has always been way way ahead of the curve for 40 years — that things are moving so vast and so violently, radically that most people aren’t even sure what to call things in today’s world. Or tomorrow’s. They try… to keep up… but the next day everything’s changed again anyway… and of course there’s the issue of just feeling like we’ve gone way over the PC edge. Feels like a fad now. Especially if you’re a straight white christian male. You’re proper fucked. It’s an actual thing. An illness they’ve identified. Suicides and alcoholism and all this sad stuff due to their not having a “group” to belong to. Which is really fucking ironic when you think about it. Hah! But in reality it’s true.
As a straight white christian (not Jewish or Muslim) male I can honestly say it would be really nice to have just one fucking advocacy group to represent us or stand up for us or defend us in court cases or advocate for us when we have problems etc. It’s not like being Jewish or black or Hispanic or gay. There’s no help group to go to. No ACLU or ADL or NAACP etc. And at the same we’re incessantly vilified privately and publicly. So much so that we try to pretend in our own minds that we AREN’T that. But then we realize that we’re just kidding ourselves. We really are straight white non-Jewish/Muslim males. And we recognize internally at least that the last 2500 years have been royally fucked primarily by us. Or straight brown Muslim males. But still. It’s a HUGE source of self abasement and guilt to hang on to. Combined with the loneliness of not having any advocacy groups and the public lashing…
I think we cling to these comfort zones of the few fun politically incorrect things we have left in life, like calling each other gay or retarded. It’s pretty dumb. Admittedly. And yet….
fascinating to think about.
Hey I just wrote a freaking Transcendence Diaries post to you! Sheesh. Sorry about that. But I do want you to understand me. And maybe your dad and others. At least me. I love you and would never intentionally want to hurt you.