Saturday, December 5, 2020
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This ignorant pronoun pronouncement

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MY mother grew up in Europe and came to America, legally, in the early 1970s. She never became a full citizen (she died in the 80s), so her official status was ‘legal alien’. As a child, I jokingly used to refer to her as an ‘alien’, and we’d share a laugh. What my mother didn’t appreciate was when I would refer to her as ‘she’ when we were together in the same room. Her response would often be, ‘Who’s she? The cat’s mother?’ Older readers will likely know the lesson: she was my mom and I knew her name, unlike a stray cat’s mother whose name was unknown. Simply put, it is bad manners to refer to someone in the third person when said person is present.

It seems that this lesson has been lost on, or was never taught to, the members and cheerleaders of the LGBTQetc crowd, given that they go on and on about which pronouns one should use when referring to them. I regularly see (especially in the non-profit world) people placing their ‘preferred pronouns’ in their email signatures. Just below their name, they’ll have typed ‘she/her’ or ‘zie/zir’ or some other bizarre string of letters.

What is it they are asking (commanding?) us to do? To me, someone who knows and respects the lesson of ‘She the Cat’s Mother’, all I hear is, ‘when you are talking about me behind my back, I’d like you to refer to me with these pronouns’ because that is the only time I would refer to someone in the third person. But what if I slip up and refer to the guy who thinks he’s a girl as ‘he’? Are my co-workers expected to turn me in to the pronoun police? And if one does, what will my punishment be?

And what about the pronoun pronouncers themselves? By complying with the ‘progressive’ commissars’ rules, they think they’re signalling their virtue, but really all they are doing is illustrating their ignorance.

Recent studies estimate that the transgender population hovers around half of one per cent, yet it seems as if everyone is toeing the pronoun party line (at least here in NYC it does). This is the dumbing down of society to make a tiny minority feel better about themselves, and a topsy-turvy world in which bad manners trump decency.

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Thomas Lane
Thomas Lane is a writer who lives and works in New York City.

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