Re: Evolving language or laziness?

Subject: Re: Evolving language or laziness?
From: Tim Altom <taltom -at- IQUEST -dot- NET>
Date: Fri, 15 Mar 1996 07:40:00 EST

At 10:03 AM 3/14/96 EST, you wrote:

>I favor using their/them/they and so on as singular. And I think Colleen
>is touching on the basis for my reasoning.

>In a male-dominated society and language, the effect of male-oriented
>verbage on the female perspective is beyond mens' comprehension because,
>simply, it doesn't apply to them. Yes, it's ego to an extent, but more
>accurately it's perspective.

I believe you have cause and effect mixed up with the existence of a matrix.
Just because it rains just before dawn doesn't lead inevitably to the
conclusion that the rain causes the dawn. Male pronouns as indefinites don't
cause or encourage sexism. They're merely part and parcel of the landscape.
I'm merely saying that making a concerted effort to shatter the glass
ceiling is laudable and should be attempted, even in the teeth of repression
and resistance. But nowadays it isn't just the glass ceiling that we're
supposed to feel guilty about, it's language that makes the female FEEL bad
about the ceiling. Sorry. That's where I stop. It's all too easy to target
BS like that and be sidetracked from major issues like maternity leave,
child care and equal pay. There are more than enough fights out there if you
want to pitch in and help. For me, the arguments about masculine indefinite
pronouns should come way, way, way down the list, suited only for late-night

>In many respects, this is analogous to Plato's allegory of the cave. The
>person who is led out of the cave, upon seeing more than a world of shadows,
>will never want to go back to the cave. But also, they will be convinced
>that the others still in the cave should also be led out. Yet those others
>would surely kill that person than be brought away from what they have always
>believed as the truth.

Read Plato again. He was writing about philosophy, not linguistics. He was
saying that the philosopher will be killed before saving the wretches in the
cave, not that the politically correct are persecuted. He was referring to
people like Socrates, not like Colleen.

>Tim Altom is in the cave, and surely he would prefer Colleen dead than
>consider that the truth is something other than the shadows he's been
>seeing on the wall all his life.

>Come on out of the cave, Tim. There really *is* a truth out here. And
>it isn't merely in the name of "policital correctness" or "feminism." It's
>a truth in the name of "fair play," "equality," "equal opportunity,"
>"inclusion." And, it's to everyone's--meaning society's--benefit that
>women be involved in the conversations that have been for so long male-only.
>(My skepticism: seeing that I'm with Colleen on this point, Tim will surely
>prefer me dead, too, than consider this slight, albeit significant, change.)

I'm truly puzzled about the death references. Why would I want anybody dead?

Tim Altom
Vice President
Simply Written, Inc.
317.899.5882 (voice)
317.899.5987 (fax)

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