A Passion For Control

A friend’s company has sent out an order for people to declare his pronouns in his signature line….

So there was a discussion about this. And neither of us can understand it. Because you know, the only time you use someone’s pronouns is when the person is being talked about in the third person.

(And don’t get me started on they/them: I want you to refer to me in the most generic terms possible, and as though I had multiple personalities. It’s…. cute is a word for it. Mentally defective is another. But mostly it’s lazy and imitative.)

This suddenly made sense in my head and in only one way: these are people who are…. well, terrified of everything they can’t control.

They probably know they’re a bit insane and maybe ridiculous. They’re afraid you’ve noticed. And they’re afraid you’ll talk about them behind their back. So they’re trying to control how you talk about them.

As someone who grew up in a village (do they still think “it takes a village” is a good thing?) I can tell them they have absolutely no control over this. Even if they make it a law you have to call them by the pronouns they insist you use, people will talk: in their houses, in their cars, while walking down the street, in letters, etc. And they will call you whatever they please. “That asshole” might be the lightest you get away with if you mandate they use pronouns. “They them asshole” might be part of it. AND THERE IS NO GOVERNMENT however totalitarian that has ever stopped people talking, or worse people laughing at things that are ridiculous. if you don’t believe me, look up Soviet Humor. Heck, people could use the exact words you want and raise an eyebrow to make other people dissolve in laughter.
What are you going to do about that?

In fact “trying to control” is the bog standard definition of the current left. They (/them) might think of themselves as bold revolutionaries, striking one for the oppressed and saving the world from paternalistic male oppression or whatever, but they’re really fragile souls living with the fear that somehow, somewhere, someone is doing something they disapprove of.

From economics to literature, from art to fiction, from news reporting to well…. everything, including what you say in the privacy of your own home, these people have a complete passion for control.

You must all be sock puppets doing precisely what they tell you to, nothing more, nothing less. JUST what they do.

One gets the feeling that they either were never told no as a kid, and have the ego’s illusion that the entire world is under their control/and or are terrified it isn’t or they never outgrew playing dolls, and want to make the voices for everyone else.

I want to assure them that even in the old village, as small as it as was, you couldn’t stop outright lies being told. The best I could do was make them interesting. So I would put in fake hints about what was going on to make it more interesting. And then they’d propagate that — often insane — version.

They can’t control us. This is a fight they can’t win. However, they can make it very unpleasant for us while they’re trying it.

And unfortunately the only way we can avoid a full butcher’s bill is to make them realize they are alone and they’re not winning this. And to make them realize that we need to pierce their cultish self-delusion.

You know what that means, right?

On the count of three, everyone point and laugh.

212 thoughts on “A Passion For Control

  1. Sometimes the appropriate pointing finger is the one between the index and the ring finger …
    that finger has a certain meaning …
    what is it again?

  2. To the tune of “The Wellerman”:

    I told them the truth/
    The exacting truth/
    Not a word was said/
    That was not true/
    And what they assume/
    From what I said/
    Is none of my concern!

    (Soon may the Wellerman come, to bring us sugar and tea and rum

  3. At Pennsic last year, someone I knew was wearing a little pyrographed wooden badge with his pronouns….burned in wood to make it, “period.” No, you just can’t make this crap up.
    But, given the absolute wreck he and his lady had made of their lives in the Society trying to be proper, “allies in the most serious civil rights issue of Our Times,” I wouldn’t have found it in me to laugh. I feel rather sorry for him.

    1. Last time we made it to the Ren fair in Maryland there were a couple of folks who had little notecards on what they were supposed to be, including sex if it wasn’t obvious. There’s a big character difference between a female lone merchant and a male one, and they were LARPing pretty hard.

      I wonder if that’s what they were borrowing off of….

      1. Just curious… Is the Ren fair the same as the Renaissance Festival, the one the hold (held?) in Crownsville? We lived about 2-3 miles from there until ’07.

          1. That’s the one; thanks! We went every year; good to see it’s still there.

            There’s one just east of Phoenix, but a Renaissance Festival in the desert just doesn’t cut it for us, even if it is in cooler weather.

    2. One of the clerks at the medical clinic had her pronouns on a tag. Once. Even in the semi-woke admin area of that clinic, that was a bridge too far.

      Damn, I love living in a red county, even if we’re under Greater Portlandia’s thumb.

  4. A friend had plans to sue a former employer for discrimination/putting minorities at risk type stuff if they pushed it. They backed off.

    I suggest this as being a tactic worthy of consideration to your friend.

  5. I like to remind people that English has and has had for centuries a perfectly good generic pronoun: “he”. Grammatically speaking, it has two uses: where the subject is male, and when the subject’s gender is not known or not stated. (Conversely, “she” is used when the subject is female, or in various idiomatic applications, probably leftovers from Old English grammatical gender, such as when talking about ships.)

    My company some time ago encouraged announcing “pronouns” without mandating it. Some have done so. I just ignored it and will continue to do so.

    Meanwhile, this reminds me of a word play constructed by my late Libertarian friend Alan Groupe:

    “…man and woman… oh no, ‘women’ is no good because it contains ‘man’. Ok, woperson. No, that won’t do, it has ‘son’ in it. So how about ‘woperthing’? ”

    The bad guys don’t have us saying “woperthing” — not yet.

      1. Justifiably “Wymyn” has been laughed out of existence. Not always spelled the same, but SF and gaming stories have used similar words to describe mythical flying worms/dragons. Insult to women, that is what it is, the worm version anyway. Dragon version, OTOH … MMV.

          1. On the other hand, there’s a type of dragon (no wings) called wyrms.

      1. Yeah, the English neuter pronoun.

        Unfortunately, it’s (for rather obvious reasons up until several years ago) automatically assumed to refer to something that’s not human (or often even biological), and is typically meant as an insult when used to refer to a specific individual. So we can’t use it now.

        Chinese is fun in this area. Mandarin Chinese has different symbols for he, her, and it. But they’re all pronounced as ‘ta’, with the same intonation/accent for each meaning. I’ve no idea how that came about. So (not that the mainland Chinese care, though some on Taiwan might) it’s literally impossible to verbally misgender someone when speaking Mandarin.

        1. John C. Wright reports that his adopted Chinese daughter, as a consequence, uses “he/her” for everyone.

  6. I decided that if I ever had to put my pronouns in, I’d use hio/hiro (good, classical third-person English pronouns) and wait for the confusion to start.

    The only way you can demonstrate absurdity is by being absurd in return.

      1. I need to pick up a copy of Schoolhouse Rock somewhere. For posterity.

        (Not because I want to rewatch it myself, really!)

        1. I will note that at least streaming the Mouse has it. Probably can get it on amazon one of the family friends had a fairly full set (Missing the later computer ones which really is no loss) and dvd’s are a gllut on the market these days. Conjunction Junction whats your function…

        2. And indeed Amazon has the 30th anniversary DVD collection for ~$14. Including the
          History Rock: “Elbow Room- Manifest Destiny”, guaranteed to drive your average SJW/Progressive into mouth foaming drooling paroxysms of rage. Well worth it at twice the price 🙂 . Probably “3 is a Magic Number” would work as well with its “A Man and A Woman had a little Baby” line

    1. I refuse to be forced to provide a pronoun because the woke mob demands it. I will stand as firm as “Number 6” in The Village; , i.e. I will not be numbered, etc.

    2. The pronouns that match my reditio-masculine identity are him/he (reversed from cis-masculine he/him).

      Because I’m not a narcissist, I don’t ask anybody else to adjust their use of language to accommodate me. But if an employer mandates pronouns in email signatures, I will of course comply.

  7. –the only time you use someone’s pronouns is when the person is being talked about in the third person.

    “Jane is responsible for overseeing the project John is working on. He said they are behind schedule.” “John said that? “”No, Jane did”. “The whole team is behind?”, “No only they are. ” “Did you talk to Jane about fixing the schedule?” ” No, he wasn’t available.” “John wasn’t?” “No, Jane wasn’t.”

    Everyone who is sane knows this is insane. The rest need to be removed from business until they’re mentally well.

    The others playing along don’t even mean it. They’re just cowards.

    1. Good example.

      It gets even worse if John decides to “identify as a woman” next week, and then this email conversation is revisited.

      “Last week Jane said John is behind schedule, and they need to catch up.”
      “John is not a ‘they’, John is a ‘she’ and always has been! That’s as bad as deadnaming!”


      1. One of the major news networks (either ABC or CBS) actually had something like this happen. A married executive suddenly started identifying as a woman. Then after a short bit, he reverted back to being a man. Then he suddenly claimed he was a woman again.

        It was either at this point, or after he reverted to his biological gender again that he got fired.

    2. I think while they were in the womb their birthing persons were frightened by Abbot and Costello’s “Who’s on First?”.

      Wow, two pieces of insanity in one sentence! 🙂

  8. I bought a $3 book this week (on Kindle), because it had an interesting-sounding premise.

    I got to page three, and ran into the dreaded “‘they.”

    I’ll never finish the book.

    1. “You use names of external genitalia for pronouns?

      Well, maybe if your name is Richard …”

      I find myself unable to participate in the fantasies of those over four years old. After that age such fantasies are more like mental illnesses.

      I prefer to be polite, vague, and evasive about it. Fortunately, don’t encounter that very much, so have little actual practice.

          1. “Not my circus; not my monkeys”. Or the original Polish proverb: “Not my cows; not my horses”. I like the current one better. 🙂

      1. I had a co-worker a year ago who proclaimed to be a woman.
        I just never used a pronoun to refer to that person. It made conversation a bit stilted and awkwardly worded to use the name instead, but I wasn’t going to support the fella’s fantasy.

  9. I recently started noting people using their own pronouns in place of “I.” I assume the next step would be to demand that others start using them in place of “you.” After all, what’s the use of having pronouns if you don’t get to hear them? That completely negates the whole “gender” argument, of course, but some people may see that as more a feature than a bug.

    1. using their own pronouns in place of “I.”

      “Bob Dole thinks that’s a dumb idea.” — Bob Dole

      1. Bob Dole wouldn’t be wrong. Heck, why not go full potato and just add the personal pronoun to the beginning and end of every sentence as that one alien did in the Doctor Who episode “Utopia”?

  10. When I use a pronoun to refer to myself, I use first person – I, me, mine.

    When I’m talking to other people and they use a pronoun to refer to me, they use second person – you, your. Except for a couple of devout relatives who use thee, thou, thine.

    When other people use third person to refer to me, it’s generally in a conversation I am not a part of, and what pronouns they use is essentially none of my business.

    1. It does happen.

      “Bob, I want you to take pointing to three specific individuals him, him, and her, and…”

      Generally, instructions that involve you are being given to someone who’s expected to supervise, and you’re present and expected to be listening to the conversation, even though you’re not an active participant in it.

  11. this desire to control others is the root of the worst evils in history … it starts with the desire to tell people whats “good for them” … then moves to “whats good for us all” and if they are given enough power turns to bans or mandates then when people refuse to abide by their bans or mandates it moves to criminalization and prisons and when that eventually fails they just kill people who “just won’t listen” …

  12. Mine, as the Ice Princess of the Oort Cloud, are My/Your/Her Supreme Intelligence so it does matter when addressing me — when I’m not incognito like now.

  13. My workplace doesn’t require us to declare our pronouns in our email signatures, but it is “strongly encouraged.” As in they sent out one email last year (maybe the year before?) strongly encouraging everyone to do so, and that’s the last I heard of it. Many of my coworkers have done so, many have not. I have not.

    I don’t foresee any sort of disciplinary action taken against me for not complying, for a few reasons: a) like I said, I’m not the only one to do so, not by a long shot, b) it’s not an official policy as far as I’m aware, and c) they can’t even get all of us to use the official email signature template to begin with, and that IS official policy!

    I’m also noticing that, outside of several states & state-run agencies where it’s legally mandated, diversity subcontracting requirements are not as common in the Requests For Proposals I’m helping my company respond to. There are still plenty of “we expect Vendors to make good-faith efforts to bring in historically-underrepresented supplier” sections in the RFPs, but they’re usually not included in the evaluation criteria, nor are the specific percentage requirements (i.e. X% of the contract must be subcontracted to Certified MBEs, Y% of the contract must be subcontracted to Certified WBEs, X-number of Certified M/WBE Subcontractors must be used) that used to be everywhere.

    While I can’t prove this at all, I get the impression that the industry my company services is realizing that this is causing a lot of the largest and most effective Vendors to decline to participate in these projects because they (the Vendors) have realized that a significant portion of the contract revenue would be going to third-party suppliers for no really good reason (as the primary Vendors in these instances are almost always more than capable of doing the work themselves). Doesn’t help that a fair number of the Certified Diversity-Owned Subcontractors exist solely to help the Vendors qualify for these contracts and don’t actually do any of the work, or if they do they don’t perform to the necessary quality and productivity standards. NOTE: not saying this applies to ALL Minority- or Diversity-Owned Businesses, but there are enough to have caused customers and Primary Vendors (my own employer included) all manner of headaches.

      1. No idea. Wouldn’t surprise me. Heck, the owner of the company I worked for before my current job once briefly considered doing that (brining in a minority as an executive and naming them “owner”), but ultimately decided against it. Not because it was unethical, possibly illegal, and could very easily have cost us contracts and our reputation if and when the gig was discovered, but because his massive ego and control-freak nature wouldn’t let him allow anyone else to run “his” company, even in name only. Heck, he always clashed with the CEO he later brought onboard (because he was still smart enough to realize that he was a lousy leader, but thanks to his ego he couldn’t step out of the role).

        To be completely fair and honest, many of those Certified M/WBE Subcontractors are absolute professionals who are phenomenal to work with. One that I can think of (without naming names) we initially reached out to as part of an RFP with a Diversity Subcontracting requirement that we ultimately lost (in part because their Certification Application with the state in question was still pending), but we were so impressed with them that we brought them in on other, non-M/WBE Requirement opportunities (since they offer a product that we don’t, but that neatly compliments our service offerings) and now they are a partner with us on multiple contracts.

    1. I think I’d have to go with this:

      Feather Blade (stupid game/ not playing)

      I’m kidding. I’d ignore it until they fired me.

  14. So here’s my theory, see what you think about it:

    There is no such thing as “gender identity”.

    A “gender identity” that can be mismatched with the body necessarily means that it is separate from the body.

    A mental state separate from the body presumes mind-body dualism. However, we know that consciousness arises from the physical brain even though we don’t understand how. The proof of this is that injuries to the brain can alter consciousness and/or personality, and various drugs can alter perceptions, consciousness, mental states (depression, anxiety), etc. So there can’t be any mental states separable from the physical body, and a mismatch is literally impossible.

    Alternately, a “gender identity” could be a transcendental entity, akin to an immortal soul. As an atheist, I don’t believe in an immortal soul, and for those of you that do, well, you’ve already got one. And I’m pretty sure that souls are either considered to match the sex of the body or to be sexless, but never to mismatch the sex of the body.

    1. There are a few people who have some sort of short-circuit between how the mind perceives itself, and their anatomy. Very, very few, and that disjunct is usually accompanied by other problems in all the cases I’ve read about or heard about. Those are the true “trans[sexual/gender}” people, who have clinical gender dysphoria. That’s a diagnoses, not a flavor of the day. But they are very, very rare indeed.

      Now, what causes that mismatch, how to treat it, and so on? No idea, and I suspect it is up to the individual and his psychiatrist to find the best solution. I would guess that for a truly ethical and professional therapist, treating the other problems (depression, bipolar disorder, whatever) comes first, followed by sorting out the dysphoria.

      1. Well, there are people who have a similar short circuit: we call them “anorexics”, and we treat them by counseling and therapy to resolve the short circuit, not by “affirming” them and handing them diet pills. It’s still a matter of misperception, not that they have a “weight identity”.

      2. I have read that the usual end result of therapy for someone with that perceptual issue is for them to come out as gay. Which seems saner than full-body surgery.

        1. Chances are pretty good they were gay in the first place. Apparently homophobia is still a big thing among teenagers, even in progressive heavens, and kids respond to incentives that “trans is cool, gay is gross”.

          I thought homophobia had pretty much been wiped out among anyone younger than 35, so I wonder if it’s an unfortunate side effect of kids rebelling against orthodoxy, as we would want them to.

          1. These days you can be a cool and edgy rebel by wearing hunter green, a tractor hat and talking schlitz about Teh Gais…

            Also I hear that field parties (Several cars, a loud sound system and an empty field. Add bonfire = field party) now involve some heavy-duty drugs and kids diving into the fire, so it’s not all beer and skittles no more.

    2. Also, you either have an X and Y chromosome or two Xs (plus a very small number of folks with chromosomal anomalies). Your body is completely awash in the hormones mandated by those chromosomes, with all the effects on muscle density, center of gravity, and so forth.
      So frankly, my dear, it is physically impossible for a human of one sex to EVER know what a body of the opposite sex “feels like, ” so it’s also impossible for them to feel like a “Man/woman trapped in a female/male body. “

      1. I find it darkly amusing that a fair number of M-to-F transgenderoids announce that they are lesbians. Far less amusing is the fact that many of the “lesbians” are pre-surgery.

        Yeah, it’s control.

        1. Look up the “cotton ceiling” sometime.

          MtF trans are in high dudgeon that lesbian women are bigots because they won’t let men wearing dresses and lipstick into their pants.

          It’s control, and it’s also misogyny, and it’s also bullying.

            1. Oh yeah. The . . . piece of work . . . MtF in Canada who claimed to be a woman and sued several businesses because the cosmetologists refused to do a hair removal treatment on anatomy they had not been trained to de-hair. Serious serial abuser, who ended up physically attacking someone AND getting caught with a prohibited weapon. (That was the case that had watchers popping popcorn because you had members of two protected classes involved – a “transgender” person and Muslim woman. Which way would the Human Rights court go? The . . . piece of work . . . ended up in hot water for the weapons charge and other things.)

              1. “cosmetologists refused to do a hair removal treatment on anatomy they had not been trained to de-hair. ”

                Which was very conscientious and professional of them.

                …I think I would have gone ahead and done it anyway, after having the person sign a waiver.

          1. I have heard (take it with a grain of salt) that this is a lot of the reason why there aren’t many lesbian bars or clubs these days.

            1. Possibly. The Wild Rose here in Seattle is still in existence, but I don’t know how invaded they’ve been. Certainly The Mercury, the goth club I go to, was for a while recently practically overrun by unattractive men prancing around in too-high heels. The Merc has always been trans friendly, and there are a few regular men who have been wearing dresses there forever and whatever and nobody cares, but until attendance picked up post-pandemic a few months ago there were several nights where — let’s just say it — autogynephiles outnumbered actual men.

              The goth subculture has always been BDSM- and fetish-adjacent, but the Merc had to put their foot down 20 years ago and say that you can wear your BDSM gear to the club but you can’t do a “scene”. Given my druthers, I’d say that the autogynephiles are doing a “scene” just by showing up and “passing” because that’s what gives them a thrill and they should go find their own space, but I’m not in charge and I can’t even get the club to stop checking vaccine cards. :-\

              In fact, I can remember back around 2005 when a former friend of mine was organizing an event at the Merc that would be bringing in non-members (to the members-only club), and that they had to understand that sometimes there would be bio men in the womens’ room. But that privilege was reserved for the ones who walked the walk, so to speak, and not for those who got their jollies by going to the ladies’. I imagine that would get you cancelled today.

              I recall Brendan O’Neill’s interview with Katie Herzog (butch lesbian, formerly of The Stranger, cancelled for writing about detransitioners), in which she said that nobody really believes that trans men are men, because nobody cares if a trans man goes to a lesbian club.

        1. One of the vloggers I follow, styxhexenhammer666, did an interesting commentary on genetics. His take was the presence of lack of a Y chromosome. It seems one genetic defect is only having 1 X chromosome, which invariably present as female. Of course, there are also some cases of a person being genetically male, but due to not getting the correct hormonal cues in utero, appear to be female. I don’t have a good answer for them.

    3. In short, the ideology under discussion is a Gnostic cult. Not only mind/body dualism, but the notion that the body is a prison, as is all of the physical world.

          1. I came to that conclusion before I had ever even heard of James Lindsay, but his conclusions mesh with mine precisely.

  15. It’s none of my business what other people say about me when I am not around. Their personal thoughts should be theirs to share or not as they will. I certainly don’t need to restructure any languages to make other people think of me the way I want them to think of me. That trick never works.

    Everyone should mind their own beeswax.

    1. “Everyone should mind their own beeswax.”

      Speaking of grammar-ish things – I had this discussion with a lovely traditional English-class PhD (doing her time teaching a freshman composition/research class I had to take for my 2nd bachelor’s), whose father had been some kind of language authority. She related that ‘they/their’ had been entirely acceptable as gender-and-number-indefinite pronoun and possessive into the late 1800s, I think it was, and somewhere the he/his she/hers became the preferred construction.

      So that’s what I learned in the 1950s. And ‘everyONE’ is singular in form, and needs a singular possessive. I’m out of step with the regression to 1800s.

      If you get a chance, look up Eugene Volokh’s articles on ‘prescriptive’ vs ‘descriptive’ language rules. TLDR; ‘prescriptive’ eventually fails.

      1. Something that came up in my memories: “There is no semantic difference between everyone and everybody unless you have a zombie apocalypse.”

      2. And that’s basically what you see in Shakespeare and all the other supposed pre-modern examples of singular “they”, except that I quibble on singular everyone.

        But what everyone, even including linguists like John McWhorter, misses is that it was only for gender-and-number-indefinite uses.

        singular, known male: If Bob comes onto this construction site, he needs to wear his hard hat.
        singular, implied male: If the King comes onto this construction site, he needs to wear his hard hat.
        singular, unknown sex: If anyone comes onto this construction site, they need to wear their hard hat.
        number indefinite, could be mixed sex: Every student who comes onto this construction site needs to wear their hard hat.
        and cf number indefinite, could be mixed sex: Everyone who comes onto this construction site needs to wear their hard hat.

        I suspect that the “indefinite he” construction comes from the same Latin-envy place that not splitting infinitives and not ending sentences with a preposition comes from. If your friend’s father is correct, the time periods certainly line up.

        1. Well, to me, the construction ‘their hard hat’ implies Bob and Alice share a hard hat while ‘their hard hatS’ in context suggests there might be one each. And it could be avoided with ‘Everyone … must wear A hard hat’.

          I quibble back on everyone – that, to my reading, is a Britishm; I did eighth grade in Canada, I know my zeds! I usually encounter it with hockey broadcasters and ‘team’, as ‘the team are …’. No, dagnabbit, the team IS, the members/players (of the team) ARE.

          Prescriptivists eventually lose, as I alluded to earlier. I’m the dinosaur here. But this is a thread on ‘control’!

          1. Yes, “their hard hatS” would be more correct.

            And I’m not being prescriptivist, I’m describing what comes naturally based on all of my life experience plus reading from more than one century. “Everyone should wear his hard hat” does not feel natural, and I would argue is the prescriptivist formula. Probably based on the works of the “English should be like Latin to be a real language” grammarians.

            1. Well, I want to be a prescriptivist, because If Everyone Would JUST DO IT MY WAY Everything Would Be FINE!

              Hmm. Where have I seen that before?

    2. They never will. People are social apes, and keeping track of their standing within the band is very important to most.
      And gossip is a form of currency.*

      I want to know what other people say about me, at least in general.
      It’s good to know that such-and-such doesn’t actually like you, rather than being surprised by it at an inopertune time.

      *A form of currency that’s remarkably easy to counterfeit.
      There are some pretty rotten people who do this to rile people up for their own amusement. But they’re generally not very imaginative. They also get entertainingly upset when thwarted.
      Most of the people involved, just want a story which makes them feel like they know a secret, and which evokes an emotional response in relation to a member of their community.
      It’s kind of fun to jam up the slander machine with sympathetic stories. (Or better yet, give them details they can imagine a sympathetic story hanging from. Can be really combined with comically missing the point.)
      For example:
      If someone whispers to you that Old Man McGillicutty just brings a thermos to work because he drinks his lunch…
      It’s easy to whisper back, “I heard someone saw it full of split-pea soup. What kind of man drinks split-pea soup straight from a thermos?”

  16. Ode To The Parenthetical -sses

    If I had to pick my pronoun(s)
    I start to look around(s)
    Pay attention to the sound(s)
    While ignoring all the clown(s).

    I’d consider possibility(s)
    and not ignore absurdity(s)
    That antagonize my enemy(s)
    No matter how or where they be(s).

    After due consideration(s)
    Searching p’noun plantation(s)
    I choose a simple ration(s)
    and give no explanation(s).

    But when I refer to other(s)
    Woke sisters and woke brother(s)
    I use the all inclusive pronoun(s)

    Said fastly.

  17. Why must you keep reminding me of things I wrote to teach character writing???

    “You have heard the saying that some people just want to watch the world burn, yes? Well, sadly, some people just want to hear others scream…. Abusers of any and every kind choose targets weaker than themselves – or those whom they can isolate and weaken. They then prevent them from escaping and do their best to mold them into something that serves their purposes. It does not matter whether this purpose is to die by inches or to fulfill some type of role…The abuser gets to gloat, inflict his or her will on the victim, and watch them writhe.

    Jay Richards and Jonathan Witt go into this in The Hobbit Party: The Vision of Freedom that Tolkien Got, and the West Forgot. They point out that all the villains, from the Orcs on up to Sauron, gloat and take pleasure in the pain of their victims. One reason, they hypothesize, why the villains do this is because they have no other way to confirm that their victims are submitting to their will.https://carolinefurlong.wordpress.com/2021/12/20/writerly-sound-bites-number-8-character-progression-how-characters-broken-by-trauma-recover-and-rebuild-part-1/

    They want control not only for the reasons listed in your post, but also because it can be equated with godhood to some degree. He controls everything, after all; if they can control everything and everyone, then they will yet be greater than Him! “You shall be as gods” has still an alluring power to all mankind. Heroes resist it. Those who don’t…. Well, Sauron is their spirit animal.

    1. “One reason, they hypothesize, why the villains do this is because they have no other way to confirm that their victims are submitting to their will.”

      Orwell wrote that in “1984”.

      ‘ “How does one man assert his power over another, Winston?”
      Winston thought. “By making him suffer,” he said.
      “Exactly. By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.” ‘

  18. I’m guessing they wouldn’t like it when I signed my emails “I identify as a fat white male who’s sick of your crap. My pronouns are ‘frrp’ and ‘you.'”

  19. I don’t understand the angst that has been generated by the pronoun nonsense. There’s already a perfectly understood pronoun in the English languae, also usable by those who speak ‘American’. That pronoun applies to anyone who for whatever reason doesn’t want to use the gender-based pronouns. Just refer to them as “it”.

    1. I suspect those using “they/their” enjoy the mass confusion when said creatures are being written about. One suspects each creature likes to have normal people confused & annoyed when trying to parse the damned sentences.

      1. I think it’s a power trip. If you don’t use whatever pronoun they demand, you are being a bigot, a homophobe, a generally Bad Person who all decent people should shun. Plus you’re being hurtful and divisive, and why won’t you do this simple thing I want you to do? Why are YOU so selfish?

        1. Yep. Caroline Furlong’s comment above nails it: they will make you do it to prove that you’re submmitting to their will.

        2. In the case of tweens and teens, I think the power trip is mostly subconscious, but for someone almost entirely powerless making adults dance to your tune has to be irresistible.

          1. :points: This.

            It’s a boundary game…but they’re moving the boundary in front of folks’ paths, to shift them.

            Kind of entry level, though– very obvious, so once you’re hooked, the rush isn’t as much.

            There’s some interesting things I’ve seen come off Tumblr where it might be teen drama games, or it might be absolutely justified, but you can’t tell from the information given.
            Is the author a teen upset her mom won’t let her hide in her room with headphones on all day? Or is the author an adult visiting her mother who will not allow any time to not be Visiting?

        3. I ran across this in a comment elsewhere. The commenter mentioned a person with a question about the situation, then launched into they/them/their without making it clear it was wokitude. Took several seconds to figure out WTF was going on. Arggh! If you are going to ask questions, please don’t make it harder for people to understand it.

          I refrained from a Use Standard English, Dammit rant, and decided life was too short to get into that conversation. TW;DB (Too Woke; Didn’t Bother)

      2. Honestly, if I see someone using “they/them”, I am immediately reminded of Mark 5:9. Such folk are to be avoided.

        1. But it’s an adjective, not a pronoun.

          “That asshole” has been suggested, but I’m leaning towards “Thee Asshole”.

          Makes a properly pompous title.

          1. Uhm…’asshole’ is a noun, not a word that modifies a noun. Can even be a proper noun, in certain circumstances. “These orders came straight from Major Asshole.”

      1. It is, but largely because up until recently to state that a person was a neuter was to effectively state that the individual in question was less than a full person. Your gender was an intrinsic part of you, and to state that someone had no gender was to state that the individual was not whole. As a result, referring to someone as “it” was an epithet. The individual had been emasculated. “It” was a term that you might use when referring to an eunuch.

        Now we’re dealing with individuals who have voluntarily emasculated themselves. But the negative feelings associated with the word “it” still remain.

    2. They are likely 1 of 2 categories:
      1) The kind who feel empowered by others caving in to their demands, or
      2) The kind who feel empowered by virtue signaling that they are the good people who support the language victim.

    3. I can’t recall any other author doing this, but E. Nesbit (Five Children and It) used “it” when referring to the generic of a mixed-sex group:

      Each of the children carried its own spade…

      1. Tolkien used it in “On Fairy Stories” saying of a child, “It wants to be a little frightened. “

  20. Years ago, I read this story about a servant girl going to work with a family.

    The Family required her to use several fancy names to refer to common things, such as dogs, cats, fire, etc.

    The story ends with that family’s house burning down because the servant girl tried to warn them of a fire while using all the fancy names that her masters wanted her to use. 😈

    1. That very night the servant woke her master up in a fright and said: ‘Master of all masters, get out of your barnacle and put on your squibs and crackers. For white-faced simminy has got a spark of hot cockalorum on its tail, and unless you get some pondalorum high topper mountain will be all on hot cockalorum’ .

      Yep – see https://sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/eft/eft43.htm Master of All Masters.

            1. I think announcing different pronouns every day, or better yet, when the mood strikes me will be my go to strategy if the need should arise.

              I shall pick thee and thou first because the old ways are best and I identify as a 17th century housewife generally.

              Then I shall mix it up and use she/her when I identify as a mid-century feminist.

              Then Xi and Xer when I am in touch with my fairy-kin side.

              Of course some days will be more appropriate to go with Ze and Zim to honor my dragon-kin side.

              I feel like I am losing my sanity just writing this which is completely the point I’d suppose.

              1. She Who Must Be Respected/Her Imperial Majesty, the Empress of Night

                Or maybe something else. I’m not entirely certain what I want to be empress of, but night sounds cool.

                1. Just be willing to beg forgiveness when the True Empress Of Night comes around looking for the Pretender. 😈

                  1. There is one? Hm. Might want to go for something else then.

                    Does anyone know if there’s some sort of list of unclaimed titles? Is it like the ‘This domain is untaken, would you like to claim it?’ thing that you get when you mis-type a website URL?

                    1. Careful, it might be a trap. Like becoming a (Greek pantheon) god… of whatever thing might be left.. and in that pantheon’s case, the risk of the.. politics.. of Olympus.

                    2. Just invent new titles!
                      In the early 1980’s Judge Hand, in an epic 172 page decision, ruled in a case against the Alabama Association of School Boards that secular humanism was a religion so the Association violated the Establishment Clause by mandating books which espoused secular humanist ideas.
                      My brother read about this and decided that since Secular Humanism was now officially a religion, but clearly disorganized since secular humanists didn’t think they were religious, he would declare himself “The Pope of Secular Humanism” so he could straighten them out. Of course his wife then demanded a title of her own and together they decided she was “Mrs the Pope, Matron of Serenity and Architect of Hell” (Inventing individual hells for people helped her remain serene. One I recall was being condemned to a pit encircled by incontinent bag ladies).
                      As time went on, as Secular Humanists continued to ignore his guidance since they didn’t want to be an organized religion, my brother would from time to time bestow an appropriate titles on one of his friends and family.
                      And although I never asked for nor expected a Papal Title, I was eventually given one.
                      I’m officially “The Archbishop of Extended Explanations”

                      Surely a group consisting largely of writers (not I, I’m just a lurker) can come up with some inventive new titles!

              2. Get multicultural on them. Demand the Irish O’ and the Japanese -San be used with respect to you.
                Especially if you’re visibly neither.

              3. The internet is full of (nearly always) young people who have a whole deck of pronouns, depending on the day or the mood, which they INSIST others know and use. Nearly all of these people come across as desperate and in need of help, rather than brave and empowered.

  21. If someone asks for my pronouns, they are going to get a couple of words that are commonly considered obscene ( a female dog & slang for female anatomy commonly used in other parts of the Anglosphere). Funny thing is, they scan correctly when used in sentences.

  22. I was thinking something similar in regards to the latest two examples of the outrage/cancellation cycle: celebrity gives public voice to a sentiment already shared by millions of Americans, followed by panic that someone of prominence has deviated from the script.

  23. If people insist on my listing pronouns for myself, I give them wysiwyg/wysiwyg, though I do not get upset if they refer to me with different pronouns. My self image and sanity are not dependent on pronouns.

  24. Because the world is imperfect and so are humans, we will never be the perfect denizens of Kamazotz, bouncing our balls in unison. And thus the left is always angry and unhappy, and sometimes homicidal.

    Seeing pronouns in usage by someone? I check my weapon and back away slowly.

  25. “On the count of three, everyone point and laugh.”

    In that regard, today I have decided on the spirit animal of the Conservative Party of Canada.

    At Small Dead Animals today there was a short discussion on what the official animal of the CPC would be. Some said cow, others sheep. Original poster said slug or jellyfish.

    I said rabbit or coral polyp. When it was pointed out that rabbits have a spine, I had to agree that was true. They run from everything, but at least they run.

    The coral polyp however is perfect. A spineless invertebrate, it does not even make its own shell. It sits in one place, literally waiting for food to fall into its mouth. It eats and it sh1ts. That is all it ever does.

    The coral polyp is the spirit animal of Canadian “Conservative” politicians. I’m thinking of having t-shirts made up.

      1. Yes, not just a politician, but a BAD one! As in, not only a spinless, sessile, filter-feeding blob, he’s not even good at it. Unforced error, -and- dismantled the base he was trying to build, all in one tweet.

        I’m actually disappointed in how fully incompetent the current crop of UniParty Chinese appointees are. There’s nothing subtle about any of it, they just bull their way along as if they were untouchable.

        Interesting times.

          1. https://archive.is/OVbZN


            “Most recently, Mr. Poilievre has been demure about his MPs’ three-hour lunch with Christine Anderson, the far-right German politician elected to the European Parliament. The Conservative Party issued a statement on behalf of Leslyn Lewis, Colin Carrie and Dean Allison, saying they were unaware of Ms. Anderson’s views, which include anti-immigrant and Islamophobic opinions, along with enthusiastic support for the convoy.
            Mr. Poilievre’s spokesperson then issued a statement from him saying Ms. Anderson’s “racist, hateful views are not welcome” in Canada. But the party leader chose to release that strongly worded denunciation solely through journalists rather than posting it on any of his busy social-media accounts.”

            An amazingly stupid political friendly-fire incident, in the middle of the biggest Liberal meltdown maybe in history. The Liberals literally sold our government to Communist China, and Mr. Poilievre decided he needed to call Christine Anderson and the whole AfD Party of German a bunch of hateful racists.

            A sessile filter feeder shooting itself in the foot with a .50 cal machinegun. Give ‘er the whole nine yards, Pierre.

            To me, this sort of thing is not a mistake as we understand such things. It is a “tell”, an event that reveals the person’s true intent. Mr. Poilievre, should he be elected PM, will rule in EXACTLY the same way as the Shiny Pony. All politics of the moment, all the time, zero substance.

            To my mind, a man committed to a -free- country would have shrugged and said his MPs could have lunch with whoever they liked. He chose to denounce a woman and a whole political party as being -forbidden- instead. That’s not what I’m looking for in a Conservative Party 😡

  26. Ooh, just thought of what may have triggered this– the Mrs./Miss/Ms thing.

    Once they browbeat everybody into just saying Ms, needed a new thing to freak out about.

    1. Thing is, Ms. is actually useful sometimes, when writing to someone you don’t know well. Will she have hurt feelings at being called Miss, even if accurate, when she longs to get married and hasn’t found anyone? Or will she have the same hurt feelings at being called Mrs. incorrectly, for the same reason? Eh, maybe I should punt and just use Ms., which doesn’t imply anything.

      Kind of like the actual useful use of singular they, as mentioned in balzacq’s 6:39 PM comment — for referencing a person of unknown gender. “If anyone… then they…”

      But leftists browbeat everyone into using it all the time, as you mentioned, and now its usefulness is nearly gone.

      1. And they carefully removed the option to use either Mrs. or Miss– when, depending on the subculture, Miss is the polite default. IE, Miss (firstname) for a very much married teacher.

        But Mrs Lastname gives a strong, formal form of address for a perfectly normal social situation that they didn’t like… which, hey look again, it comes around to destroying families.

      2. I use Ms. in my books to signal that the speaker is an asshole. ~:D Generals, politicians and criminals use Ms., everyone else uses Miss, Mrs.

        A small dig, but a dig none the less. >:D

    2. I request “Miss” just to bug the activists. Or my academic title if I absolutely have to pull that card (don’t like it, but will do it if needed.)

  27. “…well, terrified of everything they can’t control…”

    As am I. But, by the grace of Godm I’ve beaten two cancers (so far), a failed marriage (and then a successful one), flunking out of college and working my way back in and graduating.

    I’ll be damned if I’m going to kowtow to some mincing jackanapes’ demand for what to call me when I’m not around.

    I identify as a friend to the friendly and the computer guy you don’t want to piss off to the unfriendly. But I would never SWAT a fly. or anything of the sort. I don’t need to. Psalm 91.

    BTW, I’m still friendly to the unfriendly; but I pray for them, too.

    1. computer guy you don’t want to piss off to the unfriendly

      Do not want to be unfriendly to those who are the access to getting computer fixed, whether under warranty, through work, or not. Be it hardware or software. Ran into the hardware version from customer side. Son’s brand new laptop monitor had 5 replacements before it was finally fixed. Explicitly paid for the onsite warranty because kid was away at college, lived in a dorm, and had to have the computer. Every single time a replacement repair was setup (and getting that far was a huge PIA guarantied headache) the repair person was a no show. Would call (at that point had a local contact) and me (polite as sugar) with hubby screaming in the background (not helping), and it would get repaired, that round. First time ever we’d had a problem with that brand. Also the last time we bought that brand (it had been bought out, but not issuing laptops under new brand name).

      Software side. Well pissing me off, or irritating me, was not a guaranty to a swift resolution. A correct resolution because I did not want to hear about the problem, again; or that individual again. Their problems/requests would be go on the trouble system and I’d let TPTB assign them (which was how it was suppose to work). Being pleasant OTOH got stuff into the trouble system and immediately assigned to me, which meant it got done much sooner than later. The last 6 months I knew who would be calling after 4 PM (ever other week like clockwork), I refused to answer the phone. Every single week it wasn’t the systems problem, it was the clients; and worse the root cause was the same every week. ID10TCAK.

      1. When I was a COBOL Programmer, back in… well, nevermind… we used to joke, “How many programmers does it take to change a light bulb? None! It’s a hardware problem…”

        1. “How many programmers does it take to change a light bulb? None! It’s a hardware problem…”

          100% And, yes, I’ve heard the joke, a time or thousand.

          ’90 – ’96 I was the one who had to deal with programming And hardware, for specific part of the company division. As much as I hated that job going away (property sold out from underneath employees and shutdown), my remaining jobs I didn’t have to deal with hardware (except personal home stuff). Strictly design and programming. This made me very, very, very, happy. I do not like dealing with hardware, or OS problems. (I can. I just do not like dealing with it. Problem was, even as my job, didn’t deal with hardware often enough to have it be natural.)

  28. My response is simple;
    “I don’t have to agree with the choices you make in life as an adult, I just have to agree you as an adult have the right to make that choice”. Period dot end of story.

    1. “Suppose we agree that he can’t actually have babies, not having a womb, which is nobody’s fault, not even the Romans, but that he can have the right to have babies!”


  29. I speak English. A language in which there are three genders. Male, female, and neuter (like German, unlike French and Spanish). If you don’t like the normal pronouns, I’ll be happy to refer to you as “it”.

    I strive to keep my arrogance under control…but sometimes, it’s appropriate to slip the leash. 🙂

    1. Really, it is not arrogance to refuse to kowtow to insanity. Although, you can refuse in an arrogant manner, which I highly recommend. ~:D Why use only one barrel when you have two?

  30. Never did understand that “pronouns” thing, ’cause, like Sarah, I very seldom engage in conversations where I’m referred to in the third person. Now HONORIFICS are a completely different thing, and I will respond positively to any in my personal set of {Sir, Professor, Colonel}. Of course, if it’s a hot pizza to go, I’ll also perk up to “Hey you! Your order’s ready.”

  31. We interrupt your reading for a test of the emergency carp thrower system. This is only a test.

    “An arrow flies straight; but fruit flies like a banana.”

    This has been a test of the emergency carp thrower system. This was only a test. If this had been a real carp throwing emergency, I would have outsourced the typing to someone able to run faster and duck lower.

  32. I believe that a person has the right to tell me which pronouns I should use when referring to that person. I am under no obligation to pay attention to their wishes, though.

    Equally, I also have the right to determine which pronouns I will use when referring to that person. I generally would use “schnee”, being the German for “snow”, as the proper pronoun to use for a snowflake.

  33. I can’t recall any other author doing this, but E. Nesbit (Five Children and It) used “it” when referring to the generic of a mixed-sex group:

    Each of the children carried its own spade…

  34. Ooh, this was a tough one for me to read. (Not because of what was written on the screen – Sarah is an amazing writer.)
    It was tough to read because I’m dealing with some of these peripheral issues in my RL.
    My nephew, my mom and dad’s firstborn grandson, is 28. He has had emotional problems his entire life. Dropped out of college twice, couldn’t hold down a job, still living at home at 28, wouldn’t leave his bedroom for days at time, etc.
    He’s been in therapy for years. I can’t see from the outside that it’s helped.
    Nine months ago, he announced that he was actually a female.
    My (very liberal) parents and siblings have bent over backwards to “support” and “affirm” his choice.
    He is now going through hormone therapy and is planning surgery.
    According to my sister (his mother), he had never breathed word of his gender dysphoria to anyone before last summer.
    My heart is breaking for my nephew.
    I am very afraid that he is doing himself physical damage that he won’t be able to undo.
    I am very afraid that he will come to deeply regret his choices later.
    I have read a lot about ‘de-transitioners’, people like my nephew who went through gender reassignment and later went back to their gender at birth. A lot of them have life histories that closely mirror my nephew.
    I can’t tell my nephew that I’m worried about him and his choices.
    I can’t tell my sister that her wholehearted ‘support’ may be locking her son into a life path that he will deeply regret.
    I have loved my nephew since the day he was born. It has been so hard, seeing him miserably unhappy for years. I’m so worried that this trans period he is in now is just another manifestation of his emotional problems.
    (Wipes eyes) Sorry to vent. It’s just a topic that has impacted me and my family very deeply.
    And now back to our regularly schedule ATH…

    1. What could be going on:

      “They’ve tried all sorts of things. None of them helped. Now they say this will help. I’ll try it! I’ll try anything!”

      Leftroids capitalize on panic and desperation. If people aren’t panicked and desperate enough, Leftroids will try to instill panic and desperation. Everything is a crisis. Everything requires immediate drastic action, before anybody has time to think.
      Does the Left drive those idiots barking mad, or were they drawn to the Left because they were already batshit crazy?

      1. I can say that none of the people of my acquaintance who have socially or medically transitioned — of either sex — were particularly stable and/or well-adjusted, other than the autogynephiles who were outwardly perfectly normal family men until they decided to throw it all away in pursuit of their sexual thrills.

        1. I am acquainted with a higher-than-average number of trans folk who have actually transitioned*. The key point is that all of them are older, as in 30+ or a couple of decades beyond before transitioning. At least two of them are in stable marriages that they entered before transition. So I think part of the issue is generational, because older folk who transition are finding the last piece that they’re missing, and they tend to be less in-your-face about things because this isn’t about performance, this is their life. (And, you know, a pretty good tell for actual MtF is if they are happy about surgery, because I never saw a man not cringe at the thought of that particular cut…)

          Younger? It’s important to track down stress points and not just assume. There are so many causes of depression and anxiety that should be checked before the topic of gender dysphoria even becomes a thought. Puberty itself is a huge problem in regards to anxiety and so forth.

          This is probably because I’m one of those people who knows *everyone sooner or later.

          1. Nod.

            There’s a gentleman on one site I visit who is married to a MtF person and he’s commented about all the Justifiable Hoops older Trans went through before the surgery.

            His comment was that the older Trans don’t “talk about being Trans”. They want to be seen as the “sex” that they trans into and to just live their new Lifes.

    2. My daughter, just turned 14 today, has been calling herself “he” and going by “Max” for two years now. Like your nephew, she never showed a single indication of being remotely “boyish” for her entire childhood†, but her mother (we’re divorced and mom is a huge lefty who got more radical over the course of our marriage) told me when she was 11 she was terrified of getting her period. And then she got it right when the pandemic started and she was isolated from all her friends, and like so many kids she was depressed and anxious and had suicidal thoughts (so did I when I was that age because middle school is horrible, but mom has bought into the “dead daughter or trans son” BS, and AFAIK doesn’t feel that way anymore). She told mom that she was gay††, and started attending the schools’ LGBT support group online, and sure enough within six weeks told us she was “nonbinary” and “they/them”. (Social contagion much? Also, her best friends, twins, are gay and “nonbinary” respectively, so yeah. Their mother works for an LGBT non-profit, so I blame her mostly.)

      So far she hasn’t been taking any blockers or hormones that I’m aware of, and I hope that she gets in to the artsy high school next year that should have less homophobia than regular school. I won’t use her male name — I use “kiddo” and “sweetie” a lot — nor call her “he” (I’ll use “they” if necessary in front of her mother to avoid an unnecessary fight), and I don’t treat her any differently than I did before. So I’m hoping that she desists at some point, because in Washington State I have no power to intervene in my own child’s “treatment”. All I can do is try to be her father and put my oar in here and there.

      So I feel your pain and understand your anguish. I hope your nephew comes to his senses, or at least quails at the point of surgery. Best wishes.

      † (Liked dresses as a young girl, never interested in “things” like science or engineering kits unless messing with them was my idea, not interested in rough and tumble, very artistic, etc., etc.)

      †† (My hometown best friend’s wife is a child psychologist with the Anchorage School District. When I went back for family business and had dinner with them, she said “oh your daughter’s too young to really know for sure”. Yeah, my next-door neighbor knew he was gay at age 6, but… Also, my friend’s wife thinks this trans business is ridiculous but of course can’t say anything about it at work or she’ll get the chop, even in reddish-purple Anchorage.)

      1. I shutter to think what I would go through had I been in school now. When really little was interested in dolls and the Barbie culture, but only with model horses (which I still have). Not particularly athletic. Have fished, camped, and hunted (hunting camp at any rate until legally able to go) since infancy. Not interested in makeup or other girly stuff. Wore dresses (only because of the times … they are COLD). Hung out as “one of the guys”, as friends (late bloomer. Hubby and I were friends for years before we dated.) I am 100% female (and glad of it). While we’d never know, I think in today’s environment I would have been targeted. Have an aunt who would have also been targeted (she even has a male nickname for elk camp).

        The problem? We are the product of pioneering women. We are expected to be hunters (of food, be it meat or garden). Camping was what we do.

        Gender is what you are born with and how your gender relates to reproduction. Gender is NOT what you choose to do.

        1. Sex is what you are born with. We mostly use “gender” because people in the postwar period got weirdly prudish and didn’t want to say S-E-X [blush] except in medical/scientific settings. You’ll notice phrases like “a credit to her sex” went away completely.

          And then the lefties and perverts (like Kinsey and John Money) got ahold of “gender” and — like all leftist language manipulation — starting making it mean all sorts of things that the general public would have never agreed with. So now we have “gender roles” and “gender identity” where before we would have had “sex roles” and (immutable) “sex”.

          And those sex roles are correlated with biological sex but not fixed in stone. The whole point of second wave feminism was to free women — and to a lesser extent men — from the expectations of socially-constructed (and I would argue -optimized) sex roles. I think that even though there were some downsides that on balance that was a good thing.

          1. Sex/Gender – When I fill out stuff for my dog, and cats, the M/F box is labeled Gender, sometimes Sex. It depends on how much room is on the form. The next box is spayed/neutered. So, whatever. To me the two words are interchangeable as I do not subscribe to the whole woke gender roles/identity definitions. (And the woke can take their REEEEE’s and stuff it/them.)

            1. Alas, academic can never, ever see something clear and leave it alone. I will grant that there is a very small utility in using “gender roles” to apply to cultural patterns that may or may not correspond with the biology of the individual under discussion. Very small.

              I still use “sex” whenever I can, since I’m often talking about federal laws that still say “sex.”

  35. Two random philological thoughts.

    Doesn’t “child” being “it” in older English track with “Kind” being neuter in German?

    About Mrs., Miss, and MS., I’m pretty sure that Mrs. and Miss are respectively a contraction and a dimimutive of “Mistress” which was once used of both married and unmarried women. Dryden wrote a poem “To the Pious Memory of the Accomplished Young Lady Mrs. Anne Killigrew,” an unmarried woman. Back in the 70’s, my suggestion that we simply go back to “Mistress” for both sadly failed to gain traction.

    Of course, the change was less noticeable in the South since Ms. was pronounced the same as our standard oral form “Miz.”

  36. As to how they exercise control, learn now Steve Browne’s Four Rules of Power
    Demonstrate your power over others by:
    1) Making them constantly afraid of giving offense unintentionally.
    2) Making them give up cherished customs, symbols, pastimes, relationships.
    3) Making them pay lip service to ideas of breathtaking absurdity.
    4) Making them do things that disgust and repel them.

    1. Evergreen:

      “Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.”

      ― Theodore Dalrymple

      See also his recent article Lying To Ourselves:

      “Pity and compassion, formerly Christian virtues, are the virtues that run wild in the modern social liberal’s mind. Indeed, one might almost say that he has become addicted to them, for they are what give meaning and purpose to his life. He is ever on the lookout for new worlds not to conquer, but to pity. In his mind, pity and compassion require that he adopts without demur the point of view of the person he pities, for otherwise, he might upset him; he must not criticise, therefore. In short, if need be, he must lie, and he frequently ends up deceiving himself as well as others. And if he has power, he will turn lies into policy.”

      1. Over twenty years ago, I read a book that decried intolerant toleration, allowing people to harm themselves and society in the name of other people being “compassionate” and “tolerant” and “understanding.

    2. This is where being Odd is a blessing. People do those four things to Fit In. An Odd has no chance of fitting in, and in fact will not even notice social pressures like these.

      An Odd must be -convinced- to support the absurd idea. The more absurd, the less likely that is. Leading to people like James Damore pointing to the naked emperor and wondering where his pants are.

      They can only fire you. They don’t really have any power that you don’t grant them, when all is said and done.

  37. The simplest solution would be to eliminate pronouns altogether when don’t know the gender. Adjusting sentences not to use pronouns can get unwieldy, but if just don’t use them, problem solved. Most people’s minds will skip over the lack and fill in the blanks.

    1. The simplest solution, and the one I use, is to do as I please and let the chips fall where they may. Anyone sufficiently disturbed to object to my use of pronouns gets a quick “Sorry dewd, my bad” and is henceforth set to ‘ignore’.

      This has only ever happened on the Interwebz, in real life no one really does this type of thing.

      The screechers are going to screech anyway. These days you don’t have to -do- anything to be screeched at, just be white. Or male, or straight, or whatever the shriek-of-the-day is.

      I figure just being my plain old self is enough to get them wound up, that’s pretty good for me. Free country after all, they can froth at the mouth if they like. Just don’t get any on my lawn, and there won’t be any trouble.

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