Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Modest Proposal on Gender in Language

There are all sorts of half-baked proposals to develop a new set of "gender-neutral" pronouns and other relevant gendered words (co, zie, jhe, te, hir, che, and many more). However, most of them are generally silly-sounding words, and all of them have a very high barrier to start being used.

How about this approach:
Step 1) "She" ("her", etc.) is the new gender-neutral pronoun, as well as referring to females. "He" refers specifically to males.
Step 2) "She" ("her", etc.) is the pronoun used to refer to anyone, either male, female, or of indeterminate gender. "He" is abandoned as an abandoned linguistic relic.

This has the advantage that even if someone thinks you sound weird, she will still understand what you are saying. It should also provide a jumping point for a single neutral pronoun that using "he" for just won't work.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

What's up with Firedoglake?

A common claim of the right-wing is that they are the "real" friends of Israel, and that Democrats hate Israel or are anti-semitic, or whatever else they claim.

Of course, this is normally bogus. In general, this is either meant to mean "I hate Arabs, and thus I must support Israel", or "I support Israel because the Bible says I should, though if the situation changes I probably wouldn't", or even "I hate Israel, but I'll claim you do".

However, I found this recent post at Firedoglake God Bless Jimmy Carter, the Best Friend Israel Ever Had to be one of the few examples of somebody on the left that isn't a certified racist nut to be actually and blatantly anti-Israel. It's generally weak on logic and facts as well, so I won't go for a point-by-point breakdown. It also seems to vacillate between "Israel has lost" and "Israel will lose", and I don't see how Jimmy Carter comes into play anywhere other than "He's kind of on my side, so he gets the lede".