Purely Political, By James Buckley
On a recent “Gutfeld!” show (8 p.m. weekdays on Fox News Channel, Channel 25 on Cox cable), there was a discussion about the use of personal pronouns.
I heard both regular guest Kat Timpf and host Greg Gutfeld say (I’m paraphrasing here), “Well, I’ll call someone anything they want me to call them” and expressed the notion that by doing so would be a sign of “respect.”
Why? What gives anyone the right to insist you call them by some made-up word and that if you don’t use it you may be sued, fired or canceled? How is that respectful? What kind of respect are you being shown if you simply don’t want to go along with this idiocy?
Don’t misunderstand. I am a big fan of “Gutfeld!” I also like Ms Timpf, though she should laugh less (shades of Kamala!) and opine more. Her sharp wit and biting commentary often hits the bull’s eye. And there is no one like Greg Gutfeld on TV. He is smart, funny, often self-deprecating, abusive, snotty, annoying, opinionated, and most of all terribly entertaining.
The discussion of personal pronouns, however, did lead me to wonder how it ever got this crazy. When I enrolled in UCLA Health on Coast Village Road, for example, the form I filled out included the question/s of what my personal pronouns were.
Who has or cares to have “personal pronouns?” It’s called grammar: He, she, it, him, her, they, we, us, them. What else is there to know?
Apparently, a lot.
Here’s one thing I learned and now know. Many in the academic community are extremely sensitive and regularly waste a great deal of time on advising people how to use a person’s “chosen” pronouns.
Along with “he,” “she” and “they,” are “ae,” “per,” “ve,” “xe,” “ze” or “zie.” And that’s just the beginning. There are, apparently, 78 preferred pronouns to choose from. Why anyone would want to be referred to as anything other than “he,” “she” or “they” is beyond my ability to understand.
But these people take this stuff seriously.
And despite absolutely no evidence whatsoever, you’ll be informed by those who do take this stuff very seriously that if you intentionally or even unintentionally use the wrong pronoun when referring to or speaking to someone who has informed you of their preferred pronoun, you are bound to make them, they, xe or zie feel less than whole.
You will be disrespecting, invalidating, dismissing, alienating them, they, xe and zie. You may even bring on a deadly bout of dysphoria to them, they, xe and zie.
Virtually every college, university, private school, institution and business has a protocol in place dealing with personal pronouns.
If someone’s preferred pronouns are they/them/theirs, most sites will offer advice as to how to use they/them/theirs properly. (Xenon ate their food because they were hungry.) “They” is an often-used so-called gender-neutral pronoun and is used as both a singular and plural pronoun. In fact, “they” was voted Word of the Year in 2015 by the American Dialect Society.
Here’s more: Ze/hir/hir (Yeti ate hir food because ze was hungry.) Ze is pronounced like “zee” and can also be spelled zie or xe, and replaces she/he/they. Hir is pronounced like “here” and replaces her/hers/him/his/they/theirs.
Some people prefer not to use pronouns at all, using their name as a pronoun instead. (Bozo ate Bozo’s food because Bozo was hungry). I do believe “Seinfeld” covered someone referring to himself in the third person in a particularly hilarious episode of the TV show.
At Santa Barbara City College, you’ll find this list of “common gender pronouns” on its website:
“Most commonly, individuals use she/her/hers or he/him/his. However, increasingly, people are self-identifying with gender-neutral pronouns like these:
“They/them: Melissa walked to their car because they needed to leave for work. (Note: In this context, “They” and “them” are used to refer to a singular subject).
“Ze/hir: Max walked to hir car because ze needed to leave for work. (Note: “Hir” is pronounced “here,” and “ze,” which is also sometimes written as “zie” or “xe,” is pronounced “zee”).
“Name only: Max walked to Max’s car because Max needed to leave for work. (Note: Some people choose not to use pronouns).”
But if you don’t get it, Walden University can help. Walden is an accredited on-line learning center based in Minneapolis that claims it has nearly 50,000 students. It offers undergraduate — master’s (can we still use that term?) and doctoral degrees in a number of fields of study including education, nursing, psychology, criminal justice, public health, social work and others.
Here is what they advise:
“In the past, gender pronouns were separated into masculine (he/him/his) and feminine (she/her/hers). This separation of masculine and feminine is called gender binary and only recognizes men and women. Many people identify outside of the gender binary. Gender-neutral pronouns such as they/them or xe/xer/xers allow individuals to use pronouns they feel fit with their identities.”
Here’s what the folks at Walden believe would be an appropriate response if you tell them you don’t agree with the concept of sharing your pronouns and don’t want to go along with this stuff:
“I understand where you are coming from, but to me pronoun visibility really is necessary. Many people have a name and gender that corresponds with traditional pronoun usage; however, this is not the case for all. Some of our staff, faculty and students have continually been referred to by the wrong pronoun, which makes them feel disrespected. Rather than just asking those individuals to share their pronouns, we can be inclusive and all embrace this practice. It removes any ambiguity and the potential to hurt.”
At Walden, as at SBCC, Harvard, Yale, MIT, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Berkeley and most other colleges and universities, this pronoun agenda has taken a firm hold. In many cases, it’s considered an infraction, an assault even, to refuse to address a student by his or her chosen pronoun.
So Jim is going to get up from Jim’s chair because Jim has finished writing Jim’s column and Jim is going to watch Tucker.
Oh wait, sorry. They is going to get up from their chair because they has finished writing their column and they is going to watch Tucker.
If not, get it.
James Buckley is a longtime Montecito resident. He welcomes questions or comments at email@example.com. Readers are invited to visit jimb.substack.com, where Jim’s Journals are on file. He also invites people to subscribe to Jim’s Journal.