Look At Me, I’m Woke!
For older duffers like me who were born in the 1950s, the alarming array of new social jargon and labeling that has emerged in the Internet Age can be a tad confusing, if not a trifle pretentious. Without wishing to take a swipe at the so-called millennials, my foray into this strange new lexicon has mainly been through visiting game forums, predominantly those on the kiddies’ playground, Steam. But before we go any further, perhaps a few definitions are called for:
Woke -alert to injustice in society, especially racism (originating in Black Lives Matter)Virtue signalling – To take a conspicuous but essentially useless action ostensibly to support a good cause but actually to show off how much more moral you are than everybody elseJane: “Wow! I hate Fox News! They’re so evil and they hate women!”
John: “Why don’t you actually do something instead of just virtue signalling about it?”
Jane: “OMG! That would be WAAAAAAY too much work” — *goes back to s**tposting on Twitter*
Why Are You Being So Dammed Sensitive?
Social sensitivity levels are now at a dangerous all-time high, largely due to long-held perceptions of what used to be acceptable, but isn’t now, or we turned a blind eye. The knock-on effect of all this woke sensitivity is that is can be hard to know who we are going to offend by our actions and what we say. Only the other day I came across an article showing an image of a woman’s cleavage which was flagged by some far away algorithm as adult content. Is a woman’s cleavage so offensive to our sensitivities, even within the context of a paragraph dedicated to censorship?
Which brings me to the awfully sensitive subject of gender, with the above image perfectly encapsulating the conundrum of current gender politics, often becoming turbocharged during election campaigns. For example, at a recent dinner table exchange, I asked the youngsters who were present their opinions on the really important aspects of the current election campaign in Argentina. Sadly, I wasn’t entirely surprised at the responses in spite of the fact that Argentina, although a highly macho driven culture, is one of the most gay-friendly countries in the world, apparently. With the country in a deep recession and the second-most appalling inflation rate in the world, the issue of gender rights, abortion rights, gay rights, and other social issues, apparently figure way higher to young voters than a bankrupt country where prices rise by the week, corruption is rampant and it’s in debt to the IMF to the tune of US$57 billion.
Call Me, They
No, that isn’t a grammatical error, but a reference to a character played by Asia Kate Dillon in Billions, the TV series, who in real life prefers to be known as non-binary and is referred to with the they pronoun. This also transferred to her persona in the series, with all her fellow characters referring to her as they. I found it odd, to be honest, and became glued to the TV, wondering when the actors were going to drop a clanger and make reference to she, he or even, it. Even now as I write this I’m probably committing a hate crime by questioning biological gender and referring to them as she. But we live in a free society, don’t we? After all, I would hate to be prosecuted for not referring to someone by their preferred pronoun. On the other hand, I would like to be referred to by my preferred pronoun, “id”, or if I’m feeling particularly gay and carefree “the id”. But it’s not going to happen in spite of my preferences, is it? Here, take a bite of this:
Some people prefer that you use gender neutral or gender inclusive pronouns when talking to or about
In English, the most commonly used singular gender neutral pronouns are ze (sometimes spelled
zie) and hir.
“Ze” is the subject pronoun and is pronounced /zee/, and “hir” is the object and possessive
pronoun and is pronounced /heer/.
This is how they are used: “Chris is the tallest person in class, and ze is also the fastest runner.”
“Tanzen is going to Hawaii over break with hir parents. I’m so jealous of hir.”
Be Careful – You Could Be Prosecuted For Opening Your Mouth
This leads me on to Jordan Peterson, the Canadian clinical psychologist being dragged over the coals by the University of Toronto for objecting to the Canadian Government’s Bill C-16 which added “gender identity and expression” as prohibited grounds of discrimination. In other words, if you refused to address someone by their preferred pronoun, you could be prosecuted for discrimination. Peterson felt that the university and the government, in general, was wrong to impose a law that forced compelled speech on him, where he could be prosecuted under human rights laws if he refused to call a transgender student or faculty member by the individual’s preferred pronoun– and I agree with him.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires.” – 2 Timothy 4:3
This gender-neutral language is crossing over into all languages, including Spanish and is now hard-coded into the populist opposition campaign for the upcoming Argentine elections. This is a frightening prospect when you consider that they have added new words to the lexicon, such as todes, an inclusive word meaning everyone, where the correct Spanish word is todos, i.e bienvenidos a todos becomes bienvenidos a todes. I expect the founders of the Spanish language in Salamanca would be turning in their graves at the wanton destruction of the language simply because it’s too overtly masculine and gender-oriented. And let’s not even talk about Spanish and French nouns such as table, chair or flower (la mesa, la silla, la flor) which are all female nouns respectively. Still, English uses gender-neutral nouns so that won’t be so difficult to f*** around with, will it?
In conclusion, are you woke and do you practice virtue signaling? Or are you like me, sensitive, caring, yet fearful of totalitarianism and the destruction of our languages?