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He/She Can't Say That...

John Turnbull

Posted on April 3, 2018 14:26

1 user

The root of all this social media politically correct nonsense.

Some days I'm afraid to write. I simply can't keep up with what color, gender, tense, colloquialism or even team name is allowed to be said anymore with out being slain by the social media warriors. If these Twitter and Facebook causes were for legitimate reasons (and some, admittedly, are) and not for, "Look at me. Look how much I care. Look how individual my thought is by joining the flavor-of-the-month-celebrity-endorsed cause that all my online friends have joined," then fair enough, get with the times. They are-a-changin' after all. But in most instances, they're not. And it's getting truly out of hand. Pretty soon a black-colored emoji will send the Twitterverse afire. "How dare you post that! You're white!"

It all started with the use of he as a pronoun, and how that offended the masses. This was first identified in a must-read book (particularly for those who write in LOL land) called "The Elements of Style" written by William Strunk & E.B. White. S & W state that:

"The use of he as a pronoun for nouns embracing both genders is a simple, practical convention rooted in the beginnings of the English language. He has lost all suggestion of maleness in these circumstances ... It has no pejorative connotation. Substituting he or she in its place is the logical thing to do if it works. But it often doesn't work, if only because repetition makes it sound boring or silly... No one need fear to use he if common sense supports it. The furor recently raised about he would be more impressive if there were a handy substitute for the word. Unfortunately, there isn't — or, at least, no one has come up with one yet." (Strunk & White, The Elements of Style, pg 60-61)

Remember folks, this was first published in 1919. Let's put this into an example, shall we?

"A person must be careful that he writes with clarity and intent. If the writer is himself not quite sure of his meaning, then he will give his readers a cloudy impression."

Now let's put it in today's neutral terminology:

"A person must be careful that he/she writes with clarity and intent. If the writer is herself not quite sure of her meaning, then he or she will give his/her readers a cloudy impression."

I mean, come on. Who farted, right?

Let's get back to writing for clarity and comprehension and not be so afraid to tell it like it is for fear of being blocked off a social media site. When did common sense become so uncommon?

I'm going to end this by adhering to the most important rule of TEOS, rule 17, "Omit needless words". A rule that he/she can only hope the psycho-tech babblists also soon follow.

John Turnbull

Posted on April 3, 2018 14:26

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Source: WDSU

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