Thursday, September 3, 2015

"Of Personal Pronouns and Perennial Pronouncements . . ."

    Is it any wonder that so many Americans hold higher education in contempt these days?

    The University of Tennessee has announced that its faculty and students should stop using traditional, gender-based pronouns in order to "create a more inclusive campus."  Seriously, it's no longer enough that men can call themselves women and can have themselves surgically altered in order to resemble women, now the King's English itself must be modified in order to accommodate the deification of their delusions!  I can't make up something this silly, so here it is in its entirety from the official "Tennesseean" website:

University of Tennessee students have been asked to use gender-neutral pronouns such as "ze."
The University of Tennessee Office for Diversity and Inclusion is asking students and faculty to use the pronouns in order to create a more inclusive campus, multiple media outlets report.
"Transgender people and people who do not identify within the gender binary may use a different name than their legal name and pronouns of their gender identity, rather than the pronouns of the sex they were assigned at birth," the University of Tennessee's Pride Center Director, Donna Braquet, wrote on the university's website Wednesday.
Braquet requested that teachers, rather than calling roll, will instead ask each student to provide the name and pronoun he or she — or ze — wishes to be referred by. She says it relieves a burden for people expressing different genders or identities.
"The name a student uses may not be the one on the official roster, and the roster name may not be the same gender as the one the student now uses," Braquet wrote.
University spokeswoman Karen Ann Simsen said there is no mandate or official policy to use the language.
"The information provided in the newsletter was offered as a resource for our campus community on inclusive practices," Simsen said.
Braquet said if students and faculty cannot use pronouns such as ze, hir, hirs, xe, xem or xyr, they can also politely ask.
"'Oh, nice to meet you ... What pronouns should I use?' is a perfectly fine question to ask," Braquet said.

   So instead of perfectly good words that have been standard practice in the English language for as long as there has been an English language, we get a jumble of letters created by some bureaucrat that mean absolutely nothing! And for what purpose?  Darned if I can tell.  Even if you are a transsexual, don't you want to be referred to by the gender pronoun that you "identify with"?  What is 'ze' anyway?  A straight man who dresses like a woman, a gay man who dresses like a woman, a straight woman who dresses like a man, or someone like my friend Josh who fervently claims he is a dolphin trapped in a man's body?  And what if someone whose personal bent is different from yours steals your pronoun of choice?  Do you fight a duel with rolled up copies of The San Francisco Chronicle on the college green for who gets to be 'ze' and who gets to be 'xe'?

   Bear in mind, according to Google, parents are paying $45,000 per semester for their kids to attend this university.  Is this what they want them to learn?  What, after all, is the purpose of college? At one time, it was to learn a valuable skill that you could then use to earn a better living for yourself than you could get without the degree.  Or perhaps just to explore a scientific or academic discipline that has always fascinated you, and try to do something practical with it.  But now it seems as if the purpose of many institutes of higher learning is simply to indoctrinate students with a boatload of leftist nonsense that has no practical application anywhere in life.  What's going to happen when these earnest young graduates go to their first job interview and ask the manager to refer to them as 'xim' rather than 'him'?  I doubt the result will be this young applicant being forwarded to the management fast track!

    Once upon a time, I got out of the Navy and attended a fine independent university in East Texas, earning a Bachelor's Degree, a teaching certificate, and a Master's Degree.  I was exposed to every conceivable point of view during that time.  I had professors who were Marxists and one who was an avowed monarchist (he had framed portraits of Louis XIV and Catherine the Great in his apartment!).  I had classmates who were gay, straight, Christian, Jewish, liberal, conservative, communist, and borderline fascist.  The beauty of the place is that we all sounded off on a regular basis, in the classroom and in the coffee shops, in our professors' presence and in their absence, about whatever came to mind.  We debated God and Darwin, Marx and Montesquieu, Locke and Lenin, with passion and force and silliness and all the earnestness that twentysomething adults can muster at that marvelous age when they know the exact solution to all the world's problems, if only someone would put them in charge.

   But today's college campuses have become a wasteland of soul-stifling political correctness and liberal intolerance.  While the movie GOD'S NOT DEAD is indeed fiction, look up the thirty or so lawsuits listed in the credits to see how those who hold traditionalist or Christian perspectives on almost any issue have been hounded, persecuted, and expelled for refusing to toe the line. All opinions are welcome in academia - unless they come from a traditional or religious perspective.  Then they must be shamed into a different way of thinking!

   One of the first things I teach in my government class is that free speech means FREE speech.  That includes speech that we disagree with, speech that disgusts us, speech that offends us.  If the most vile and obnoxious verbal expressions we can imagine are not just as protected as the most innocuous statements, then we are not a free society at all.  I may despise the hate-spewing idiots of Westboro Baptist Church, but I support their right to speak their minds.  Otherwise, the whole concept of freedom of speech is meaningless.  But more and more, our college campuses seem to be dominated by moronic thought police whose sole goal is to shame everyone who doesn't share their "enlightened" view of humanity into compliance.  Sorry, that's not what we are paying $45,000 a semester for our children to learn!

  At any rate, that's all I can make myself write about this nonsense for now.  Excuse me . . . no, sorry!


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