The University of Michigan has decided that its students may now choose the personal pronoun by which teachers and faculty must refer to them. Students will have the options of “he,” “she” or — wait for it — “ze.”
So a young man can now opt into being referred to as “she” or “ze,” while young women can now be “he” or “ze.” Any actual zes out there, I expect, will opt to remain castrato.
The whole point of this bizarre policy is to be “inclusive,” so that no one hurts the wittle snowflakes’ feewings.
Well, isn’t that special?
That’s not even the best part, though. This policy didn’t just fall from the sky. Guess who created it? Go on, guess.
The Pronoun Committee.
Let me say that again. Pronoun Committee.
I just love saying that — Pronoun Committee.
That means there is actually a group of people who went through school themselves (presumably without being confused for a ze rather than a he or she), successfully overcame all the challenges and rigors necessary to earn professional degrees, passed job interviews to land a university-level teaching position, only to spend their lunch breaks sitting around a table, debating pronouns.
“Is anybody else uncomfortable with ‘we’? It’s just been bugging me for a long time, man. Keeping me up at nights.”
“Don’t say ‘man.’ That’s sexist. And what are we — wait, what word can we use besides ‘we’?”
“All right. What are te going to do about indefinite pronouns or those fascist interrogative pronouns?”
“Hey, one disaster at a time, ma- … im? — mim. I can’t … sigh … what’s the word te use for ‘I’?”
The burden for enacting this ridiculousness will fall on faculty and staff, which means the Pronoun Committee won’t be eating in the faculty cafeteria anytime soon, if “zey” know what’s good for “zem.” Aside from making everyone sound like cheesy Hollywood Nazis, one suspects the sudden Tower of Babel effect created by the Pronoun Committee’s work might put professors in a grumpy mood.
A memo from the administration said, “Faculty members play a vital role in ensuring all of our community feels valued, respected and included. Given that this process is new, we ask that faculty members review their rosters again in mid- to late October to give students time to designate their pronouns. Asking about and correctly using someone’s designated pronoun is one of the most basic ways to show respect for their identity and to cultivate an environment that respects all gender identities.”
Using the wrong pronoun won’t result in punitive action … so long as you apologize and don’t do it again!
This is just one of those slow-motion train wrecks you can see rumbling down the tracks from miles away.
Public mentions of the policy have offered up he, she and ze, but what about:
- His, her … zis … zer?
- Him, her … zim … zer … zimzer?
- I … Zi?
- You … zou?
- We … zwe?
OK, maybe we can muddle through that, but how are professors going to keep track of who’s what — or zho’s zhat — when Johnny is a she, Suzanna’s a ze, Phantasia’s a he, and Bob is whatever the personal pronoun for a Middle Earth orc is, because he identifies? And I guarantee with seventy-some genders, a hundred nationalities and a half-dozen fashionable species to choose from, that list of pronouns will only grow. After all, we have to accommodate the aromantic fluid femme closeted cisgender metrosexual lipstick lesbian half-elf felines who feel like cisgender Native Americans (to use Sen. Elizabeth Warren as an example).
What if a student feels like a dude in the morning, a dame in the afternoon and a dragon at night? The professor’s going to get in trouble if ze forgets what identity zou are at that moment? (And if you don’t like the word “dame,” get out of my safe space.)
And what happens if someone chooses “Biff” as a personal pronoun because “feeling safe” means he can’t submit to the grammarchy represented by the Pronoun Committee, and he sues the university to demand that “Biff,” normally a proper noun, should now be his exclusive pronoun in all uses, even though his name is Steve, and that “Biff” should also on occasion serve as an adverb, adjective and verb, in appropriate situations.
“Biff is so Biff when he Biffs. Zi wish zi could Biff like Biff Biffs. Don’t zou wish zat zou could Biff like Biff, Buffy?”
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say I’m against all this pompous pronoun preposterousness. (Sorry, my alliteration button seems to have gotten stuck for a moment.) It makes less sense than a Monty Python script.
College students should not be allowed to choose their pronoun. I think it’s a bad idea letting most of them use nouns, forget letting them go “pro.”
It all reminds me of that old Steve Martin bit about playing a dirty trick on a 3-year-old by talking wrong, so that on his first day of kindergarten, the kid raises his hand and says, “May I mambo dogface to the banana patch?”
The way PC colleges are messing with the English language, that may soon be considered Shakespeare.