In MY STUDY. May 19, 2012
A Unanimous DECLARATION of PRONOUN INDEPENDENCE
When in the Course of writing, it becomes necessary for one pronoun to describe the similarities in subject that connect one person with another, and yet still assume the shared experience among all the people of the earth, despite the separate and equal genders to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God assigned those people, a decent respect to the opinions of literary convenience requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to separation from the use of He or She in favor of simply They.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, which includes women. They are endowed by their Creator with certain capabilities, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of the shortest and most efficient pronoun possible to make reading and point making concise and simplified. —That to assume these efficiencies, Grammar is insinuated among Men and Women, deriving its influence from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Grammar becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the Writer to alter or to ignore it, and to institute a new Grammar, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its guidelines in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect a reasonable and easily understood story, article or report. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Grammar long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer writing long and unwieldy strings of words like “he or she”, while such evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the absurd forms to which they were forced by the hyper-sensitivity of the Sixties, Feminism and all things P.C. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Grammatical Absurdity, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Grammar, and to provide new Guidelines for intelligent future pronoun use.—Such has been the patient sufferance of this Writer; and such is now the necessity which constrains me to alter my former System of Grammar and pronoun use. The grammatical history of the present use of He or She as the only “correct” choice in the case of a single ambiguous yet universal subject is a history of repeated long-windedness and unnecessary gender sensitivity, all having in direct object the insulting of the collective American intellect and the imposition of a ridiculous set of rules for which there is actually no enforcing body anyway. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid reading world.
He or She has failed to seem natural or normal in writing, especially when used repeatedly in a single paragraph or page.
He or She is lame given that the simple use of the word They works perfectly well for singular ambiguous subjects.
He or She is more complicated, not less, while They confuses no one, as it is widely understood that the words everyone, anyone, anybody, somebody, etc. refer to lots of people despite being directed at “one.”
He or She has no precedence, while They does: You has been universally accepted and understood as both a singular and plural pronoun in English for a long time and has never confused anyone, making They, Them and Their perfectly reasonable options like You and Yours.
He or She is pointless because grammar is about maintaining and enabling communication, and given that there is no one out there who does not understand what I mean when I say, “Everybody needs to think about this if they believe in living under reasonable grammatical rules,” requiring He or She is pointless.
He or She in place of the old He, while technically more accurate, did not change the fact that there are still more men in certain positions, that pay is not equal yet, or that guys still like to look at cleavage all the time.
He or She in place of the old He, while technically more accurate, did not somehow magically encourage little girls to go to science camp or become fighter pilots; that comes from parenting and natural aptitude.
He or She makes for terrible sentences like: “If a writer wants to say something to everyone but begins the statement with a singular subject like everyone then he or she must use the phrase he or she every time he or she wants to make any reference to what the ‘he or she’ of the everyone has in mind for him or herself to do or understand.” Insistence upon or even the mere suggestion of using He or She stands as an outrage to the intelligence of anyone who has to endure reading or writing such things.
Given these truths, I, therefore, as Representative of reason in writing in the United States of America, in my study, Seated, appealing to the reasonable and thinking readers and writers of the world for the rectitude of my intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of myself and people who think like me, solemnly publish and declare, That this pronoun habit of He or She is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as a proper and reasonable replacement the word They and its derivative their shall be instituted and deemed proper for use in all situations so suitable, and regardless of whether the ambiguous subject is singular or plural. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the common sense and clarity of thought contained in the minds of most literate folk, free from the edicts of political correctness and hyper sensitivity, I call upon others to mutually pledge with me, to each other our support and our confirmation of this pronoun They as absolute and correct for future use.
Signatories Below do Hereby Endorse and Declare the above to be true:
I have a friend that despises the use of the word “they” in place of he or she. My friend thinks that he or she should be able to use three words instead of one, even if he or she makes so much less sense by using all of those words. He or she will be thrilled to read this declaration and he or she will probably leave a comment or two regarding it, although he or she might be well served to simply accept that the English language is continually evolving and that sometimes what is easiest also happens to be the best option.
It ain’t me, Babe. Or, maybe I should say, It ain’t us, Babe.
hah! Exactly. I posted this on a forum and already got a little snarky comment from one person who wanted me to understand, I think, that all the cool people already knew this and had moved on. lol. I love people who have a grammatical stick up their ass, they amuse me just like Popsicles and corndogs do.
I hereby affix my signature to such a worthy and noble cause.
I would like to quibble, though, that transgender folk might argue that neither Nature nor God necessarily assigned a gender. Oh, the politics of queerdom.
Or perhaps Nature or God assigned more than one? Still an assignment, just not an easily defined one in a world that insists there are only two options.
Yeah, and the Oxford comma too.
What, you don’t think that I should be able to be mad, glad and sad at the same time I want to rant, rave, and complain?