My Blog Week: December 12 to December 18

Posted by ractrose on 20 Dec 2021 in The Latest

A black cat, nicknamed Nortie, who serves as Torsade's site ambassador.

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A Word on the Week



Clip Art of GlobeThe Sensitivity Trap (part four)






In the mid-70s, feminists, specifically an offshoot of mainstream feminism, associated with lesbians and the music scene, introduced the spelling “womyn”; in the singular, “womon”. The point had been to exclude the patriarchy, a term radical feminists use for male-dominated cultural and societal norms, by removing the male reference. Etymologists, as with the notion of “herstory”, disagreed that the origin of woman carried any male-dominant implications. The general public, still in this era fighting passive-aggressive battles over Ms., wasn’t attracted.

But this coinage was pre-internet. How would its reintroduction, all too possible, play out today, if coopted by hostile actors hoping to destabilize us? Various celebrities would start using the spelling, tagging themselves as such in their Twitter bios. Op-ed columnists would begin doing it, and the spelling would start showing up without quotes in headlines. Male writers (sharing a reluctance with female writers, if they only knew) would decide—reasoning that being male, they don’t know, and maybe women really want this—to start using the spelling. 

A wave of social media bullying would greet anyone who expressed a dislike for the term. As the familiar pattern goes, the usage would be reduced to a good person/bad person dichotomy. If you want to be sensitive and progressive, inclusive and outreaching, you must use the term. If you don’t use the term, you are none of those things.

Even without an underlying definition (Is the term still niche? Can it be mainstreamed and retain its niche properties? Who decides, and under what circumstances?); even without proving anything bad about the accustomed terminology, the logic is wrong. Breaking only a portion of it down: What does a good person do about a perceived injustice? Take courage, take action? A bad person, we might presume, ignores it, or tries to stop anyone from fixing it. We have, on the evidence table, a word or phrase, an abstraction that can’t draft or pass laws, can’t alter behaviors, except for the inducing of self-conscious shows, or the bullying of those who won’t make them. We have a public attention-getter, that leads to curled lips, rolled eyes, feelings of alienation and fed-upness.

The evidence suggests that new PCisms do strong work to interfere with injustices being fixed. They distract, they take up time, and they turn people against causes and victims.

And if we don’t see at least one such controversy rise before America’s next crucial election, it will be surprising. As we’ve seen, people who take a position not theirs, being unable to answer questions because their internal conversation hasn’t included these thoughts, can’t sound convinced or convincing when they try to articulate their belief. Frustration leads to defensiveness and anger. The craziest of Q eruptions are the result of driving the herd into a box canyon.

Liberalism, blind to its colonial-mindedness, tends to make the mistake of seeing itself in the high seat, exercising the power to deem and mete. This idea, that a new term or fashion, or ideological development, is liberalism’s business in the first place, and that there could be urgency in whether or not liberals adopt it, and that the world can’t react to a new thing by its own instincts, but needs the Person in the High Seat to interpret for it, then tell it what it’s going to do, plays into the hands of disrupters.

We need to assume these days that functional weapons will be used as weapons. And that quantities of comments that aren’t proven to come from individuals, may come from troll farms. And that a probationary period for new PC is just fine.

It actually is the property of the oppressed person, that decision on how to feel, and what to do—and everyone given full adult rights, has among these the right to be foolish, and to learn. Kindly liberals should leave space for those most concerned to set their own course.

Which might involve pursuing better government and new laws, and not adopting terms at all.







On Monday, a new Jumping Off poem; on Tuesday, a fresh episode of The Sword Decides!, with Carlo and the sister of Raymond de Cabane at Giovanna’s politic masquerade. Wednesday, Hammersmith, Aimee better trusted as courier than Vic. Thursday, “The Blue Bird”, Gitana setting off to discover what she can; and Friday, part six of Catastrophe, Hess describing the panic at Fort-de-France. This week I posted nothing on Saturday, and will be taking Saturdays off for the foreseeable future, so I can get more of several projects done.
Images on my posts often have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.







My Blog Week: December 12 to December 18


Take Your Place (poem)
December 13


Marjorie Bowen: The Sword Decides! (part forty-six)
December 14


Hammersmith: Tunneling Through (chapter thirty-six)
December 15


The Blue Bird (part two)
December 16


Catastrophe (part six)
December 17



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