4.1125 Gender Yet Again (3/135)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Mon, 4 Mar 91 19:52:14 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 1125. Monday, 4 Mar 1991.

(1) Date: Sun, 03 Mar 91 18:33:51 EST (33 lines)
From: Lesli LaRocco <OZVY@CORNELLA>
Subject: Gender and More Gender

(2) Date: Mon, 04 Mar 91 09:42:10 GMT (13 lines)
From: stephen clark <AP01@liverpool.ac.uk>
Subject: Re: Wer & Wo Man

(3) Date: Sun, 3 Mar 1991 20:19:41 EST (89 lines)
Subject: some satiric humor on word choice on gender, imagery, etc.

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Sun, 03 Mar 91 18:33:51 EST
From: Lesli LaRocco <OZVY@CORNELLA>
Subject: Gender and More Gender

Ms. Peterson's [sic] suggestion to add the morpheme "co" strikes me as
extreme, not to mention unnecessary in words such as "cofemale" (would
this mean a female of *both* genders?!). Further, such a stipulation
(say, in articles submitted to the MLA, dissertations, etc.) would
begin to create a real diglossia in those countries which adopted it;
gender-neutral language would be the tongue of the educated, while the
common folk would no doubt go along in their blissful ignorance
referring to one another as "women" and "men."

The MLA and other journals should emphatically *not* follow their
brethren [sic !] at the American Psychological Association in requiring
gender-neutral langua ge. It is, as Ms. Peterson [sic] states, a
*political* issue, and therefore such guidelines are inappropriate.
Ms. Peterson [sic] calls this "a powerful incentive to accomplish
language change." It sounds more like academic blackmail to me.

As for Ms. Peterson's [sic] use of [sic] when citing any male-biased
word, I object to her statement that this is "for the coming generation
... to indicate t hat the masculine bias in old texts is how the
language was then used, and that it is not how the language is *now*
used." Ms. Peterson [sic] seems to think th at *now* we all strive to
change the language. *We* all do not! Some of us treat morphemes as
morphemes, not as chains which prevent our success, or as potential
brain-washing techniques.

Why must we devote our energies to such peripheral issues? Why not put
the ener gy into equal pay for equal merit? I doubt very much that the
poor women of the world care how you spell "woman" or where you put a
[sic]. They, and the men i n their world, will never even be aware of
such changes in the isolated world o f the university. Give 'em a fair
paycheck. Then I'll applaud your efforts!

Lesli LaRocco (ozvy@cornella.bitnet)
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------23----
Date: Mon, 04 Mar 91 09:42:10 GMT
From: stephen clark <AP01@liverpool.ac.uk>
Subject: Re: Wer & Wo Man

I have a book on my shelves by M.A.R.Tuker 'Past and Future of Ethics'
(OUP 1938) which proposes that Man connote the human race, and wer or
werman be the male person - after Anglo-Saxon and - he says - Spanish -
with its roots in the Gothic Vair (= Latin vir). This, he says, will
remove the suggestion that wo-man is a cadet to the man. He also spells
the gender 'femel' to avoid the suggestion that it is fe-male. Did
anyone pick up this suggestion? Does anyone know anything about Tuker?

(3) --------------------------------------------------------------96----
Date: Sun, 3 Mar 1991 20:19:41 EST
Subject: some satiric humor on word choice on gender, imagery, etc.

One Saturday in February, 1990, Peggy Noonan, former White House speech
writer, was interviewed on National Public Radio by Bob Edwards, on the
occasion of the publication of a book about her experiences. Probably
some HUMANIST subscribers remember it.

At one point she gave the Gettysburg Address as an example of how a
committee might change it, reflecting their various agendas and
constituencies. I took her comments and elaborated on them at the time.
Now, to leaven the recent serious comments on terms for gender, I thought
offer this version of the Gettysburg Address (recognizing that the GA has
probably been lampooned, satirized, and rewritten many times for many

[Lincoln's Chief of Staff is speaking to various members of the Cabinet]

OK, thank you all for making this meeting. We have a lot of business to go
through. First, President Lincoln's just given me the draft of an address
he's going to give at Gettysburg tomorrow. I think there are a few rough
edges and I'd like to do a quick read-through. Please state your
suggestions as we go along.

Fourscore and seven years ago
our fathers
_And mothers!_
brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty,
_We don't want that sexual imagery!_
and dedicated to the proposition
_The idea_
that all men
_and women!_
are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war,
_A major struggle_
testing whether that nation, or any nation
_Whether a nation_
so conceived
_Sexual imagery again!_
and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of
that war.
_Let's make sure the President is standing close to the flag
for the cameras._
We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place
for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.
_To keep the country alive_
It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a
larger sense, we cannot dedicate -- we cannot consecrate -- we cannot
hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here,
have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world
will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never
forget what they did here.
_A rifle volley would be good here_
It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished
work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is
rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us,
-- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause
for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here
highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain --
_We need a good sound bite. How about if the President
says "Read my lips, we won!" or "We kicked ass."_
that this nation, under God,
_Under a Christian God_
shall have a new birth
_An uncontrolled birth_
of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the
_And the people's government_
shall not perish from the earth.
_Will live on_