As one of the reactionaries who still reveres my old-guard position, I’m not ready to “man-up”and join the 21st century. In my defense, I’ll use the words of Alexander Pope, who wrote: “Be not the first by whom the new are tried/Nor the last to lay the old aside.”
So far, the 21st century hasn’t impressed me that much. Paula Ann Costis, letter Aug. 24, complained about the subtle and not so subtle implications of gender-neutral language impeding the status and advancement of women. All I can say is, huh? By all means, use words like “womankind,” “woman power,” “foremothers,” “women made,” and “she,” as a revered deity. Polytheism is still practiced today in some cultures and goddesses abound.
One of my favorite poems, a dirge by Robert Burns has two lines that stand out: “Man’s inhumanity to Man/Makes countless thousands mourn.” It is powerful and compelling. I rewrote it using “man and Woman’s inhumanity to Man and Woman/Makes countless thousands mourn.” It fell flat and had no strength. But it was gender neutral.
Finally, I will use the words of William Shakespeare in “Hamlet:” “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”
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Ted Messerlian, Fresno