Who are we, and what are we supposed to call ourselves?
This was the question that greeted us upon our return from vacation recently. Prior to our falling off the grid, the
breezily reported on the growing availability of sexual identities to our youth (“
I identify as pansexual, nonbinary, demi
”). We learned upon our re-emergence that the lexiconic contagion had floated up the masthead.
“I am your stereotypical, cisgender, middle-aged suburban dad,” newish op-ed columnist Farhad Manjoo sheepishly admitted at the start of his manifesto entitled “It’s Time for ‘They.’” Spurred by observing the “gendered constructs” that were dooming his son and daughter to stereotypical boy/girl behaviors (“they gravitated to boy toys and girl toys, boy colors and girl colors, boy TV shows and girl TV shows”), he argued for abandoning from everyday use the words “him” and “her,” and “he” and “she,” in favor of “they” and “them.”
“Gender is a ubiquitous prison for the mind,” he said. It was time to break free.
The story would have ended there but for the avalanche of responses from his readers – 2,259 at last count. While the columnist had his supporters, many others were appalled at what they viewed as political correctness. Some were amused. Others worried for the very future of liberalism.
- “Farhad has stepped up his game to be relevant. May they please do it elsewhere.”
- “There are two genders. Pick one.”
- “It’s as if a New York Times columnist suddenly declared that the word ‘eight’ is the number of legs a dog has.”
- “This is akin to debating the interior color scheme on the Boeing 737 Max.”
- “Imagine having space to write anything you want in the world’s most valuable print real estate, at this moment in time, and deciding this is what you want to say.”
- This article is not as funny as one several years ago where the Times posited that an ‘artist’s’ dive off a high bridge was ‘performance art’ rather than a suicide.”
- “Western civilization is coming to an end. The liberal West is becoming a joke.”
- “File under ‘How Trump Got Elected.’