Becker: Oh, pronouns...what are thou?
Rick Becker is the founder and leader of the Bastiat Caucus of the North Dakota Republican Party and a member of the North Dakota legislature. He joins The Dickinson Press' opinion page as a guest columnist.
It’s 2022, and everything is better now. Russia and China will play nice. Toxicity in society will no longer be an issue. Inflation is good. Gender is fluid. Way better than 2021, right? Despite entering a new period of societal Nirvana, I have quite the conundrum; I STILL haven’t chosen my pronouns. It’s a difficult thing, though. There are so many to choose from, and much like ordering dinner at a restaurant with an eight-page menu, it’s taking me a really long time to choose.
Initially I was thinking Xe/Xim/Xiz or Zhe/Zhim/Zhiz, but then I realized I would be culturally appropriating from the Chinese. I figured I would be really clever, and go with Je/Jim/Jiz. I can put my German heritage twist on it, by pronouncing the J as a Y, and I can’t be culturally appropriating if it’s my own culture. Then I realized that when traveling to the Southwest or to Latin America, people may incorrectly apply a Spanish twist, pronouncing the J as an H. That would be kind of cool, because pronouncing it that way sounds exactly like my old-school pronouns of he/him/his. That seemed like my long sought-after answer; people could pronounce my pronouns the way they had since way back when I chose my gender at birth, and I could also fit in with the new world order of a ubiquitous subjective reality.
Alas, it later struck me that there was no way I could use this set of pronouns. The reason is intersectional fluidity (or is it fluid intersectionality). You see, it’s just too much. If I use Je/Jim/Jiz, the fluidity of gender is overlaid on the fluidity of culture, overlaid on the fluidity of race. For instance, if someone refers to me as “Jim”, replacing the old-school “him”, are they pronouncing it (Y)im thereby evoking a German ethnobias? Are they pronouncing it (H)im thereby inadvertently misattributing the treasured Latinx culture on a probable white, probable male? Or are they pronouncing it (J)im thereby entrenching the white patriarchy by using the name of a long list of oppressive white men known as Jim, such as the misogynist, Captain Kirk? See what I mean? It’s too much.
I next became even more clever by determining that my chosen pronouns would be Thee/Thou/Thine. It felt natural, and reflected the social strata as I believe it ought to be - with me as royalty. More than anything, it showed everyone how completely I embraced the subjective, inflexible wokeness in demanding that everyone be compelled to speak the way I wanted, and to pretend that they believed the world actually was the way I pretended it to be - with me as royalty. In choosing these particular pronouns, I would be proclaiming for all to see, that I believe 2+2=5. I would be one of the crowd, I would be safe, I would be double-plus good.
Then it hit me; the Woke Ones demand I choose third-person pronouns, not second person pronouns. Je/Jim/Jiz replaces he/him/his, and is used when two people are discussing the third. If I go with Thee/Thou/Thine, second-person pronouns, I probably need to go with “His Majesty” for my third-person pronoun. Although that seems perfectly reasonable to me, I must admit that it is a mouthful, and unlikely to roll off the tongue.
Although confident with my second-person pronouns, I’m still without preferred third-person pronouns. The thing is I don’t care. It’s third-person. I’m not part of the conversation, because…it’s third person! What two people discussing me in the third-person refer to me as is as much of an interest to me as which CNN employee will next be outed as a pedophile. I just don’t care.
And that belies the truth. I’m supposed to care. I’m supposed to think a certain way, act a certain way, speak a certain way. But I don’t care. It turns out 2+2=4 regardless of whether I want to fit in, or not. It doesn’t bother me if you believe 2+2=5. It does bother me that you say I must believe it.
A tiny fraction of those “offering” their pronouns truly believe the stuff, and I think that is unfortunate for them. A much larger portion offer their pronouns as a form of virtue-signaling, which is very off-putting. Jumping on any of the long list of virtue-signaling trends doesn’t alert me to your great compassion and moral superiority, rather it alerts me to the likelihood that you lack critical-thinking skills, and you are a lemming. That’s why your résumé goes to the bottom of the pile.
— Rick Becker