Interesting fact of the day, for those of you who don’t think so much about the words you use: “Amen”, which christian people customarily say at the end of a prayer, doesn’t actually have anything to do with men. It’s derived from Ancient Hebrew, the language of the jewish people at the time of the old testament, and it means “so be it”, or “let it be”.
Unfortunately, over in the US House of Representatives – the world’s greatest deliberative body, no less – they haven’t quite gotten the memo. No, this isn’t a skit, it’s quite real:
The prayer to open the 117th Congress ended with “Amen” and “Awoman”
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) January 3, 2021
Notably, this isn’t just one person freelancing in stupidity, which is often the case in these situations. It’s actually part of a whole new set of rules the Democratic Congress has adopted, around language:
The Rules Package for the 117th Congress includes a proposal to replace gendered language referring to a representative’s family members with gender-neutral terms, House leaders announced Friday.
References to fathers, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives and in-laws would be changed to “parent, child, sibling, spouse, or parent-in-law,” according to the resolution. Extended family members would be referred to as “child’s parent” instead of aunt or uncle, stepparents, and siblings-in-law.
It’s important to remember, of course, that modern politics is mainly about winning votes from outrage, and that the point of stuff like this is not actually to stifle language, or enforce groupthink, or whatever.
No, the point is that both sides win from this nonsense. A set of rules like this is perfectly set up for Republican Congressmen (and women!) to ostentatiously break the rules. “Nobody’s going to tell me I can’t say “uncle”!” – that sort of thing. In the cesspit that is modern American politics, anything that can drive donations is an unqualified good.
The truth, of course, is that “spouse” and “wife”, for example, are two words that mean almost exactly the same thing. Most official forms, for example, use “spouse” instead of “husband or wife” for the sake of conserving space. In normal times, nobody would be offended by words like husband, wife, or spouse.
The thing about this push for linguistic conformity, though, is that it really does reveal the instincts and objectives of those who seek it. It’s a bit of a cliché to cite George Orwell’s magnificent 1984, but it’s worth remembering that in that book, the party’s objective was to control thought by limiting the number of acceptable words. That’s also the basic objective behind stuff like this: If we can remove words like “wife” and “husband” from common useage, and replace them permanently with a gender-neutral term, then the very concept of gender will have been deleted from the language, and thus, in time, from our thoughts. That’s the objective, and, to be fair, proponents of this change are pretty open about it.
The problem, of course, is twofold: First, to successfully accomplish this kind of sweeping change, you probably really do need a fully totalitarian society. And even in the wokest country in the world, which is the crucible for all this nonsense, that’s basically impossible. If Donald Trump can’t overturn an election, then Democrats can’t ban words.
The second problem is that it’s a war on human instincts, which simply can’t be won. “Amen and Awoman” is actually a good example of that. Though it’s a laudable attempt to woke-ify prayer, the correctly gender neutral ending would actually have been “aperson”, not “amen and awoman”.
Even the attempt to take gender out of prayer (where it never was to begin with) just ends up inserting more gender into it.
And the bonus third problem? It’s just too ridiculous, and ripe for comedy, isn’t it? When we see someone saying “amen and awomen”, most of us don’t smile benignly in praise of the progressive instincts of the person doing the praying. At best, we roll our eyes, and at worst, we snort in laughter.
After all, you didn’t click on this because you thought “oh, that’s interesting”.
You clicked because you thought “that’s so stupid”.
And you’re right. It is.