"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Last night, I pointed out -- quietly and to only one other editor, I should add, considering the way things are turning out -- that pronouns didn't seem like they ought to be negotiable, and that the media ought to stick to its guns and not change essential facts and realities of a thing just to make some source happy.
I could tell by the look I got in return that I had strayed from the fold of "sensitivity" into "judgmentalism." This wasn't about language and grammar. This was a test.
The only thing like an argument I got in return was, "Well, he had a sex change operation." But I remember this case from before: He hasn't. He's legally changed his name from "Henry" to "Julie," but he's physiologically still a man, living as a woman, with eye shadow and 5-o'clock shadow both evident in his mug shot.
He's in a men's prison and the officials in the case, quoted in the story, refer to him as "Mr. ______."
And this doesn't even get into the question of whether lopping it off and claiming you're no longer a man makes you a woman. I'll let the women decide if that respects them or not. I can legally change my name to "cat" and get whiskers surgically implanted. I can file my teeth and eat cat food and lick my a** and lie around the house all day. I don't think that makes me a "cat."
Apparently we are heading toward a state of affairs where, in the view of the sensitivity police, this indeed would make you a cat.
The question for journalists, writers and historians:
How can you convey what's true if accurate language is replaced with New Speak?