18 December 2015

Obcessions, obcessions

While some of you are obc{P}essed with reviving archaic orthographies, here am I working my socks off at the philological coal-face of logogenesis. I do this by combing through the undergraduate freebie newspapers. Here is a recent specimen of my discoveries (do not write in giving examples of the use of the following word as far back as 1464 or even 2014, or I may have to hurt you, as we schoolmasters say).

CISHET. (Substantive.) The syllables apparently divide between the S and the H. A combination of "cismale" or "cisfemale" with "heterosexual". In other words, a "cishet" is the sort of tedious and boring person whose physiology is surgically unmodified, and who also is forced to spend his or her life labouring under the burden of an incurable heterosexual orientation. I suspect it may be designed to supplant the now obsolete term "straight". (Readers who hobble on walking sticks to 'bus stops while clutching their 'bus passes in their arthritic fingers may remember a distant day when the word used to indicate this phenomenon was "normal". My assumption is that each term, after achieving acceptance and usage, gradually comes ... for whatever reason ... to be deemed politically incorrect. Rather as we always seem to be in need of a new term for Urinals.)

In case it might help, I invite you to consider the picture at the side of this blog.

This is what a cishet looks like. 

8 comments:

Woody said...

Stop reading those newspapers, Father. It's bad for your health.

viterbo said...

Lord have mercy. 'obessession' with truth can 'ruin' everything.

geneticallycatholic said...

This post just whizzed over my head. Though it must be funny, because intuitively, I chuckled all the way through reading it.

Charlesdawson said...

Re: the multiplicity of synonyms for urinals: The phenomenon is known as pejoration - the slow change of status from euphemism to dysphemism. Of course, there is also a reverse process - by which a term which is considered to be abusive is readopted by the targets of that abuse. Examples: what the Daily Mail calls "the N word". Or "cripple" and "crip" as used among disabled people.

Language is fascinating.

Rose Marie said...

I had no idea. I don't think that "cishet" has appeared here across The Pond, but then I am probably not moving in the right circles. I shall pick up the freebie student newspaper at the university up the street when I go to the gym. No doubt it will apprise me of still other modern wonders.

Yet, there is some gratification in knowing that the neologists find Latin to be the preferred vehicle for their inventiveness. Keep whacking that coalface, Father!

Highland Cathedral said...

Talking of the way that terms constantly change, I am reminded of an incident which took place in my classroom – possibly in the 1980s. In a class where I was teaching about ‘Ethnic Minorities in the USA’ I made the huge mistake of talking about ‘coloured people’. (After Negro became unacceptable, this was the accepted term and indeed there is still, in the USA, an organisation called the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People.) Having used the term, ‘coloured people’ I was then assailed by a pupil of Asian background who criticised my use of the term. Appreciating that I may not have kept fully up-to-date with all developments I asked the pupil what term I should have used instead. ‘Black’ she replied. Intrigued, I asked her what term I should use when referring to, for example, Chinese people. ‘Black’ she told me. Of course, the irony is that the new ‘Black’ is ‘African-American’. However, the serious point here is that he who determines the language determines the public morality. Just think of what now counts as ‘homophobia’.

Thomas said...

There was a recent article on the BBC web site about the rising demand in universities on both sides of the Atlantic to use what are termed "non-binary pronouns" to replace "him/her" etc. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-34901704). How long before such absurdly sinister and ugly 'newspeak' starts to appear on government forms with the demand that we all categorize ourselves in these anti-sexual, anti-sacramental terms?

Tony V said...

I suppose cishet is the opposite of transhet, which is of course a trangendered person who's attracted to--or perhaps who attracts--something or other.

The nonsense starts small and then snowballs down the slippery slope. Our parish Laudate hymnal has bent over backwards to avoid the word 'men' (without acknowledging that the words have been tampered with). Because everyone knows that females are offended by words like 'men', unless of course they're transhomo, in which case it's OK, in small doses.