28 January 2021

Babel Revisited

According to a Times columnist, some (American) woman called Pelosi has "announced that 'mother', 'father', 'daughter', 'brother', and other gendered words to describe familial relationships would be removed from House rules. Henceforth in official documents they would be replaced by the gender-neutral terms 'parent', 'child', or 'sibling'. The purpose of this was to 'honour all gender identities'. ... Pelosi declared that gender-neutral language is 'future focused'."

Of course, there's nothing new or original about the determination of tyrants to remake Man by remaking language. Herr Goebels understood this, and 'George Orwell' wrote a rather good book about it.

Gradualism, naturally, will be the order of the day. But, unless Clio deftly and radically redirects matters, first it will become merely socially maladroit to use such terms. Then we shall move on to the familiar ritual formalities of 'offended students' complaining about being 'hurt' and 'made to feel unsafe' by the use of banned words in academic fora. Then the no-platformings, the sackings and the houndings will get under way. What a gift to the stupid, the mediocre, and the self-righteous. Another triumph for the Philological Department of Our Father Below.

This Pelosi, I think I read somewhere, claims to be a "Catholic". One wonders if she ever uses the Our Father, the Hail Mary, or the Creed. And here I am not just making an obvious point against one silly old woman. The whole of the Liturgy and the Scriptures would need to be radically remade in order to give effect to her new dogma. Perhaps, quod avertat Clio, this will be the next major cultural battle-ground in society at large; with, of course, a fifth column ... people like Pelosi ... within the Church herself, urging upon us "retranslated" liturgies and bibles. The numbers of invalid baptisms will soar as trendy clergy mangle the forma.

A job here, perhaps, for poor dim little Cupich in 'rolling out' Our Parent Who Art in Heaven and Holy Mary Parent of God through the Anglosphere ... just in case the erudite and convivial Mgr Wadsworth were to feel that the task was not entirely ICEL's Cup of Tea ...

As Merlinus Ambrosius departed from the chaos at Belbury, he was heard to shout Qui Verbum Dei contempserunt, iis auferetur etiam verbum hominis.


commenter said...

I think some respect is due to the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Personally, I don't think that clergymen would welcome being described as "silly old men". I also don't think that it is quite cricket to describe Nancy Pelosi as "some (American) woman", "This Pelosi" and "one silly old woman". But maybe the Oxford of the middle decades of the 20th century bred or tolerated rougher manners than I experienced there in the 1970s.

The game, if game it is, is given away by the knowing, or otherwise completely unexplained, reference to "the House".

Parliamentary language - at least in those parliaments which follow Erskine May's codification of Westminster conventions - is often admirably gender neutral. The impersonal use of "Honourable/Right Honourable Member for XYZ" in the British Parliament has its origins in the need to depersonalise debates. But it meant that when the first women members took their seats, neither the Standing Orders nor the courtesies in the Chamber required the slightest alteration.

Personally, I am less offended than you are, and I think that in seeing this as "the determination of tyrants to remake Man by remaking language" you are maybe protesting too much - perhaps to conceal the direction of your flight.

Atticus said...

They muck you up, your mum and dad
(Or “Parent One” and “Parent Two”,
As we should call them). They were bad
To let themselves be sexed by you.

But they were gendered by their folks,
Who didn’t have the nous to see
That under such oppressive yokes
As “his” and “her” we can’t be free.

“Man” hands on misery, for sure,
To many-gendered humankind.
Come out the closet that is your
Refusal to be gender-blind.

Unknown said...

Ah, but some terminology did 'require' a change. Whither the old 'Chairman's Panel', to be replaced by a 'Panel of Chair's, notwithstanding(!) the fact that a Chairman of Ways and Means is still a Chairman regardless of sex. And we now have Chairs of Select Committees, while perhaps oddly the Standing Orders are still festooned with what might now be called gender-loaded language, as a quick perusal would make clear.

I think all the clergymen I know are quite used to occasionally being called silly old men - and bear that tag with a smile. Indeed some are used to being called silly old women by silly old men who think that wearing liturgical/clerical dress makes them somehow effeminate.

I think, in Pelosi's case, calling her a silly old woman is almost the kindest appellation once could use, given how she has so breathtakingly used her self-labelling as Catholic for political advantage while dismissing so much of the teaching of the Church so lightly.

Gillineau said...

May the Good Lord protect us from the subtle thoughts of Oxford graduates. She's a lot worse than silly, and may be named so without so much as the memory of a shadow of a stain upon the conscience.

Mark said...

"Amen and awoman!" ;)

Grant Milburn said...

Eheu! Person that is born of person is of few days and full of trouble.

PM said...

I understand that her Ordinary in California, the excellent Archbishop Cordileone, has now issued a formal, public correction of her obnoxious views on abortion. More strength to his arm!

Dale Crakes said...

Are you referring to Cardinal Cupich of Chicago? It sounds like something he'd come up with.

Terry said...

I too, "Commenter", was struck by Father Hunwicke's references to "some (American) woman called Pelosi", "this Pelosi" and "one silly old woman".

But I was not surprised.

The use of disrespectful and condescending language when referring to those with whom one disagrees would seem to be rather an idée fixe in this blog. Other recent examples include: a cardinal referred to as "poor dim little Cupich" in the same post; on 24 January " God bless his cotton socks! Long may he cling!" in relation to Robert Mickens; and on 12 January Greta Thunberg referred to as " the Silly Swede". Surely it is obvious that seeking to demean one's opponents in this way simply weakens the argument one is attempting to make.

And of course there is a huge irony in the use of such disrespectful and dismissive language only a few weeks after having made such a fuss (on 3 January) about how to refer correctly to the "younger son of either a Duke or a Marquis" etc. etc.

But I think you have hit the nail on the head, "Commenter", with your final sentence. Both the condescending language and the obsession with the punctilious use of anachronistic titles could both be seen as examples of "protesting too much - perhaps to conceal the direction of your flight."

Terry Loane

Gillineau said...

Did you graduate from Oxford in the Seventies, as well? Just in case you wondered, standing up when a woman enters a room, or lifting your hat when you pass one in the street, doesn't really make you a decent sort, if you support the murder of children. And if you do support the killing of children, you probably deserve to be referred to as a touch worse than silly.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Mr Loane, it is crucial in the matter of abortion to observe the courtesies. Speaker Murderer Pelosi, always.

Voice from the roof top said...

God bless you Fr. John. Respect has to be commanded, not demanded. Pro-abortion people do not command respect whether it is POTUS or Speaker of USHR.

ccc said...

Father, Pelosi is that weird type of Catholic who actually does seem to be able to beentirely bipolar and feel justified in it.

I spent the last 30 years of my life in DC. I was married in St. Peter's on Capitol Hill, which is the "House side" parish for Catholics. I was a staffer for well over a decade and saw her go to morning weekday Mass quite often.

Just entirely bizarre.

She seems to be a type of Catholic where Catholicism is so ingrained at a ethno-lifestyle level that she is unable to "seperate" from it emotionally or as part of her life, even though she could care less about many of the actual teachings of the Church.

Gillineau said...

Listen to this, Tel: prolifers put abortion above the principle of democracy, according to Pelosi. One wonders what side she'd have adopted in the campaign against slavery: would abolitionists also have sought to undermine the principle of democracy? Like then, any democracy that stands on the sweat and maw of the defenceless, is nothing of the sort.

She's a monstrous old hag and a stain on the reputation of Catholicism in particular and Christianity generally.

Gillineau said...

Link here: https://youtu.be/v_Ja_WhhV4c

Terry said...

Thank you, Anthony, for taking the trouble to respond to my comment, but I fear you may have missed the main point. I was not writing about Pelosi, or indeed about pro-abortionists, per se. I gave four examples of people who had been referred to disrespectfully, and the other three were not, as far as I am aware, in favour of abortion. It is interesting, and of course pleasing, that nobody here has (so far) chosen to disagree with my main point. I will regard that as a case of qui tacet consentire videtur, ubi loqui debuit ac potuit.

Terry Loane