Have you noticed that the nut-job murderer in Tuscon isn't a "Gunner", or "Gun Wielder" or "Gun Criminal"? Just like the recent rioters and various restive sorts in Tunisia, he's been openly called a "GunMAN ".
Not only does the Tuscon Nut Job have a built-in mistrial so generously pre-packaged for him courtesy of the oily-jawed Local Sheriff, I think by enlisting the help of Gloria Alred, he could have a fighting chance at a Speech Code Violation lawsuit. Maybe he's even been a victim of a Hate Crime. Who knows?
All over the media he's being referred to as "Tuscon Gunman Jared Loughner". This sort of language is blatantly sexist, and is preying on our ingrained paternalistic instincts, and we ought to demand more from our public discourse. We should demand more civility .
We've invented all sorts of clever and inoffensive ways to avoid sex gender-specific titles-- and yet, to this day, we can do no better than to call a lone nut-job murderer a "Gun-MAN".
I will point out that, in our quest for ever-greater sensitivity, our Firemen are called "Firefighters". Our Policemen are now referred to as "Law Enforcement Personnel". The construction signs along the road that used to proclaim "Men Working" now oh-so-deferentially say "Work Zone Ahead". As I say, "clever ".
In baseball, we no longer have "men on base", rather, "baserunners". City Councils are replete with "Councilpersons". Every local PTA has a "Chairperson", or, even more existentially, a "Chair".
We've even emasculated perfectly noble and time honored terms: Both male and female practitioners of comedy are "Comedians"; we no longer have "comediennes ". Instead of "Bachelors" and "Spinsters", --that is, older unmarried types, both male and female--, we have "Bachelors" and "Bachelorettes"; Where I come from, a "Bachelorette" is a tiny bachelor. And I think Barbara Eden may have been the last "actress" in the United States; Hollywood only has "actors" now.
Even simple human sexuality itself isn't safe from the speech code enforcers. We now check off the box on the census form marked "Gender", even though "gender" is a linguistic, not biologic, term: It refers only to how nouns and titles are handled in language, which, of course, can be "gender neutral"--unlike the human body, which is an either-or proposition. But, we're very sensitive to the, er, transgendered, in our quest to assist them in the make-believe flim-flam that their bodies, right down to the chromosomes, (even if they've handed some surgeon a check for $30,000) remain strictly "M" or "F". These folks, you see, have a "gender identity" issue.
The ONLY exception to this rule is "GunMAN". The world is still chock-full of "Gun-MEN". We are still very, very gender-specific about THIS one. As a denizen of Fly Over Country, I am wondering why this term, out of all the perfectly fine titles and descriptors, has missed the attention of the Easily Offended Lobby. Could sexism be at the root?
The Jill Ireland's, and the Bill Maher's, and the Andrea Dworkin's might be quick to muscle forward and point out that this is only appropriate, in that ALL crazed nut-job murderers are MEN, and thus, the term is very appropriate. Why this logic doesn't extend to say, road contractors and the MEN WORKING signs (where the only woman you ever see is --excuse me--manning the the flashing arrow signs, getting a tan and eating a sandwich, but not working like her filthy, sweaty, tar-spreader male compatriot) is beyond my ken. Beside, what of Professor Amy Bishop? Was she a "lone gunman"? Oops, I forgot: The incident involving the coquettish Mzz Bishop wasn't widely reported, and thus, the reportage didn't need to catch up.
This is what happens when we allow the Left to tie our language, and thus our culture, into useless knots. We are so damned worried about people's feelings, about the words we use, about the offenses people might take at the slightest provocation, that we are suddenly well on our way to outlawing the very expression of conservative thought. It would be uncivil .
If we keep heading in this direction, it will soon be unlawful to listen to conservative voices-- after all, these voices always seem to be the Usual Suspects that get rounded up by the liberal Gestapo when a Nut Job pops off somewhere. Now, all of a sudden, It is "uncivil" to disagree with Barack Obama. And, the newly ensconced Speaker of the House better figure this out in a hurry, before he gets thrown into the hoosegow.
... And finds he has to bunk-up with a Lone GunMAN.