JOURNAL : 12.15.20
The great thing about the English language is its ability to adapt and evolve over time, incorporating all manner of words and phrases, whether invented or borrowed, and even changing definitions, spelling, uses and meaning over time to fit the culture. People get upset by this, but that’s the entire point. The language doesn’t exist on its own, but is merely a means by which to communicate the culture. As the culture changes, so must our ability to communicate, so therefore our language must adapt to survive and remain relevant. This includes normalizing previously incorrect usage and adopting slang into normative syntax. It’s just the way it is, and always has been, and explains why we don’t speak the King’s English, although it’s certain that his subjects no longer do either.
The Gene Pool
Despite changing attitudes concerning interracial couples, the vast majority of people tend to marry (or not) and produce children, within their own racial boundaries. There doesn’t seem to me nearly as much mixing as you would think, but it seems far more cultural then anything else. Meaning it has more to do with combining different cultures than skin colors or facial features.
The Supreme Court refused to take up a case from Indiana that tried to refuse a lesbian couple from putting both parent’s names on the birth certificate of their son. Of course the law tried to say that only the biological parents should be on the birth certificate, and they also presume them to be a husband and wife and so the child was born into wedlock, which is pretty ridiculous. The Court refused to even hear the case, without comment, and the matter was overturned due to a lower court ruling in favor of the lesbian couple who had sued. Both parents get to be on the birth certificate, regardless of gender. But now I do wonder about the marriage issue. If you are not married, and are not biologically responsible for the child, but you sign your name to the birth certificate, I assume you are now legally bound to this child for life.
Language does matter, but not the way many people think it does. We do need new words and phrases and meanings to reflect our changing lives. I might howl at the moon now and again to complain about my changing world, but eventually I embrace it. What else are you going to do.
I learned recently that we no longer use BC and AD, to reflect our historical timeline. As in, prior to the birth of Christ and after his death. Now we use BCE and CE, which stand for Before Common Era and Common Era. I’ve never even heard of this and don’t know when it happened, but apparently it happened, without my knowledge or consent, which is how most things happen.
I, like everyone else, must learn to deal with change, and to accept it eventually, but I will continue to be annoyed that there are some among us that believe we should all be at the same place on our journey at the same time. I count myself among those who need to also be tolerant at times.
The Cleveland Indians, a professional baseball team that has been in existence since 1915, recently announced that they were changing the name of the team, or more accurately, dropping the nickname of Indians. Last year they spent the season removing their famed mascot Chief Wahoo, from any and all signage, paraphernalia and merchandise. The phasing out of the particularly offensive Native American caricature was years in the making, and undertaken after a lot of public criticism, but it didn’t happen without a fight.
Personally, I recognize that in theory these symbols are offensive, but I find it hard to believe that anyone is actually harmed individually by any of this. I mention this, not because I believe it to be true, but to illustrate that I’m most likely fairly ignorant when it comes to oppressed ethnic groups and the effects of rampant racism over centuries.
I find it hard to believe that your average Black American is triggered by scenes of slavery simply because their ancestors were slaves. I’m not saying there isn’t something there, I’m saying I find it hard to believe. Literally. It’s hard for me to comprehend how that could be.
I also don’t understand how someone can think they are a gender that they are objectively not, and which is entirely different than who they are attracted to. Makes no sense to me. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t so.
I have an issue with people regularly being outraged and offended for perceived slights as I think it’s an addiction of self importance. Calm down and shut the fuck up. But the minute I say that, I’ll see someone say some horrendous shit and remember that I don’t live in the same world as everyone else. None of us do. So I have to recognize that I don’t know everything.
Maybe another way to look at things is to reflect on the idea that everyone, no matter how privileged, has troubles we don’t understand. Strange way to look at it, right? We don’t usually look up, only down. Who cares if the Royal Prince is having a bad day, or that this movie star is depressed or hurting over their overly public divorce to another beautiful movie star? Our indifference is based on our feeling that they are not deserving of our pity, let alone our empathy. Why not? Because we feel like their enormous rewards far outweigh their suffering. We can’t understand what it’s like to be that rich or famous, but we think we can. We think we know, so we can dismiss it as trivial. Is there some empirical measure of human suffering that applies to some but not all?
It’s an interesting exercise.
Originalists Here We Come
When Kamala Harris is sworn is as the Vice President, she will also take on an office we don’t usually think that much about, which is the President of the Senate. In a nutshell, simply on the basis of her Constitutional authority, and based on the rules of the Senate, she can bypass current Sen Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in order to bring bills forward for a vote. That’s it. No more gridlock. Of course, the bills could still lose in a floor vote but that is democracy. At least there would debate and a vote. Stake a position and defend it, win or lose.
This isn’t an alternative view of the Constitution but the actual way it’s supposed to work. The way it works now is that the VP designates someone else to do their job, so they can focus on more executive duties, but that’s not how it’s supposed to work. They’re supposed to run the Senate. Kamala Harris simply needs to announce she is taking her office seriously and will be providing over the Senate. She would not have the full authority that the pro tempore would have because she would not also have full standing as a Senator, but enough to make the government work again.
The Beginning Of An Era With No End
I’m starting to think maybe we’ve entered into a new era where nothing ends. Pandemics, Donald Trump, Republican obstructionism, gun violence, Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook. I’m sure that’s not true, but when you’re in the middle of an impenetrable forrest, it’s hard to believe there is an end to it all. Just endless trees. Of course there is a end, you think, but will you live to see it? It’s unclear.