Culture War

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A Few Words Still Mean Things

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Memo to exclusionary language: YOU ARE DUMB.

This is a bit belated, but around the holidays, before our President got in his latest fight with a book, by which I mean an actual argument with the publishers and authors of a book and not the fight he has with a book every time he’s forced to try to read one, he was bragging about how he saved a particular phrase from extinction. And it’s not “Rocket Man”. ACTUAL TWEET TIME!

”People are proud to be saying Merry Christmas again. I am proud to have led the charge against the assault of our cherished and beautiful phrase. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!! “

People were, of course, saying “Merry Christmas” all the time. Everyone can say “Merry Christmas” whenever they want. That’s not the right that was under attack. The right that was under attack was the right to specifically say Merry Christmas to people who don’t celebrate Christmas and then those people who don’t celebrate Christmas shutting up ant taking it. It’s the right to use exclusive rather than inclusive language without any social consequence,

Insisting that you can, should, and will say “Merry Christmas” to whoever the hell you want, whenever the hell you want, and that businesses and media outlets and society at large should follow suit, is insisting on your right to be wrong at people because they’re inferior to you. This is known as “being an asshole”, or, as assholes call it, “being politically incorrect”.

But this isn’t just true of “Merry Christmas”. I know lots of friendly, non-conservative, nonreligious types who would graciously wish everyone “Happy Holidays” and then lose their shit when the subject of preferred or gender-neutral pronouns comes up. But it’s the same goddamned principle. You want to be able to be wrong at people and not get in trouble with it, because the alternative would be using a word you’re not used to, or a word you’re used to in a way you’re not used to.

Inclusive language is pretty much the bare minimum you can do to prevent yourself from being automatically and instinctively wrong at people because you can’t be bothered to think about it. Make the fucking effort.

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