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The Song of “Themself”

Hear ye, Jewcy people! According to the Columbia Guide to Standard American English, the word "themself" is a "substandard pronoun," is "limited to limited to Vulgar English speech or imitations of it," is an "unfortunate result of trying to avoid … Read More

By / September 15, 2006

Hear ye, Jewcy people!

According to the Columbia Guide to Standard American English, the word "themself" is a "substandard pronoun," is "limited to limited to Vulgar English speech or imitations of it," is an "unfortunate result of trying to avoid [sexist speech]." As if that doesn't make their position clear enough, they also say that it is a shibboleth…in other words, if we use the word "themself," this will out us as irredeemably trashy in the eyes of people who know how to speak properly.

Jewcy needs to take a stand on this. We need to embrace themself as the only possible third person singular reflexive pronoun for the 21 century. The stakes are much higher than they appear at first glance: there are all sorts of big issues coming to a head in the battle over this word. Should we force English into service as a therapeutic tool to address our upper middle-class anxieties about being indistinguishable from the riff-raff? No. Should we have an apopleptic fit when people use gender-indeterminate terms to describe people who are, well, of undetermined gender? No.

Enough of this nonsense. My name is Joey, and I'm reporting for duty! Let's get it on, you detestable language and gender reactionaries. Themself themself themself!

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