He, She, They, It and S/he

or Lies My English Teacher Told Me

Some people are of the opinion that there should be strict rules to
writing; that there is a “right” way to write. Some people think it is
possible to get caught in a politically-correct minefield through their
choice of pronouns alone. I’m not of that opinion,
HREF=”http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2003/6/16/143616/593”>though others
evidently are. Personally, I believe the choice of pronouns should be
made with the same care and caution as any other word. There’s no more a
“correct pronoun” than there is a “correct vocabulary”.

I’m just as careful when faced with a choice of he, she, they, it, I, we,
you as I would be when faced with chosing a word meaning “bad”:
nauseating, ill, rotten, mischievous, stale, tainted, unruly, immoral,

One could lecture one’s students to sleep on the topic of pronouns and
prepositions and other pompus poppycock. A student might head the lessons;
his prose will be as colorful as the rules. Another might rebel so that
hers are so incomprehensibly obscured by post-modern linguistic variation
that s/he loses all track of what he/she was… uh… what? Another will
mimic our professor and affect a tone we all recognize. You illiterate
technofreaks are so deep in your C++ porn accumulators you probably
haven’t even noticed the difference because you’re too busy playing
language police. When confronted with the kind of human defect that likes
to play language cop there are very few choices: you can ignore it,
destroy it or tell it to go fuck itself.

The point I’m trying to make is that these words affect how I sound. No
doubt there is a fetal reject that doesn’t like that I put periods outside
parentheses (e.g. “correct vocabulary”.), refuse to sandwich apostrophes
between S’ (e.g. others’ writing) and end sentences with prepositions. It
knows what to do to itself because “this is the kind of nonsense up with
which I will not put”. (Winston Churchill)

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