I understand that the global population has exceeded 7 billion. I get that it takes multiple personalities to make the world the place it is (for the record: it is not all that great most of the time. If you disagree, read the news once in a while). But for the love of all that is holy, why does it seem as if the internet has declared war on the English language?!
First, we had text speak. Back in the glory days of Nokia – which many of you may have absolutely no recollection of, “thnx luv c u 2nit” was a perfectly acceptable sentence.
Horrific? Yes. Nonsenical? Of course. English? Absolutely not.
Then we had another stage of communication. Something that was quite honestly meant to save us all from ‘thx’ or ‘qt3.14’ – iPhones, autocorrect, all those things we take for granted during late-night mad dashes to submit assignments on time, came along to theoretically make our grammatical lives easier. Because with these tools at our disposal, how could we possibly create further language disasters?
But no. Online discussion applications such as Tumblr and Reddit just had to come along and completely ruin a peaceful continuation of the English language! People began having issues with pronouns – issues that arose in part with movements to recognise transgender, LGBT+, and various other communities. What that roughly means is words like ‘she’ and ‘he’ became inefficient descriptors for people who identified as another gender. Or who had surgically modified their genders. Or sexually identified as something else – and a great number of gender binary words sort of went out the window. (As an aside, can you imagine people who speak French or Italian? Their objects are either masculine or feminine! Would Tumblr social justice warriors be able to create otherwise sexual adjectives in these languages too?)
As such, we young people must navigate concepts such as ‘pansexual’ or ‘cis-gendered’ or ‘otherkin’ on a regular basis, without materially offending anyone who identifies as such.
The unfortunate reality of this, however, is that the actual issue – how we address people who are not your basic men or women – is no longer the primary issue. Because cyber social justice warriors believe it is possible to sexually identify as a unicorn, a significant social issue of this century has been relegated to the realm of internet mockery. Why might a pedant find this to be an issue? Because, simply put, a bid to politically correct the English language has resulted in the trivialisation of a serious, and relatively novel social issue. We cannot let fringe cyber sub-cultures continue to define the narrative around language – because they do turn it into a farce.
So thanks, tumblr. Thanks for trivialising an issue that needs to be addressed in mainstream society and turning it into something that sounds perfectly ridiculous. Please, please don’t start discussing the Middle East, or the global economy next. Heaven forbid one of you might start sexually identifying yourselves as a nuclear reactor or a deficit. The rest of us have quite enough on our plates as it is.