Parent, forgive them; for they know not what they do

Carnivorous socialists, whether national or international, kill people. More herbivorous ones, oxymoronically called ‘democratic’, concentrate on softer targets, such as economy, family – and language.

The first type relies on guns and torture, the second softens resistance with a PC barrage and then the state’s troops move in.

François Hollande’s government is nothing if not socialist. Therefore it’s nothing if not hateful. Like all socialists, he makes pie-in-the-sky promises he has no means, nor indeed intention, of fulfilling. But whenever he promises to destroy something, old François is always as good as his word.

This pattern is observable in all types of socialist. Lenin, for example, promised to eliminate the upper classes and build a paradise on earth. The advent of said paradise has somehow been delayed, but the first promise was kept with unwavering resolve. Not to be outdone, Hitler pledged to deliver a thousand-year Reich and to kill Jews. The Reich lasted 12 years, but six million Jews were honestly killed as promised.

Our own Tony-Gordon-Dave-Nicks follow exactly the same pattern: positive promises are all broken, negative ones are all kept. François wouldn’t be a socialist if he changed this trend and let les Anglo-Saxons do all the running.

Hence his commendable adherence to his campaign pledge to squeeze enough money out of successful people to drive them out of France. Well, this second part actually wasn’t in the pledge, but even François isn’t so stupid as not to have realised that it would naturally follow the first.

Now comes the turn of the family, the bogeyman (bogeyperson?) of all socialists, whether national, international or ‘democratic’. François promised to legalise homomarriage and, voilà, he’s about to do it. But first comes a bit of softening linguistic barrage.

François’s France is about to ban the words ‘father’ and ‘mother’ from all legal documents. These offensive vocabules will be replaced by ‘parent’, while marriage will be redefined as the union ‘of two people, of different or the same gender.’ Actually, as a champion of political correctness of long standing, I find the word ‘two’ unnecessarily restrictive. For example, a judge in Saõ Paolo recently married a threesome, thus blazing the trail for all of us. But let’s stick to François’s innovation.

I welcome the general intent, while bemoaning the singular lack of creativity in the detail. The word ‘parent’ is too cold and impersonal to oust ‘mother’ and ‘father’ from common parlance – even if it replaces them in official documents. Of course, summary imprisonment of anyone who uses such obscenities could help, but that’s best kept for François’s second term.

Instead I propose to follow the thinking behind the blend already universally used in France: messieursdames. The beauty of this plural blend is that in French it would sound exactly the same in the singular. Thus the government official conducting a marriage ceremony could refer to both the bride and his/her blushing groom as monsieurdame, and to their proud parents as pèremère. And if you think this sounds a tad hermaphroditic, you don’t belong in polite society. In fact, if François’s ideological brethren have their way here, you’ll soon belong in prison.

In defence of the forthcoming legalisation of marriage between, or among, two or more messieursdames, François’s Justice Minister monsieurdame Christiane Taubira spoke from the heart: ‘Who is to say that a heterosexual couple will bring a child up better than a homosexual one?’ Who indeed? This is one of those questions that, if asked, can never be answered to the monsieurdame’s satisfaction. How about everybody over the 5,000 years of recorded history? The Bible? Tradition? Empirical evidence? Aesthetic sense? Common decency or indeed common sense? No, none of those works.

Still, as a linguist by training, and champion of political correctness by conviction, I’m more interested in how we can take François’s lead and implement such changes here. It’s not as if we haven’t had a head start.

For example, the third-person singular pronoun ‘his’ has been effectively eliminated from our language. In its place we use ‘their’, not to sully our lips with the egregious gender-specific word, even though ‘her’ still persists. At the same time we’ve replaced a biological category with a grammatical one, by changing ‘sex’ to ‘gender’ (How’s your gender life these days?)

That’s good, but it doesn’t go far enough. One is still occasionally enraged to hear such locutions as ‘in his Fulton speech, Churchill said…’ Wouldn’t it be so much more correct, not to mention mellifluous, to say ‘In their speech…’? Of course it would be, and soon it will be. As a side benefit, this would elevate everybody to royal status by universalising the entitlement to the royal plural.

I’m particularly fond of the contraction Ms, as it communicates in no uncertain terms that an autonomous person of the female gender won’t be defined by her marital status. But the same gripe applies here: we’re still left in no doubt that the addressee is indeed a person of the female gender. This isn’t good enough, is it?

Instead we must contract all those titles, irrespective of gender, to M. In addition to solving the problem at hand, this would also warm up the salutation by the oblique reference to James Bond’s boss, thereby implying that female persons are capable of competing on even – or superior! – terms with anybody.

Now the Bible may prove more recalcitrant, though giant strides towards its neutering have already been made. Thus my title above is already used in some churches, though this does present another problem, that of addressing priests. Call me a reactionary, but I just don’t think ‘Parent Mullen’ will ever stick.

No, we must come up with our own blend, going the French one better. How about ‘Frother’? Or ‘Mather’? We’re getting close, aren’t we? There’s definitely room for thought there.






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