When actions speak louder than words

There used to be a charm to how we messed with words. If you’re of a certain age that didn’t involve Google, then you can relate to that musical rite of passage in which you reworded the lyrics to a favorite song. To think, there was a time when people used to believe the Beatles were singing I wanna hold your ham. And Jimi Hendrix was saying Excuse me while I kiss this guy. And Elton John was singing to his man-crush with Hold me closer Tony Danza. 

Nowadays, we have the dictionary police repossessing words that weren’t really in need of a reboot in the first place. These efforts in bougey bombast are meant to bring harmony and fair play to words that might be considered impish or downright ignorant.

Case in point, the Berkeley City Council. These peeps decided to go on an ordinance orgy, with words acting as the scapegoat in the latest episode of Ray Bradbury Theater. If their measure on gender-specific pronouns gets the green light, “Manhole” will become “Maintenance Hole” and “Police Man” will become “Police Officer”. Changing the latter is redundancy at its finest, since most adults already refer to the Po Po as officers. But was there really a burning need for maintenance holes? As a man, I took no offense to being named after a cast iron plate that gets driven over and spit on daily.

Council members also want to make sure nobody uses he or she when they should be using they or them. And I think that’s neither here nor there. Human interaction is the broker of ignorance or understanding, and if we start using a government handbook as if we’re American tourists lost in Paris? Well, there is a dystopian punchline to such a conclusion and it ain’t the least bit funny.

Maybe it’s just that the city council people of Berkeley have spit and polished every last genuine concern into memory and now all that’s left to vote on is stuff that ain’t worth the ginger ale in a Mary Poppins Martini. As such, they explained their decision thusly.

“Amending the municipal code to include gender-neutral pronouns by eliminating any gender preference language within the municipal code will promote equality,”

N’kay. But really, how’s about legislating that every homeowner have an emergency chopper in their driveway in the event an earthquake provides the Pacific Ocean with the world’s largest Big Gulp? Or hey, why not make it illegal for citizens of Berkeley not to own a Panda? Or maybe just this. What if they tried to come up with some long term solutions for the homeless, seeing as how Berkeley is currently sitting at twice the national average. I mean, unless the city council is hell bent on handing out demerits to all those five year old kids who will continue using the term “Police Man”.

I know you’re probably saying, But Marc . . .governmental bodies have a pristine track record of never fucking shit up. If they perceive an inherent flaw in our language, then it’s a good bet they’ll fix the problem quickly and efficiently.

Of course, what was I thinking?

 

93 thoughts on “When actions speak louder than words

  1. Dear Marco,

    I am without words this morning. Actually I have plenty of them, but don’t want to be arrested for using them. So now when an expectant mother…excuse me…parent learns the gender of her unborn she…I mean…they will be told “it’s a baby.” As opposed to what? A gerbil? Well all I can say to your post that speaks my mind is, to quote Creedance Clearwater Revival is “There’s a bathroom on the right.”

    Shalom and Good morning,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 5 people

    • Rochelle,

      You are SUCH the clever scribe! I was reading this just now, thinking that I’ve met my match when it comes to smartly placed snark. And then some!

      But yes, we’re at the point where original thought is being held for ransom. I understand the need to remove the sins of the past as per the unwanted slurs that used to permeate the landscape. Problem is, they’re still very prevalent. And telling people what to say and not say ain’t the solution.

      I’ve worked with transgender individuals and I’ve learned a great deal about the challenges they face on a daily basis. In each instance, I did something incomprehensible. I ASKED them what they preferred to be called. And they appreciated my earnestness and walls came tumbling down, and I called them b their preferred name and the world kept spinning. No need for a manual when human interaction can do the job just fine.

      And I LOVE your drop the mic CCR reference! So very clever and lovely.

      Shalom and good day!

      Marco

      Liked by 1 person

      • It frightens me when government starts legislating our words. What happened to freedom of speech? An aside, when I first met a friend who happens to be black, I asked her if she preferred black or African American. Her reply was, “I’ve never been to Africa.”
        I, too, understand wanting avoid racial slurs. As a Jew I know what my folks have been called. 😉
        How about plain honest communication? Our world is definitely changing, but not all of it is for the better, is it?
        Happy Tuesday.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It makes me think that Orwell wasn’t so crazy after all, that maybe he saw all this coming.

          That’s how it’s supposed to work, Rochelle. Honestly, earnestly and with respect.

          Having grown up in New York during a time when slurs were a common greeting, I got called every kind of thing. It hurt like hell even if I didn’t admit it. But it taught me not to ever be that way. I’m actually thankful for the lesson as it showed me what NOT to be.

          Happy Tuesday!

          Liked by 1 person

    • Just so you know, this is a first here at Sorryless, but I changed up the tune that tucked in the sheets to this post after reading your comment. Because you got me listening to Green River and then I thought . . “Damn! Bad Moon Rising is PERFECT for that post!”

      So apologies to the lovely Natasha Bedingfield, but CCR was definitely the way to finish this puppy up.

      Muchas gracias for the assist!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh man, you are hilarious.😂😂

    There’s an organization that doesn’t understand its purpose. “Let’s pick this overripe peach practically touching the ground” they say. We sure as hell wouldn’t want to get a ladder, have branches scratch our arms or any other sort of inconvenience or discomfort to do what really needs to be done.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Eilene,

      It’s the old story about idle hands. And it’s just crazy, because in the day to day lives of most people, we’re figuring it out. We don’t stand around referencing the approved terminology for this person or that person.

      All this overthinking on the part of ruling bodies reveals a need to justify themselves. But it also feels entirely counterproductive, almost divisive.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Gah!! This is exactly why peeps get totally over governmental intrusion into the regulatory swamp. I’m not opposed to regulations, but with all the issues facing a municipality, there was time for de-genderizing words? Dear Lord…we’ve definitely crossed the ole lexicon rubicon.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sighing here. You hit on a point though in the middle of this post that needs to be explored much more. The problem is that these people, the hims and hers on the Berkeley City Council, have run out of other things to do. So, they have to try to prove their relevance and importance by coming up with stupid shit like this.

    I compare it to labor unions — which are becoming more and more rare in the United States, except for the public sector unions, which have largely accomplished what they need to accomplish to protect their members. So, what do they do to continue to prove their relevance and importance and power? Get involved with things that have nothing to do with representing and protecting their members. For instance, lobbying pension systems to divest from unfavored industries. There are plenty of examples of this, particularly in California, where the Legislature and every state level office is controlled by Dems and the public sector unions are controlling the Dems. They use that power to influence things that have nothing to do with the working conditions of their members. And the Legislators generally go along with it because they can’t say no to the source of a lot of their campaign cash.

    And the Berkeley City Council can do stupid things like this because of the city they live in. It’s the danger of a one party city.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark,

      The government provides a helping hand, while the other hand helps itself. There have been numerous battles in the PA legislature with myriad governors over pension plans. Their new way of doing business was to push public workers into 401 type plans while they kept the status quo. It was typical governmental double talk in which they basically said, “Do as we say and not as we do”.

      Liked by 1 person

      • In California, the public sector unions are so in control and the Dems so beholden to them, there’s no risk of a 401K option. At least for the time being. But the problem is that the unions and their Dem allies are moving so far to the left there is going to be a bounceback at some point. There will be repercussions for how left things are moving.

        My problem with the unions is that they have put their hands in to so many other issues that are only tangentially related to their core mission — at best — because they really have nothing left to do to protect and support their members.

        As a government employee who is close to retiring with his defined benefit retirement intact, I certainly appreciate that I have that. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • Teachers have had to toe the line of their unions, no matter their respective political affiliations. I’ve known teachers who absolutely did not talk politics around their peers for fear of reprisal. Which is just so wrong in so many ways.

          You got yours. And good on you. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  5. B,

    As ever, you have hit the nail on the head with this one. All that’s left in charm word-wise is what comes out of the mouth of babes (which, it is our job to correct. No, Aidan, it is not pooss, it’s soup).

    Lyrics to songs we could try to avoid the Google but we know someone out there will set us straight anyway – coz they did.

    That Berkley thing just set my teeth on edge. Manhole is so offensive. Mind you, I am kinda glad they started rotating men and women’s names for hurricanes. We were getting all the bad rap 😉
    I always thought the po-po were officers. So very glad they have confirmed it. I’m sure all the police people are so very happy to have this put right. So, remember Timmy, when you are stuck being molested, take the time to call for a police officer because if you say policeman, you will be left with the bad man, I mean person.

    It’s such a waste of government money. But that is what they do best, right? We wouldn’t want to help fix the real issues of the day because that would actually be doing something. Sorry, they are doing something. Something that helps no one.

    Like our fucking language police. Heaven forbid I put up a bilingual sign where the English is the same size as the French and, worse, ABOVE the French. No, no. we cannot have that. we are a FRENCH province and must show all that fact. Where’s that bathroom?

    Q

    BTW, Rochelle told me she and you had a great exchange – that was fun to read 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Dale,

      And then we have to keep the new words straight in our heads. I hope I’m never in a situation where I have to call on a police person. Not sure I’d remember the proper protocol. And should I call 911 or will they change that because of the World Trade Center that we refer to as 9-11. Once you pull that stray thread the whole sweater unravels.

      Oh sorry for entering more of my 2-cent’s worth here. 😉

      Shalom and lotsa hugs to you, Q & B,

      R

      Liked by 2 people

    • Q,

      It’s up to us alright. Or at least it should be. I remember when Damian was little, he couldn’t pronounce his T’s. So we’re walking into a store and there’s this big old truck parked in front with the four ways flashing. Damian goes, “That’s a big fuck!”. The dude looked at me as if I was Daddy Manson, LOL.

      And when they didn’t, or when we were too stubborn headed to see that they were right? Those differences of opinion . . they were priceless.

      Yes, I want a hurricane! But I want a hurricane that kills no one, damages nothing and is fondly remembered. No way? Not happening? Oh well, I tried.

      Timmy might face charges if he uses the term policeman. After which little Timmy will have to take classes on the preferred terminology. And then he can maybe seek therapy for having been molested.

      I just think when you give SO much thought to the differences, that’s a YOU problem, not a ME problem. It’s like when handicapped became differently challenged (or whatever it’s called). I remember having a friend in elementary school who was in a wheelchair. We talked and treated him the same way as us. There were kids who made fun of him and we handled it for him. Not because he was helpless, but because he was our peeps and that’s what you do. We treated him, like us. Because he was just that. Us.

      There’s a bathroom on the right . . . (Had to).

      B

      PS- She inspired me to change up on the tune for this post!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is up to us. Because cute at 2 is not so cute at 22. But for another man to look all askance at a child’s saying a word wrong? Dude. Don’t be such an ass.

        That they were!

        Yeah. Good luck with that hurricane idea.

        Timmy’s fucked, in other words In every way possible.

        Way too much thought has been put into this cockamamy idea. And a child in a wheelchair (tell me, what in the hell is wrong with the term handicapped?) wants nothing else but to be one of the gang. He (sorry, they) want to be treated like everyone else. And as buddies, we get together to defend one of our own. Period.

        Of course you did. I would expect nothing less.

        She done good! I missed the early song but that’s ok coz this one fits perfectomundoly!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I totally agree. I mean, you have a truck dude! Drink up that hemi-Zen inside that moment and spit your chaw on the pavement! (Totally shameless appropriation of truck culture).

          We would have these ongoing debates, bringing more kids into the entanglement. The world used to be a test lab where not every single thing that came out of it was horrible. There was a lot of learning and good shit going on, believe it or not.

          I guess I am just destined to be named after a fan. A 3-speed fan, hopefully.

          Sorry Timmy.

          Funny, his name was Tim. And hells yes he was a part of our gang and a damn good one. Knew everything there was to know about how to make the perfect paper airplane. We saw him as different from us, but there was no negativity to his difference. There was not a bit of “woe is me” to the kid, I remember that. Even at my age, I respected the hell out of his perspective on life.

          The first selection was Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten”

          Like

          • Spit your chaw… love it…

            When you say everything that came out of it was horrible, what do you mean?

            At least 3 speeds.

            That’s the way it is with kids. We see the difference and then continue with our play, adapting for the situation without further thought. It’s when adults come into play that we start judging (there it is again). You were always a very observant fella from what you tell me so I’m not surprised you respected his perspective on life.

            Not a bad choice but mus agree with your changing it for this particular post.

            Like

          • Chaw is the kind of word that will never be changed. It’s too disgusting, nobody wants anything to do with it.

            No, I said not everything that came out of it was horrible.

            I won’t get greedy.

            I think the world made us more well rounded, because the lessons were learned first hand. You learned loss, we did, early on. You learned conflict, first hand. Resolution? First hand. Consensus, yep . . first hand. Nothing was given, it was earned. We ain’t get no participation trophies, yanno?

            I love that Natasha sugar spill, but Bad Moon was definitely the way to go.

            Liked by 1 person

          • It is the most disgusting thing evah.

            Oh, sorry. I misunderstood the whole thing!

            Mighty big of you.

            You know that is a big thing for me. How once upon a time, we learned how to deal, how to negotiate, how to resolve, how to come to agreements…and no fucking participation trophies!

            Listening to it now… definitely good stuff 😉

            Liked by 1 person

          • And to think I did it for five minutes back in the eighties. Yuck!

            No worries. 😉

            I would be plenty fine with being a counter top fan. The idea of standing all day . . I ain’t down.

            And then we arrived at a place where certain peeps believe they never have to apologize for anything, ever. They never have to own their shit. It’s always someone else’s fault. Yikes.

            So good. The whole album.

            Like

          • You didn’t!!!

            Not as smart as I thought I was 😛

            No, no, no… we can’t have that. You’d go stir-crazy. He he he

            Ugh. It’s not a good thing. At all.

            I’m not that familiar with it…but I do love this song so…

            Liked by 1 person

          • Oh I most certainly did. But I also drank Budweiser, soooo . . there’s that.

            Oh puhleeze! What? Were you expecting a shady fella to do my talking for me?

            Pun of the Day goes to the lovely Q! See? This is where I get to learn all about that whole sarcasm thing, thanks to you!

            No it’s not.

            I got into CCR after a Frank post.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Well, like for all things, we evolve 😉

            Of course not.. ahem.

            Hah! ‘Tis you who’ve rubbed off on me!

            Funny how Frank has managed to broaden our horizons re music.

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Excellent post, Marc. I must say everyone ought to just calm down on the actions of Bizerkley. After all, who is going to take care of all those confused Californians who when trying to describe an event won’t know how to include everyone. You know the all-inclusive thingy. If you want a thrill, go to California in my shoes. Majority old male who will no doubt try to hold a door open or say some non-inclusive descriptor. Many a hateful look you will get just for walking around. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Words are sacred, that’s all I know. I’m kinda tired of what’s politically correct when politics across the board, boogie or otherwise, have become so incorrect one wants to vomit. Mr. Webster is mewling from the ether since those powers that be as usual have missed the point.

    I’m humming Boogie Nights in protest.

    Liked by 1 person

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