Its They Them MF'ers
What happened to all the pronouns Motherfuckers?, and who stole all my fucking adverbs? In some lunatic late night caper, likely in the darkest hour of our discontented dreamtime, somebody actually snuck crazy pills into our bedside drinking water. When we surfaced from the nightmare, we all became sterile, woke, and stoopid.
If there were to be an elephant guarding my room last night, they may recall better than I, who spiked my bedside beverage... but last I checked that elephant in my room, was certainly a female. Sensitive plush creature she is, but she didn't care about my pronouns, nor I for theirs. (Her's). Until the shit hit the fan.
"All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them". -John 17:10
When we rid ourselves of Gender Pronouns, Adverbs, and Possessive Pronouns, we will all rightly own the universe, Right?
Wrong! But we will struggle to work on this more perfect union if we are to keep it.
The alternative pronoun most commonly used is 'they', often referred to as, singular they. Here’s an example:
Someone left his or her cellphone behind. → Someone left their cellphone behind. Since we don’t know the gender of the person who (in fact) left their cellphone behind, we use 'they' (or 'Motherfuckers') to include all genders as possibilities for that mystery person. In addition to being respectful of people of all genders, this makes the sentence shorter and easier to say. In fact, almost all of us use this language on a regular basis without even thinking about it.
You have yours, I have mine, and they have them. Cool!
Motherfucker (/ˈmʌðərfʌkər/ muhth-er-fuhk-er) mf'er: refers to a mean, despicable, or vicious person, or any particularly difficult or frustrating situation. Alternatively, it can be a term of admiration, as in the term 'badass motherfucker', meaning a fearless and confident person.
For the French Speakers in the room, well... You will have a tougher time with this one, because you first have to forgive 'their' desecration of your elegant language, whilst They destroy French pronunciation, and also make a general mess of your language. You'll need to absolve me for sins of pronunciation and pronoun-ciation. French & French Speakers (I've come to know) strictly speaking, don't despise Anglicans, nor Americans, but rather they (Plural) ask simply that 'one' (singular) at least attempt momentarily to convey their idea in French, just before forgiving them (you) and switching back to the Queen's English. It is after-all rather comical to observe we Americans order or ask directions in French. I personally don't care too much for the red meat by any other name, but my Brother-in-Law will insist to a French server in Cannes, or Nice that the proper pronounciation for the strap of beef along the spine is pronounced (Mee-jaahn_, and not Mignon (/ˌfiːleɪ ˈmiːnjɒ̃/), with a stout 'i' a quick 'o' and a silent 'n'. Sigh...
The French can now grow rouge with rage as we bring to their parlay yet another cultural black hole. This, our dreaded hack of unknowing one's own preferred gender pronoun can be a road-block to fluid parlance. Not that they (the French) want to become acquainted with us at all..., but Madam (/ˈmædəm/), and Monsieur (/məˈsjɜːr/ mə-SYUR; we can no longer rely upon you, lest we offend. Which brings me to another lunatic point. While we are handing out trophies to everyone who've changed their minds, their gender, or their native language last year -- And, regardless of whether you've deciding to stop shaving, showering, or even leaving 'one's' parent's basement... We happen upon another onerous rhetorical missile so culturally uncouth, that it threatens to forge Oxford Grads into Forest Gump's. This disaster is of course the truncation of 'LY' from our lovely lunatic lexicon.
To quote One Writer's English grammar manual:
"Mistakes Happen: As long as you are earnestly putting forth effort (As most French speakers should expect); To be respectful to someone’s pronouns, small mistakes can be forgiven (as long as you learn from them). Being aware of gender pronouns expresses to individuals that you are an ally. People are allowed to be people and ask how to be addressed since that is inherently their right. Or better expressed: "Since that is that Motherfuckers right". Right?
With this friend or foe handshake over with, let's discuss the destruction of another important part of speech which we once took for granted. Perhaps this bastardizatrion began with the description of something so rapidly rocket-like, that we needed to spit the words out like a bullet. ...And so we articulated 'Fast', instead of 'Quickly'. Once this slur occurred, we'd forgotten how to merely truncate 'LY' from Quickly; And we moved directly from 'quick' to 'fast'. e.g. "You catch that COVID shit fast if you ain't careful".
There is no part of lay speech today where we lazy Tweeting Americans are not saving ourselves fractions of seconds every day, to later piss this away trolling instagram, And so we continue cutting beautiful adverbs into nasty bits, to consume them.
So we end up with They, mostly out of laziness, as with most of our sloppy mod lexicon.
We no longer teach cursive -- Fine!, you can exchange that for keyboarding, but today it seems that everyone is "All Thumbs" and we are perhaps struggling to keep this car on the road. In a bygone era of Cold War, espionage, we developed the secret weapon "They" to refer to the Gestapo, The Government, The Man, and even the fledgeling Internet to refer to anyone who was watching you for a mistake. To be sure that your allegiance remain pledged to the right state control. Now, we believe that "They", is all, "Over there someplace" meaning we exchange convenience for privacy, and WE do not give a fuck if "They", (Google, Fakebook, The NSA, or the CCP), read our private messages. We no longer care that as we've become products, "They" keep us in line by controlling what we read on the internet; Dropping us into sugary silos, like dipped mini donuts -- Allowing us to surface only long enough to buy more shit from "Them". What flavor is your glaze?, Vanilla? Yes Vanilla... I think.
"THE MAN" whom we used to call "THEY / THEM" was real (at least in my youth), and still is for most eastern block nationals, and "THEM" (the collective they, as in They are watching) <Meaning> the not so secret police, assured us that even your dear grandmother would narc on you for disparaging the dictatorial apparatus.
Whew!, well I'm sure glad that the "They Them" that I used to fear no longer exist, and that The current marshmallow version is too proud to give two shits about what I think or say.
I can Trust Google, Facebook, Tic Tock, and others with my passwords, my social status, my logins, my very likeness, after all, I am nothing in real tangible life -- Online I am amazing. They follow me everywhere showing me just what I want. to see.. Or rather that version of me which they'd hoped I'd become. They warned me against getting a 5G chip implanted with my vaccine.
Freedom, means giving in. Giving up, or perhaps just giving up control.
In my youth the scariest moment was believing that someone like Donald Sutherland would single me out with a pointing finger. And now, we will all hunt Dave Chapelle because he shares his honest insecurities, pointing out why it's OK to have "your own point of view"... which YOU find repugnant. YOU believe D.C. should love you, just because... but that's bullshit and you know it.
Why all the tension about tense, and grammar, then.., when I'm the only one who matters? -- And my feelings are the important story here? Right? "It's OK", as the saying goes, "I see dumb people everywhere, they are living amongst us, and they don't know they are stupid."
My real adversary is the adverb, and I'm going to fuck that thing up too.
Not unsurprisingly the English word 'Adverb' derives through French from the Latin adverbium, from ad- ("to"), verbum ("word", "verb"), and the nominal suffix -ium
If you listen to anyone today from News Anchors to "That one Motherfucker over there..." You will find that basically everyone changes the way they describe action today as follows:
Quickly changes to Quick
Slowly to Slow
Crispy to Crisp
Fatty to Fat
All get stripped of their ADD-ON to yield Despair... this short speech strips our adverbs bare without 'LY'. Hence, 'they/them' are left both naked and afraid. And without a unique pronoun, what are we?
But not the adverb "Stinky"... Why? I suppose in dropping LY, we are left with stink, without tense, nor context. "That shit stinks", is what we now say, and even "dat stank!" Whereby every adverb becomes an adjective again, or simply a noun, or even just some short hand version of how we "Should Speak". My Brother recently bought a new home with a Giant Topiary shaped like a Penis on the front lawn. Later removing this phallus' balls, required a landscaper to neutralize said "Gender Threat" to the neighborhood, Lorena Landscaping groomed the bush, removing the so called nasty bits. He (my beloved brother) did this to keep peace in the kingdom, and NOT because he gives two shits about Their Pronouns. After-all, in all of my youth any Bush could have been interpreted as female, or most "Bushes" were simply pussies, with rich parents "holding office".
In English, adverbs of manner (answering the question how?) are often formed by adding -'ly' to plain adjectives, but flat adverbs (such as in: drive fast, drive slow, and drive friendly) have the same form as the corresponding adjective; drive quickly motherfucker!, or drive slowly homie.
So much language evolves out of laziness, because we no longer want to labor in a description. Hence we have created ugly & pejorative short-speak to express a concept, and look what that has done for us as a society. e.g. "That Asian Girl over there" -- Instead of, "The dark-haired person in the yellow jacket". Or, "The person of color wearing yellow", or simply point, and say "Them!". Where could we trim the fat from laborious speech without the risk of offense, let alone prejudicial stereotyping. Simply shutting the fuck up would be a solid start. Nay, "That scary man over there" sets the balls rolling where handing this description to local Police could lead to many bad outcomes. (You Woke Prick).
So where does this all shake out? As long as we are short-sighting our language for They and Them, AKA the Bushes -- Could we not have easily expressed them as "This One", "That Individual", "This Person", "That Human", "Dude", "Beotch", "Highness", "Majesty", or simply 'It'... Could we not stay the course and protect people from the dogma of all stereotypes. 'This Black Dude', 'That White Chick', 'This Person of Color', 'That Honky White Bitch...' The person seated upon the Bench, The one next to the Bouquet, but behind the Champagne tower. Let's Learn from Samuel L. Jackson, and just call each-other Motherfuckers.
We will always use short speech to shorten these expressions, rushing our precious ideas over to another human as quickly as possible. For those of us still circulating out of doors, should we actually interact, (Gasp!) -- We could do a lot worse than to try a few new things out. ONLY, 'Them' to me remains plural. While my daily speech will nearly always offend someone, or at least lead to a bad outcome, I will certainly try to get it right, and you could try a lot harder to forgive.
Consider the expression people often use for me: "That Smug Fuck"... Born from the puritanical intent to not express my gender incorrectly, Those who are not quite sure where my XX or XY, lie simply substitute "Smug Fuck" for Highness or Dude. (Which by the way is also Gender Neutral). Could we not simply call each-other 'Fuckers?' or 'Motherfucker?' Our beloved Samuel L. Jackson Built an empire on this Majestic Pronoun.
"This one fucker"... "That one Fuck" is blissfully easy to spit out. Notice I don't use "Fat" in operating this machinery as in "That One Fat Fuck", BUT the universal "One" is still prevalent, As in..., "That one stinky fat fuck"... Which remains appropriate particularly when we tacitly remove the offensive "F-Bomb". What remains is just as handy and useful as 'They', and 'Them'. Right? You see I am truly trying here, and appreciate your plight, but Don't touch my gender, simply call me a scrawny smug fuck.
I was recently taken to task on this (my) misappropriation of 'Them' from Plural pronoun to Singular sensation, by my beautiful niece, who thinks I am "too stoopid and insensitive" to get all of this lexicography. But, I do get all of this, and if you do as well, then we should be slightly slighted that we didn't chisel out a little part of the grammar universe for our own special Pronouns back in the 70's. Can we not just use: One, Individual, Human, or It, as in "It's eating dinner now, can It call you back later?"
Here is the hard math:
Is it ‘its,’ ‘it's’ or ‘its’ ?
This is a common question. Here's the answer:
Oh Shit NO sir it's never Its' That will not fly.
But guess what? If you write "it" and you want to show that "it" owns something, you don't write "it's," you write "its." Yikes. That's just one of many quirky rules in the English language.
And if that's not enough stress, try this---when you want to show that a group possesses something, the typical way to do that is to add an apostrophe to the end of the word. For example, if you go backstage to the place where performers get dressed, then you've gone to the " actors’ " dressing room.
No wonder then that many English speakers naturally want to use " its’ " to mean possession by a group. But that's wrong, so remember—there's absolutely, positively no such word as its’. If you mean singular or plural possession, just write "its."
For answers to other questions similar to this, refer to:
Dr. Bruce V. Corsino
FAA Plain Language Program Manager
No Shit... this brilliant primer appears in the FAA Handbook!
Cruel Bananarama Summer Fades
Nostalgia is laziness wrapped in pretty wallpaper ...Or, is it a constant reminder of your better self? -- From whence you came, so to speak. Back when you were a good human. Well before things hijacked you.
Our brains are wired to track motion. Our empathy built to covet nostalgia. Struck by the gleaming-yellow glow of a Schwinn LeTour, steaming down the bike path -- Canvas Chuck Taylor's trace small circles around a shiny chrome chain-guard. This Bike's custodian mashing a pair of sharp steel rabbit-trap reflector-pedals... The clacks of its maxi freewheel winding down to pause for pedestrians. They are smiling. You are staring. You become lured by your past... transported to a cozy cave with your power animal. THIS, perhaps was your power animal, but you can't see it. The chattering background of the city softens to a numb murmur. Vision vignetting as you stare through a road cone of softened edges towards your past. Tunnel vision, indifferent to surroundings. Time silently slows, and then seems to rewind like magnetic tape. A moment ago you were considering your watts, and that nagging leak of air from your front Tubeless. Now we cut close to your soft eyes coddling something you used to cherish. An old friend perhaps?, confidante?... No longer considering the watts?, your watts?, their watts? No you are not doing douchy calculations. because there are no watts at this moment; Just a bike. Like a tree you'd carved your name into ages ago. An Oprah moment.
"Can you recall where it was when you met your first real bike?," She asks? A second hand store?, a Rummage sale?, Another hand-me-down?. You contemplate. You consider being locked in your safe place... In your cave trapped with two others, perhaps they are your brothers, and you are wearing hand-me-down jeans, and a plaid shirt with pearly snaps for eternity. Stuck for eternity without a bike, without a road, without an exit. Huis Clos / No Exit... Because you are a dick -- You've become a dick.
Summer Fades like facebook, as dusk falls nearer to Six than Nine, A buzzing cicada, like a dimming fluorescent sets the back-track. Banana Popsicles melt into the shirt of a kid you used to be. Soft buzzing, leaving your conscience like adrenaline --So subtle you nary notice that you are a dickhead, as autumn colors your daydream drifting to a skinned knee, climbing trees, and the awkward parkour you mastered to climb aboard this yellow bike which you could hardly even stand over. That magical day you developed a technique to dismount your hand-me-down bike, while in motion. Look!, I'm rolling through space aboard a time machine. A Banana-Yellow Schwinn LeTour, or was it a Collegiate Sport? Spokes increment a mechanical odometer bolted to the fork.
Nobody counts watts from a LeTour, right? But this one counts the clack of the hub rotating. Details are smoky, and vaporize in fits and starts like a choking lawn mower. You're contemplating the wide 5-pound, 5-speed chain -- Maxi Cranks ratcheting around, while static cogs latch, click after clack attached to a fifteen pound chrome wheel. Glazed orange brake-pads chatter textured rims to a halt... As you (the one you thought was the better you) sip your electrolyte punch daydreaming in a pit-stop upon Memory lane, squeezing some boutique energy gel between your clenched teeth automatically. Like a gagging force fed bird.
And there she is... The "Roller Girl" dressed in clothes you'd expect from when you were Ten or Eleven. Her brown suede skates with orange urethane testing tricks, and twirls, distracting you momentarily from the bike. The Vintage bike you may have actually ridden. She drops to one skate, leg extended bobbing to the rhythm of some track enveloped by giant closed headphones. Both of you isolated in a daydream, until she rolls past, and touches the pavement, losing balance. Headphones slipping sideways as she regains control over a tumble -- And you catch the slightest bit of the track escaping her open ear. Did you hear that right? No way! she is actually listening to "Cruel Summer", by Bananarama, as she swiftly skates past. They/Them, (Bananarama) cementing your crush on this moment, and all its participants.
Moments ago you were admiring your Matte Carbon Stealth fighter-bike, Contemplating Wattage, VAM, Pace, or some other triviality robbing joy from a bike ride. Now, you are just staring at the better traits you'd left behind when you moved out on your own. When This bike was handed down, SoulTrain, Roller-skates, and Generic's lined the stage of your youth. This crude but elegant bike you'd loved and then spurned when you began to climb the ladder of smug.
At 19 you knew that you knew everything.
At 21 you swore "to have one of those too".
At 30, you began collecting stuff.
Now you have more stuff than free-time, and more vices, than friends. Have you bothered to check yourself? THIS nostalgic pause should certainly take you someplace simple. Someplace beyond your self, as you consider this classic -- Your banana yellow ghost of cycling past... Whiiiiissssstt!.... It just Passed you by. This, your allegiant ghost bicycle; Your loyal 45 year-old 65 Lb. steel contraption asked nothing of you, and it would have taken you anywhere -- And it did (perhaps), before you left it for dead in your parents garage, along with your better self.
Today you are too good for this braised bionic banana. This is your past life, encapsulated. Your last hand-me-down. Fueled by adventure, selflessness, and joy, and now someone else is using it excellently. This steel transporter of happiness is perhaps superior to what you are riding today, as it is certainly more durable... than your fragile carbon ego. And yet, you will not concede this until you come of age. Your old Schwinn, LeTour, Raleigh, AMF, or Huffy after-all, is not cast aside annually for another piece of carbon jetsam. Today, last years tech is no longer holding your gaze, so you keep flipping the page and searching for the next one. "N" Plus One, and over again... But you failed the gobstopper test long ago. you are now indifferent to loyalty. Perfectly content to shed those who don't share your point of view? Capable of tending to oneself, but not to others. A pile of stuff tossed to the curb, perhaps a new bike every year? -- But never enough friends. Concede, fold, give up, You've lost.
Being true to 'oneself', means that if you were actually a good soul you'd be enjoying whatever 'bike' you own. The scrap-yard that you'd thought became the forever custodian of your first ten speed, did in fact spit-up the bike you'd forsaken.
Your Parent's call to '1-800-F'CK-JUNK' gave a new lease on life to your cryogenically frozen Banana Solo. Old yeller Bike loved you, and today you nary consider it's welfare, let alone feelings. Then BAM! you realize you -- You are a piece of shit, not simply for having cast aside your first real friend, but for doing it over and over again. This bike keeps time, and keeps-on keeping-on without your bad energy. But then, you knew that. This bike is going no place gently, and has more lives than your college futon. Today, You really DO need to take a moment and marvel at how it could be that the bike you struggled to straddle, now fits just as awkwardly beneath a far taller and more awkwardly upright version of yourself. Drifting back in time to when you were kinder, gentler, and without judgement. It is a battle with existential demons. As with all things "Terminator" from the slag-heap comes a groovy re-visited & re-wrapped Benotto festooned robot of white hot burning metal. It is here to destroy you. Melt down your carbon toys, like charcoal. Your bike is here to destroy you...? Wait!
For me it seems to have taken forever to realize one maxim of adulthood... That After one first learns to ride a grown-up bike, it will take another forty years to get over oneself. Wisdom it seems, means coming of age when a person comes to terms with the fact that oneself is not the center of the universe. Shedding ego, awkward ideology, and misguided consumerism will take an average human more than 40 years. Men far longer than women. Of course, If you've never yelled at another driver through the mute glass of your own motor-coffin, then you can stand and take a bow now, and sit this one out. If you are like the rest of us, you are but a pushing, drinking, munching, pill-popping, yelling, toiling misanthrope. You will find this fact out only slightly before you make the final Grande Departe.
"Give it away Give it away Give it away now..."
We cannot mend the fence of our own selfishness until we are either too weak to maintain the pickets, and it falls down -- Or we begin to leave the gate open. There seems to be three events in life worth remarking upon at the end of this "Cruel Summer".
1 The first time you learn to ride a bike, and find freedom.
2 The First person to love you, whom you love as well, (After your own mother of course).
3 The day you realize that you've become a selfish prick, and then this person fades into your rear-view.
For a cyclist finding and battling demons often means riding beside them, with them, or right on past. Pushing pedals through hardships, clawing back up the proverbial hill toward friends and fulfillment can be one's epic journey.
Age and Treachery will overcome youth and skill.