She’s confused and he’s confusing!

She’s confused — and he’s confusing,” said my son, following lunch with an old married couple he’d met for the first time. Remove the gender specificity (‘he’ and ‘she’) peculiar to that lunch conversation, and it could describe many conversations across America in 2019. Our talk is confusing, and our hearing is confused.

Foot and Mouth Disease notice, Monmouthshire, Wales, 1872.

Daily conversations — real ones in real time at Starbucks or virtual ones like Twitter — often take me back me to that scene that in the restaurant, and Douglas’ Readers Digest condensed version of it. Which of us is confusing? Which of us is confused? Confusing and confusion are now epidemic in America. Like the old married couple who made no sense to each other, we seem resigned to living in separate stalls at opposite ends of the barn.

For people like my son who want to avoid the confused-confusion conundrum of their parents’ generation, The Guardian published a a spoof story announcing the roll-out of a new app promising to bring better match-ups for prospective partners. It’s called “Tudder”.

Click “Tinder-style app for cows tries to help the meat market” to open the link to BBC story. If Tudder succeeds in matching up bovines with compatible, un-confusing or un-confused stall mates, might Tudder work for us? Tudder’s Chief Executive Officer doesn’t think so. He offers the opinion that matching breeding livestock “should be even easier than matching people.”

But don’t you have to wonder whether human Match-Up apps might improve their effectiveness by adopting the template of Tudder, or would the patent theft only contribute further to the Foot-and-Mouth epidemic in the barn called America?

— Gordon C. Stewart, writing from a stall in Chaska, MN, Feb. 13, 2019.

6 thoughts on “She’s confused and he’s confusing!

  1. Ah, yes. The Gloria in “old” language and “new”:

    OLD, We praise Thee o God, we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord. All the earth doth worship Thee….

    NEW, You are God. We praise you.

    All the beauty and elegance of a police report. I admit that this is among the worst of the revisions, but *really*. (I’m afraid some hymnals have congregations singing “Faith of our parents”. I’m with Peanuts: good grief.

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    • Carolyn, Sometimes you crack me up! “All the beauty and elegance of a police report.” 😀🤗Marple was a wonderful place. There’s nothing quite like old friends, especially when you’re old. Imagine a new rendition of Phillip Brooks’ “O Little Town of Bethlehem: O little town of Bethlehem,
      how still we see you lie;
      above your deep and dreamless sleep
      the silent stars go by:
      yet in your dark streets shines
      the everlasting Light;
      the hopes and fears of all the years
      are met in you tonight.

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  2. Not to be ill-mannered, but I still like masculine and feminine in language as well as in society. It’s that I like “actress” rather than “actor” for both men and women. But our language hasn’t developed “neutral multiple” gender wording which you REALLY need. Otherwise, you really don’t know who or what you’re talking about.

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    • Ah, yes! It’s a pickle sometimes. Language is more than words. It’s how we think. And it can be tricky, like appearing to say one wants all dramatic portrayers to be called “actress” (“It’s that I like ‘actress’ [rather than ‘actor’] for both men and women.” 🙄🤓🤗 I agree we need a neutral multiple word and I do my best to use inclusive language, although I must confess the excising of male pronouns in contemporary translations of Scripture leaves me cold. It sometimes strips the text of its specificity and neuters much more than gender-specific language. After years of stumbling forward without the old baggage, I still find myself turning to the King James Version’s antiquated thees and thous, and continue to pray “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed by Thy Name. It just sings! Religious language is poetic language, not the language of mechanical engineering. While serving churches over many years, there were times when, despite inclusive language’s good intentions, insistence on its use was downright mean.

      Long way of something something. Not sure what! Here’s hoping the best blogger I know can make some sense out of it.

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