From a Time Magazine article about banned book author Maia Kobabe (whose graphic novel “Gender Queer” I reviewed last year):
In the wake of Kobabe’s win in Virginia [where a politician had sued to prevent Barnes & Noble from selling the book], TIME spoke with the author and illustrator about eir work, the efforts to restrict access to eir writing, and what e make of the current cultural moment.
Okay, gonna stop you right there. Friend that I am of the freedom to read, enemy that I am of those who want to ban books, I will not use those ridiculous pronouns. If you style yourself as an ey/em/eir or a ve/vis/ver, I won’t insult you with he/him/his or she/her/her — I’ll say you instead or use your given name, avoiding pronouns altogether.
As for the singular they/them/their, as a Boomer educated in the 1950s and 60s when it was not taught and rarely if ever used, I need more time. Maybe more time than I have left in this vale of tears. Hey, it’s only been eight years since I broke free of the two-spaces-between-sentences rule, for crying out loud.
More and more, I see the pronoun people, like some members of the LGBTQI community, as participants in a giant game of Calvinball, scrambling to keep up with changing rules and shifting goalposts.
Yeah, like that. Thanks, I’ll sit this game out.
Had my first volcano dream the other night. Google lists 4,600,000 results for “volcano dream meaning,” but I say mine came from garden-variety anxiety. Why? Because the volcano suddenly erupted between where I was in the dream, on a sidewalk in downtown Tucson, and our home in the northeastern suburbs, where Donna and the dogs awaited my return. Which wasn’t going to happen, there being a lava-spewing volcano in the way.
As to the source of the anxiety, I can’t pick one. Mr. B’s off his feed and I’m worried about him. Polly’s unemployed and living with us again. There’s never enough money. Yadda yadda, tell me another one.
Anxiety dreams come every couple of years. Unlike other dreams, these wake me up and the details stay in my memory. In them I’m frustrated, unable to accomplish some important task or other. Until the volcano dream, there were two basic scenarios. In one, I’m in the military again, running around base trying to find the right office for checking out of quarters and getting orders to my next posting … it’s always the next office, miles away, never listed in the directory or shown on the map. In the other, the Air Force wants me to come out of retirement to fly F-15s again (yay!) but there’s an endless list of preflight requirements to check off before I actually get to do it: egress training, harness and helmet fitting, altitude chamber, a physical, written and oral exams, reading updated regulations and current NOTAMs … routine things I had to do real life, but for unknown dream reasons intimidating and impossibly hard to complete. Calvinball again!
These days, looking back on all that, I wonder how I ever pulled it off. No wonder I have weird dreams.
One thought on “Calvinball”
I’m with you on the pronouns, I have a little degree in English from 1980, but that sentence looks like a bunch of typos and is annoyingly unreadable.
You can’t just start using your own opaque grammar without providing a constantly updating glossary, with index, for us old normals.
And I don’t mind trying to not offend people by using the right pronoun for their new sex.
But in my family, I flat gave up using pronouns for referring to nephew ‘Kim’ turned niece ‘Kim’. After failing to get the he/ she right 500 times I now just robotically say ‘Kim seems OK now, Kim says Kim is taking some college courses’. Luckily she moved to Maine.
I sure like Lassen Peak, in distant NE California, last erupting 1915 and before that in Indian 1700 days. It will surely blow again.
Try to dream of relatively calm hot spot ‘shield’ volcanoes seeping jolly runny basalt like in Hawaii.
Avoid dreaming of ‘plinian’ volcanism like Mt Vesuvius, frying and choking every living thing like at Krakatoa and Pompey and Herculaneum. Two thousand degree powdered burning rock dust blasting down at hundreds of miles an hour.
I’ve had that dream where I’m called back to the Army, rushing around the post getting papers stamped, trading clothes and hats, always one more sergeant to satisfy and he’s always on the other side of the base. A frustration and dread dream.
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