In 1964, Bob Dylan talked about how the "times, they are a changing." Flash forward to 2012 when the "waters have grown" and I'm not talking hurricane tidal surges. Not only is same sex marriage legal in a number of states; but the American people, especially the younger generation, are far more tolerant of this new family structure. While "the "old road is rapidly aging," the aging "family values" crowd is still fighting against what they see as an assault on sacred traditions. Same sex marriage is now legal in Washington and Fox News, as the mouthpiece for the homophobic Christian right, is now providing a platform for those who actually think that gender neutral marriage forms signal the imminent destruction of heterosexual relationships. You just can't make this crap up - but Peter Johnson, Jr., is giving it his heterosexual and possibly homophobic best!
This morning, Steve Doocy sneered as he began with "so much for wedded bliss." He reported that Washington state lawmakers are "now pushing to replace the words bride and groom with spouse A and spouse B on all future marriage certificates" (OMG) because they want a form that "works for everybody." (OMG) He asked if this is a "good idea or political correctness gone too far." (PC definitely!) He asked Roger Ailes' personal attorney, Knight of Malta, litigator for the NY Catholic archdioces, and Fox amigo, Peter Johnson Jr. what he thought.
Johnson asked if "the cultural kinship terms that go with heterosexual marriage go out the window." He asserted that "this is a sea change, a big anthropological change" and that "this will change society in Washington and other states forever." The chyron framed the Fox message: "Sorry You're Not a Bride, Gender Neutral Proposals for WA State Marriage Forms." Johnson continued, "The issue becomes, in terms of gender neutrality, I'm not a spouse...bride or groom, I'm someone about to be married, where does it go?" The chyron read "Here Comes the ? State May Kill 'Bride & Groom' From Paperwork."(OMG) Johnson asked if we will no longer use words like mother, father, brother, sister, widow, widower. He asked what it means "in terms of our relationships and how we view each other, who choose to engage in heterosexual marriages."
As the chyron read "Bride and Groom No Longer Titles to Become Sspouse A &B on New Forms," Doocy did his patented "summary" by saying that Johnson's commentary represents his belief that "what's happening in Washington state, this proposal is going to wind up just rippling across the fabric of America." Johnson replied in the affirmative and claimed "that it's not about gay marriage, it's about what happens to heterosexual marriage and how those partners are defined and how those relationships go forward in our society." He predicted a "tremendous, tremendous impact" because of "language" that is part of our culture and which "defines our behavior." He urged the audience to "see what happens" because this will be a "sea change in our society and how the smallest of our children understand relationships between parents, husband and wife, between mother and father." The closing chyron: "No More Bride or Groom, Same Sex Marriage Spurs Changes to State Forms."
Wow. Who new that perfectly appropriate gender neutral language will destroy the very fabric of societal relationships and the language governing them! Be scared of gender neutral forms cuz it will change the way you think. Hmmm, if the word husband become obsolete, I guess Steve Doocy's wife could just say "I'm with stupid." This was an interesting segment. Rather than say, as does the Christian right, that same sex marriage will damage heterosexual marriage, Johnson based his commentary on how gay marriage licenses will change society for the worse. Homophobia by any other name is just as vile!
"The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin"
English-speakers learning other languages find gender differentiation to be totally perplexing but it is English that is unusual. In every other language I’ve ever heard of, words are “male”, “female” or … “neutral”, and there are many other examples where differentiations reflect age (of speaker, person spoken to or of)) and social relations (blood relative, in-laws, elder, younger, topdog, underdog, etc. etc. etc.).
Even location and situation: a delightful lady called Mary Kingsley who set off to collect fishes and fetishes in West Africa in 1893 discovered that villages along a river in Gabon had different names depending on whether the speaker was a resident or a person on the river, with different words for direction of movement (headed upstream or downstream). When she asked for details on what appeared to be numerous exceptions to this rule, she discovered that her guides were saying “I don’t know”, but I digress.
Silly Lil Peter has made a mountain out of a molehill that wasn’t even there to begin with. The very idea that a woman entering into a heterosexual marriage might be registered as “Spouse A” has gotten his panties in a twist. That’s about as insecure as one can get.
Personally, I look forward to the day when that little box containing the wedding bands will also contain a coin to be tossed as part of the ceremony. The relegation of genderised words to a list of anachronisms (like ship, which is always “she”) is only the most recent evolution of a language that has never stopped changing. That’s actually been one of its most admired characteristics. Lil Peter is behaving like Chicken Little.
Peter Johnson Jr. = a dickhead X 3.