Because language is always political. Pronouns reawaken. Remember tis/ter/tem? A statement from Manjoo, a commentary from Language Log, and an index to earlier columns.
Manjoo is apparently suggesting that everyone should choose the opt-out option, at least with respect to pronoun choices, so that they replaces he and she just as you replaced thou. This will certainly get pushback from traditionalists like Mary Norris. Will there also be objections from people on the other side, who want to see explicit non-gendered pronoun choice retained as an expression of personal identity?
From part 1
My focus in this post will be on the Supreme Court’s conclusion that at the time the Second Amendment was proposed and ratified, bear arms unambiguously meant ‘carry weapons, for purposes of being prepared for a confrontation,’ without regard to whether the carrying was in connection with military service. What I conclude is that even without taking account of how bear arms was actually used, the court’s arguments don’t hold up. Assuming for the sake of argument that bear arms could reasonably have been understood to mean what the court said it meant, the court didn’t show that it unambiguously meant that.
If you doubt the conclusions, you can run your own analysis on the data he provides.
the pool of data that is inconsistent with Heller (not including lines that are ambiguous) is increased by about two-thirds, from 505 to 847.
What? It’s a metaphor? An alogy?
Hodge asks us to look to semiosis to understand and act in the politically over-charged moment.
McCarthyism was constituted in texts and in explosive discursive, semiosic processes that carried the effects very far, very quickly…. Semiosic contexts inﬂect meanings and are themselves meanings. McCarthy’s strategy included waving a list in the Senate which he claimed contained 205 names of proven commu- nists in public ofﬁce, which he would not reveal. Waving the list was a multimodal signiﬁer supporting his spoken words. This semiosic situation contains multiple splits. McCarthy’s speech is a surface text split from its real meaning, supposedly known to the speaker but not the audience. The speaker demands absolute trust from his hearers at the same time as he excludes them. We do not need a theory of schizophrenia to see this as a way to provoke paranoia.
Hodge, Social Semiotics for a Complex World. 91.