Thursday, August 21, 2008

Aside from a few splinters, he was fine

I was just reading the Wiki page on the recently murdered Bill Gwatney, who was the Chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party, when I noticed something kind of silly.

(Before I proceed with the silliness, I first want to express my sincere condolences to Mr. Gwatney's family in their time of loss.)

First, I understand that in order to make certain terms gender-neutral, you have to remove the "-man" or "-woman" suffix. In this instance, call me old-fashioned, I have still referred to Gwatney as "chairman" because he was, in fact, a man. If a woman held the post, I would call her "chairwoman".

In the Wiki article, the term "chair" is used to describe Gwatney's title. A chair, as anyone with a brain bigger than a blueberry knows, is also a piece of furniture that one can sit in. The multiple definitions of this word can lead to awkward or funny-sounding sentences, like the one I've spent two paragraphs not telling you.

Here's the way the article reads as of this moment (emphasis mine):

On August 13, 2008, Gwatney was fatally wounded when a man, identified in news reports as Timothy Dale Johnson, 50, entered Democratic Party headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas and shot Gwatney three times. The Arkansas Democratic Party chair was taken to a hospital, but died at 3:59 pm CDT.

So the guy was shot three times and they took the chair to the hospital??? Where are your values, people??!!

1 Talked Back:

At August 22, 2008 at 7:58:00 PM CDT, Blogger Andrew Weaver said...

A classic example of taking gender sensitivity way too far.


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