One of the things that makes me realize the German school system is fairly good, is how many Germans who appear to be semi-intelligent post really silly things sometimes. Remember how many fairly intelligent Germans posted that Christian fundamentalist’s article about how all sexual harassment and sexual assault would disappear if women did their blouses up properly? Half my Freundeskreis posted it, I don’t even think they were embarrassed afterwards.
British and Americans and Australians who think stupid things seem stupid. They sound silly. They express themselves in ways which can make you snort and sneer and snigger. Germans have this habit of sounding really reasonable and fair and spouting total shit. That stupid article about how people wanting to put a sternchen and then an Innen at the end of words like Arbeiter so their readers know they mean female Arbeiter too = Isis plus the GDR plus waterboarding is literally one of the stupidest things I have ever read in my entire life. Your man might be a Sprachkunstler but he really has nothing to say whatsoever apart from „I don’t like sternchen Innen, I don’t like using them, I don’t like other people using them, I think they should stop.“ Like, whatever. I don’t like it how the sandwiches in Kamps have all that remoulade smeared all over them. This is why I never go to Kamps. I wish they’d make some sandwiches which didn’t have remoulade on them for people like me. Guess what? It’s not totalitarianism. It’s something I find vaguely annoying.
I don’t really believe that language will ever be truly gender neutral. English, an allegedly gender neutral language, isn’t really, as vaguely sexist expressions such as „lady-doctor“ or „male nurse“ prove. But I also don’t think trying to make language as non-sexist as possible is a bad thing to try to do, even if you know your language will never achieve this aim, I mean, I still clean up my kitchen even though there will always be a few germs on the counter, don’t I. I definitely don’t think those people who think the sternchen innen shit is so ugly that it isn’t worth using, i.e. the beauty of the word Arbeiter is worth the sexism of not thinking about female workers, because the word is so beautiful and their novels are so great and German and wonderful and the German language is so simple and solid, each word like a perfect brick in a road and you’re grafittiing it up with sternchens, I don’t think all those people are all sexist pricks. Some of them are, but most of them are just being a bit stubborn and German about it. And I actually think sometimes, it is a bit sexist to use the sternchen innen suffix, like in examples like Abtreibungsgegner*Innen or Mörder*Innen, what a load of crap, pretending women are as violent and oppressive as men are, I sometimes bewusst don’t gender things where I think, no, let the men suck it up. I think it’s a bit weird when people write Vergewaltiger*Innen. Why would you bother. I also do sometimes – and I think this is maybe the most controversial thing I’ve said? – but here goes – I do wonder about the star – seeing as how trans women are women and trans men are men, who is the star for? It is just for intersex people and non-binary people? But surely everyone has one word they call themselves: ich bin Student, ich bin Anwältin, so then why do we need the star? I guess we must need it. I also think it’s pretty cool that the star’s being used in English now, this must be the only incident of German punctuation (for want of a better word) influencing English punctuation for a good few years at least? When was the last time? Maybe when all those olden days writers started writing Temperance and Love and Patience, etc, I bet that was inspired by German.
But what I absolutely think is that we are living in an age of dictators and dictatorship. Trump is a fucking dictator. Theresa May would like to be one if she got given half a chance. Erdogan, Putin, these people do not want people to have freedom, artistic or linguistic or anything else. People are literally having their human rights taken away from them as we speak. The governments are out to oppress people and to take away our freedoms. And nobody gives a shit. The only totalitarianism anyone is EVER complaining about is actually not totalitarianism but just vague changes in collective habits because you know THERE’S A THING CALLED TIME AND IT MOVES FORWARD. People hardly say Vetter anymore or Pampelmousse, in England nobody says the Ukraine or pleasanter or handsomest. Everyone likes smileys. 😉 Language changes and of course sometimes those changes are people deciding to say things differently because they think it’s cooler or maybe even more inclusive. Some of the changes happen slowly and you don’t even notice them happening. The other day I found an old text I’d written with the word Anziehsachen in it and I had to phone loads of my German friends to check whether everyone’s stopped saying it or if I had just stopped saying it myself. Language changes. It’s not totalitarianism. Literally nobody thinks you’re a sexist prick for not using sternchen innen in your brilliant meaningful wonderfully written German novel. But for getting that upset about other people wanting to use it. Accusing them of being the linguistic equivalent of Isis? I dunno. I can’t help thinking you have to be a bit of a dumb prick* to come out with this shit. At this point in time. For fuck’s sake, people. Grow the fuck up and stop posting silly articles all your life.