Last Sunday, the Washington Post ran a frivolous article about a self-proclaimed teenage witch. On the front page.
Why did the Post give front-page coverage to a non-story like this? I believe the answer can be found in passages like this one:
Bennett [the so-called witch], who identifies as nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, starts by meditating and selecting a tarot card from a deck on a small wooden table. They call it their “working area.”
I very much doubt that the editors of the Post thought a human interest story about a teenage witch merited an article in the front section, never mind the front page. They — the editors, not the witch — just wanted to strike a blow in the pronoun wars.
Post writer Michelle Boorstein struck it repeatedly. For example:
There is also a slightly singed bundle of juniper, which Bennett burns to cleanse and protect the work area as they focus on connecting to various energies, gods and goddesses, and more deeply to themself. [Note: “Themself” gets a thumbs down from spellcheck.]. . . .
In Bennett’s case, they experiment with spells or divinations from their Celtic and Turkish ancestries and also with rituals and figures that simply speak to their feminist, goth style, like Hecate, a powerful Greek goddess of witchcraft and the night. . . .
Bennett is reserved by nature; they slouch their tall, thin frame a bit, and opt to take community college psychology classes taped and online from home. But they chatter away confidently on the topic of witchcraft, in part because they’re used to it: Bennett is a witch influencer — albeit on a small scale.
I’ll say this for these paragraphs. They are a perfect match of ridiculous syntax and ridiculous content.
I’m willing to accommodate individuals’ pronoun preferences to the extent I know what they are and remember them. But referring to oneself in the plural goes too far. One person can’t be two people.
It would be easy, though, to laugh off the Post’s story. If the paper wants to make a fool of itself, why should I care?
The problem is that there are some on the woke left who want to punish people for their pronoun usages. In fact, people are already being disciplined and even fired over it. It’s quite possible that one day soon someone will be disciplined, or maybe even lose his or her job, for not referring to a co-worker as “they” or “them.”
Unfortunately, the Washington Post seems to be doing what it can to prepare that battlefield.