E-letter: Plain English


Well, our redoubtable prime minister has made it into the world headlines once more, this time for man-‘splainin’ to a woman why she should say peoplekind instead of mankind. Peoplekind is neither in the dictionary nor the social lexicon, so we are left wondering what he meant, especially after a certain amount of backlash sent him to the podium, man-‘splainin’ to the rest of us it was a joke. Was he or wasn’t he? Only his hairdresser, to quote an old commercial, knows for sure.

Kerry Knudsen

This nouveau Luddism has gone too far, and now nobody seems able to stop it. We now have people being fired and exiled on the word of their ex-wives, for Pete’s sake.
Don’t deliberately misconstrue what I just said. Men that hit women are despicable. However, there is a law against assault and a court to administer both its trial and its punishment, and we as a society that once prided itself on the rule of law now relies on the word of ex-wives. Long ago in the misty past, I was a welfare worker putting myself through school, and my personal experience suggests even ex-wives don’t believe ex-wives without evidence.
Our society appears to have become blissfully illiterate, lead in narcissistic splendor by our Prime Minister.
Let me explain — we are assured that Justin went only to the very finest of schools and may have participated in fields of study and attended class. However, by the time Justin and his peers made it to university, they were already staffed by the very haughtiest of anti-intellectuals. This begs the question of how one becomes literate in the classical sense when one is being cleansed by — oh, heathens and savages whose main claim to fame often centers around their activism and their substance abuse.

You can do your own research on this phenomenon. Justin’s professors must have graduated university in the early ʼ70s (the year Justin was born) or later. So check out the course catalogs in high-dollar schools before and after the early ʼ70s, and you will see a dynamic shift away from discipline, memorization, harsh evaluations and achievement and toward a sort of que sera sera worldview based on the depth of emotion one can muster and the amount of resistance one can exhibit.
For example, if the discipline of language in fact demands we never utter the word mankind again, or allow any other sort of gender-identification tags, then surely the PM should apply equal justice under this new, ever-changing, ever-less-literate law.
Canada, lest we forget, has two official languages, and Justin is enamoured of repairing only the one, English, while letting French languish.
What can be the justification for this? The can hardly ever have been a language under heaven more inherently sexist than French. Not only does French segregate women from men in pronouns and articles, but it goes on to make every single cat a female by reference and every single dog a male (la chat; le chien). Not to be deterred, it then goes on to delineate every noun under the sun into sexes, from planets and oceans to roads and universities to baking soda and wrenches. What a cruel twist of fate, I might add, that wrenches somehow became feminine.
Anyway, Justin has disregarded advancing French to the social fine points he addresses to English, so we will disregard it, too.
Justin managed to discombobulate the legal establishment again last week by chiding the Court in the Colten Boushie decision. Enough has been said, I think, about the propriety of a politician criticizing the justice system, but this comment by Justin moves us yet one more step away from tradition, discipline and the rule of law to what can be called, clear and simple, mob rule. It has been totally lost on our activist class that vandalism and violence are not signs of a healthy representative democracy, but of anarchy, chaos and totalitarianism.
Justin is the youngest leader of a major nation since the days of unlimited monarchies — maybe the second-youngest major leader in the world, next to Kim Jong Un. Hmmm… and they both have remarkable hair. I wonder if that means something.
However, getting back on track, Justin excused himself for correcting a woman on her English — and act I believe I have demonstrated he has no qualifications to do. Society decides what its words mean, not its politicians (nor its judges, as noted before).

As an I-hope-interesting aside, the vast majority of our readers are small-c conservatives. I have been surveying this audience for many years, and if you go back and read the reports you can see what I see. I think this is important for us to know about ourselves (not that all stripes of small-l liberals are not welcome to be and do what they wish. We are totally inclusive). It is also important for our sponsors and suppliers to consider, as well, for a more complete and somewhat-missing picture of what you as family business owners are facing.
Onward, the thing is, small-l liberals on the national stage give themselves the latitude to define language, rights, what lives matter and matters of sex, and have done so since the early ‘70s. Coincidence? Maybe not.
If it’s not a coincidence, there may be something in the discussion to show why there are so many overeducated, underemployed people in our work forces and in their parents’ basements. Maybe in next November’s Readers’ Survey I’ll ask how many of our readers have workers in installation or sales with a master’s degree in history or sociology.
It’s not funny, really. History majors can make great workers and great salesmen, assuming they can find the work, but somebody has to tell them there are jobs to be had if they can forget about noun declensions and verb attributions and focus, instead, on being at heo (Old English) job by 8:00.

  • Wow! I am going to assume that you were referring to Rob Porter in your article. And I cannot believe you made that comment about believing ex-wives (even if one happens to have a black eye). Police reports were filed – this was not hearsay. I agree that someone making an accusation does not necessarily make it true, but in this case, you’d have to be hiding your head in the sand to believe otherwise.
    Then I read the comments about the French language, and as soon as you referred to “la chat” while trying to make a point, it was clear to me that you don’t do your research. Anyone with a very limited command of French knows it’s le chat. This says to me that you probably didn’t bother to read when and why the ex-wives came forward, and that this information was on record with the FBI. Yes, ex-wives can be vindictive, but ex-husbands can be abusive – let’s not paint them all with the same brush.

    • Hi, Debbie,

      I was not referring to Rob Porter. However, there have been a lot of allegations thrown around lately, and it appears such antiquities as due process have fallen by the way. I assume we all have known women that were victims of abuse. A pity, since it implies that the problem is systemic. My position of long standing is that we should not even have a category called spousal abuse, buy let any man that hits a woman be charged with aggravated assault and face prison. In Canada, that means 14 years. And I agree that the photo I saw was damning, but I also have a photo of my son when he was three, he has a black eye and nobody hit him. I am not interested in anybody getting away with anything. However, as you noted, ex-wives can be vindictive, and all I said was we need to quit trying these cases in the media and without evidence. It seems it would be better if the victims of assault would report the crime at the time.

      I typed too fast on le chat. That comes from writing several thousand words a week. However, a typo is not a big deal. The studied assassination of the language by a small group of elites is, and it stands in stark opposition to our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

      As you can tell, I’m fairly by-the-book when it comes to the law. Others have a different opinion, and laws change.

      Mainly, I am concerned at the costs of compliance with with this and other complaints business owners may face as this Weinstein Phenomenon works itself out. There is no justification for using power to extort sex, but I simply don’t believe in guilt by accusation.

      Thanks for reading, and thanks for your comments.


  • Kerry,
    Please add one more fan to the list of those who anticipate the arrival of your column!
    I applaud your points of view and how you express them with an appropriate mixture of criticism and humor.
    Despite the seemingly hell-bent efforts of some to reduce our country to a valueless society – typically shrouded in the form of inclusiveness and open-mindedness, your appeal to readers to stop and ‘think about it” is needed. Please keep up the great writing…the pen is mightier than a sword!

  • Bonjour, Michel,

    Please accept my apologies!! What I was saying is that English is under attack from our government, with all forms of bizarre requirements, especially around gender identities. When I said French is a sexist language, I was exaggerating the position of the government by pointing out that under the gender rules they are starting to apply for English, then French is even moreso, since every noun has a modifier that is gender-based. I think virtually everybody can agree French is, in fact, a sexy language, and if this move to neuter nouns, pronouns and articles migrates from English to French, the damage will be unacceptable.

    Of one thing you can be certain: if the government, in fact, ever moves to force the use of neutered, made-up words on French, I will be standing right beside you, defending the rights of francophones to know how their language works without any “help” from the government.

    I am sorry if I gave offence to anybody, francophone or not, about French. I was trying to give offence to the government.