Quote of the Day

There are two ways of dealing with nonsense in this world. One is to put nonsense in the right place; as when people put nonsense into nursery rhymes. The other is to put nonsense in the wrong place; as when they put it into educational addresses, psychological criticisms, and complaints against nursery rhymes or other normal amusements of mankind.

—G. K. Chesterton

I’m So Old …

… I remember when it was students who were disciplined for crude speech. The College Fix reports that

Just before Christmas, a judge overturned the University of Southern California’s 2016 sexual-assault finding against an accused student, deeming him the victim of a process that was not “fair, thorough, reliabl[y] neutral and impartial.”

One of the errors made by the private institution? The Title IX coordinator and investigator repeatedly called the male student and his adviser “motherfuckers” after they forgot to hang up on a call with them.

Oh, and they called the female student accusing him “a catch.”

USC’s tuition and fees typically exceed $72,000 a year.

Could These College Presidents Pass High School Civics?

The Volokh Conspiracy reports that group styling itself as the “Higher Education Council of San Antonio” has put out a statement containing this paragraph—

As members of the Higher Education Council of San Antonio (HECSA), we — the presidents of colleges and universities throughout this community and supporters — feel that it is important for us to speak out and make a distinction between diversity of thought and disingenuous misrepresentation of free speech. We further attest that hate speech has no place at our colleges and universities. Inappropriate messages, banners and flyers that are meant to provoke, spread hate, or create animosity and hostility, are not welcome or accepted.

As the Supreme Court recently reminded us in the Matal v. Tam case, there is no hate speech exception to the First Amendment. Go read Eugene Volokh’s post.

It’s past time to fire the overly-credentialed and under-educated administrative drones cluttering so many schools and replace them with competent teachers.

I’m So Old …

… that I remember when gender was a property of nouns and pronouns (rather than a made up property of biological organisms) and that there were only four of them used in English: male, female, indefinite, and neuter. When using the English language, a person whose sex was known to be male was referred to as he, and a person whose sex was female was referred to as she. When referring to a person whose sex was unknown, the indefinite form one was used in formal speech and writing, and the masculine he was used informally.

Of course, English is a living language, and we now seem to have some noisy people who no longer are comfortable being addressed by pronouns which reflect their biological reality. However, this does not require coining new words. When speaking or writing formally about such a person, one can be used, and since we already have a perfectly good word for something that is neither male nor female, it should be grammatically correct for informal speech and writing about such a person. However, as of matter of respect for reality, I strongly prefer the use of the old masculine and feminine forms.

Note: The use of the plural form they is always wrong with referring to a single individual.

UPDATE—Stacy McCain deals with this issue from a different perspective here.