Been busy today; still am. I've got time for a short post on the redefinition of words.
Let's face it: people who want to redefine the word "marriage" so that it can mean the romantic/sexual partnership of same-sex couples aren't thinking nearly big enough. Why, they've barely begun to redefine marriage! And when they're done redefining marriage, there are a whole host of other words they ought to redefine, too, just to keep up with emerging social trends. In my helpful way, I've got some suggestions:
1. Marriage: yes, I know, this one's already being redefined so that gender difference and the ability to participate in the one sex act that actually makes new people (let alone unites the biological parents for the sake of those new people) have nothing whatsoever to do with it at all. But come on, people--that's so narrow and limited. Why should marriage be about two people? Why shouldn't it be Adam and Eve and Cindy and Jane and Patricia? Or Eve and Steve and Jim and Bob and Joe? Or all of them: Adam, Steve, Jim, Bob, Joe, Eve, Cindy, Jane, Patricia, and all of their various offspring? Or none of them: if a woman wants to marry herself, isn't it stupid to tell her she can't? Isn't it terribly bigoted and hateful to insist that just because the word "marriage" has implied a husband and wife, one of each, for a whole lot of centuries that this is the best or only way? And another thing: why should marriage be about sex? If the heterosexual roommates Janet and Jill want a marriage to protect the dozen or so children the two of them have created with the help of different and transitory males whose company, however pleasant, doesn't last, who are we to tell them they can't get married and be Parent One and Parent Two to those kids? Why, don't we want them to have a stable family? And still another thing: is there any reason other than religious bigotry why James isn't allowed to marry his adult daughter Sarah? Hey, he divorced Sarah's mom a long time ago, and didn't even realize Sarah was his daughter when he met her at the Moonlight Bunny Ranch--how heartless and cruel would it be for society to tell them their love can't be celebrated with a walk down the aisle, a cake, and tax breaks? Why shouldn't the word "marriage" be as meaningless as any other word?
2. Parent: for far too long we've primarily used this word to refer to people who actually have and raise their own biological children. Sure, adoptive parents use the word, too, but that's because they are acting in loco parentis, so to speak--taking over the mother and father roles for children whose own parents died, or were unfit, or for some other tragic reason couldn't actually parent their children. But this word is so narrow, so restrictive! It has such heteronormative connotations! It ought really be replaced by the more politically correct phrase "parenting partners" to refer to any number of adults who are involved for any length of time at all in a child's life--but if we can't get people to use the new phrase, we'll just have to insist that "parent" simply means anybody who shows up during a child's minority. This way, we'll include biological mom, biological dad (unless either or both are reproductive prostitutes, in which case they forfeit the right to the term), stepmom, stepdad, lesbian "moms," gay "dads," mommy's new boyfriend who moved in after he'd known mommy for two weeks and had slept with her a few times, the lady at the daycare center who has spent more time with the child than any of mommy's boyfriends, and...well, just anybody! We'll get rid of stupid heteronormative holidays like Mother's Day and Father's Day and insist that children celebrate Parenting Partners Week, which will have all the celebratory fun of the ALA's Banned Book Week, but none of the clever tee-shirts. Won't that be fun, boys and girls and others?
3. Child: right now we use the word "child" to refer either to humans during the age of legal minority, or to humans to whom we claim the outdated paternal or maternal relationship. That second will have to go; speaking of "our children" is not only offensive to those who have to pay people to manufacture children for them--it is also offensive to those beings older than age 18 who nonetheless are convinced that they would like to remain in a permanent juvenile state: people like this, and also many others who reach the age of 30 or so without ever cooking for themselves, doing their own laundry, or otherwise demonstrating independence. Who but a bigot would deny people the right for themselves to define their inner age, or release their inner child? What kind of ageist do we have to be before we realize that age is merely a social construct, based on an irrational belief in the actuality of time (which, of course, is a merely superstitious and largely religious way of describing what is actually relative to an observer's vantage point and way of chronicling events)? The word "child" should clearly mean, just like the word marriage, anything any individual or group anywhere ever wants it to mean. If that means we'll have thirty-five-year-olds in day care and ten-year-olds driving on the freeway, well, isn't that the price we have to pay for freedom and a truly secular society?
I could add some more, but I think you get the idea; you'll have an even better grasp of what I'm getting at if you read Matt Archbold's post today about the new trend of sexualizing baby girls by letting them shake their diapered-booties in bikinis marked "Juicy" across the derriere. Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "bikini babes," doesn't it?
But hey, if we can define to the point of idiocy words like marriage, parent, and child, it's only fair that we start defining bikini babe to mean an infant dressed up like a future employee of the Moonlight Bunny Ranch. And so long as Daddy doesn't actually consummate his burning passion for his baby girl until she's old enough to give consent: why, only a bigot would object to their marriage!
Bigot (n.) a person (perbeing?) who is intolerantly devoted to his/her/its own opinions or values, and treats with intolerance people who just want the right to marry their adult daughters, or a group of men and women, or themselves, etc.; be "parenting partners" to a kid for a couple of months because it will give them easier access to the hot single mom they're presently enjoying carnally; or sleep in cribs and be bottle-fed well into their adult years, preferably at taxpayer expense.