Call Me By Your Pronoun

As I lay, half-baked and alone on the couch, watching Call Me by Your Name for the 6.9th time, I couldn’t help but think to myself:

“I’m pretty sure I’m straight, but damn if I wouldn’t fuck Armie Hammer right now.”

I want to make it crystal clear that I would be more than willing to enter into a heated romantic relationship with Armie Hammer if it meant living in Italy, sipping on San Pellegrino Aranciata all day, and finger fucking peaches all night. I also have a deep desire to marry both Winklevoss twins at the same time.

Daydreams of riding bicycles in way-too-short shorts aside, I would like to believe that I am a mostly straight man. However, this does not mean that I haven’t been around the queer community my whole life. I have two uncles who are gay, and I was baptized by a gay priest who was my uncle’s partner. So, don’t ever talk to me about “praying the gay away” . . .

. . . unless you’re Armie Hammer, in which case I will gladly discuss “praying the straight away” as quickly as possible.

On top of my fabulous baptism, I am friends with many individuals who lie at various points along the spectrums of sexual attraction and gender identity, and they have always appreciated my openness and fairness in discussing their perspectives and experiences. These conversations have even opened my eyes to the possibility of my own sexual fluidity, given the amount of times I have been called out for my flaming bisexual tendencies.

Therefore, as a (mostly) straight ally, I want to talk about supporting the cultural development of sharing with others the pronouns with which you identify.

I wish to address pronoun politics today in part because I believe they are valid, a little bit because it acts as a proxy for gender politics as a whole, but mostly because this will undoubtedly piss off our conservative readers who managed to keep reading past my fanboy-ish attempt at erotica earlier in this article.

Asking for someone’s pronouns is in the same league as asking for someone’s name. Pronouns are a part of how people identify and should therefore be respected the same as someone’s name, gender, or sexuality.

Think about it: Only insane people walk up to strangers and say “Hey, I know you said your name is Sergei, but you look like an Abby so imma call you that from now on.” That person is clearly incapable of functioning in a civil society. They should go back to finishing school to re-learn basic etiquette, as well as the answer to the eternal question: on which side of the plate does the soup spoon belong?

…Seriously, I want to know. I really need to impress Armie when we go on our soup date later.

Again, I digress. I’m sorry, Daddy.

In response to the socially conservative hatred of pronoun preferences, I would like to propose the following deal:

*Whispering in my sexiest bedroom voice* “Call me by your pronouns, and I’ll call you by mine.”

If people on the right are so insistent on neglecting the basic dignity of their fellow beings by refusing to call them by their self-identified words, then I would like to call them by whatever I choose.

I imagine the interaction would go something like this:

Thomas: “Hi, my name is Thomas. I am a man with a penis who attempts to date women, but I don’t feel comfortable calling myself a feminist since that’s kinda gay.”

Me: “Hello Thomas. You look like an average uneducated white guy, as is statistically likely for conservatives, but I am deciding to call you Lady Bird. You are in fact an 18-year-old raging feminist from Sacramento with mommy issues.”

Lady Bird: “Stop, sir, you are making me very uncomfortable. I don’t like girly movies like Lady Bird. It propagates foolish ideals such as female independence and is set in Sacramento, which is where the unabashedly progressive dictator of California, Gavin Newsom, lives.”

Me: “Lady Bird is a fantastic piece of cinema that speaks to all demographics and should be respected. Also, Gavin Newsom is not only a paragon of modern liberalism, he is also insanely hot and therefore should be worshipped like the queen he is. I therefore choose to instead address you as Baby Nut until you appreciate the art of theatre, you pussy.”

Baby Nut: “I do in fact love the art of cinema! Predator is my favorite movie because it is unabashedly masculine. It’s not some gay shit like La La Land.”

Me: “Would you like to see a movie about hypermasculinity that is objectively better than La La Land by having won an Oscar?”

Baby Nut: “Sounds great, what movie?”

Me:

Do you see how the outside imposition of an inherently internal attribute such as identity leads to a sense of helplessness and incongruity from within the individual? Do you see how this lack of civility leads to a social death-spiral?

An externally created self is an inherent enigma.

The basic right to one’s identity and autonomy is a fundamental part of what it means to both be human and to live in a society. If we deny people the right to self-identify, then why even allow people to legally change their names? Or have names at all?

If anything, your given name is the most un-American part of your identity since it was tyrannically imposed upon you without your consent, often by the literal patriarchy. Therefore, the social construct of given names is inherently fascistic, and we should embrace the concept of complete self-identification like the good postmodernists we say we are.

But I digress.

In conclusion, despite the amazing wordplay, I would sincerely ask that everyone reading this call me by MY pronouns, and I will call you by YOURS.

-B. Bunny (Fuck/Me/Armie)

Down in the DMs: The Sergei Slide

Hello, devoted readers of The Evening Look.  I too, am a reader like yourself–you will notice quickly that I do not have the sharp wit of B. Bunny or the sarcastic introspection of O. Justice.  But I do have a story, one that I think will be of interest to you all.  

I’ve been following the content of The Evening Look almost since its conception.  The Evening Look is an apparent antithesis to campus conservative publication, that, like Batman, is not the hero we deserve but the one we need right now.  But for a long time, things seemed pretty underground, with me and scarcely a few others liking tweets and leaving comments. They’d gotten The Morning Watch’s attention though, which I guess is what matters.  “It’s what you practice in private that you will be rewarded for,” blah blah blah.  

Still, I was pleased to see some quality flyers posted all over campus with that familiar lighthouse image this past week.  Boasting superior content for superior beings, it was clear that the anonymous creators of The Evening Look felt–rightly so–that they should expand their readership.  And it seemed to work! Strangers started liking and retweeting articles, or even better yet, standing up to The Morning Watch instead.  I imagine our masked heroes were very proud of themselves, as was I.  

Part of the beautiful nonchalance of The Evening Look is that all articles (thus far) have been anonymously published.  The Morning Watch takes great care in clearly stating the source of every massive pile of shit that they release to the innocent eyes of the internet, but here, where every article is an utter joy to read, the geniuses behind the screen are hidden.  Anonymity also opens the door to laypersons like myself to be able to contribute freely without subjecting ourselves to the mortifying ordeal of being known. Which is nice.  

So imagine my surprise when Sergei Kelley, HBIC over at The Morning Watch, slid into my Twitter DMs one afternoon under the assumption that I worked for The Evening Look.  He had some complaints regarding placements of flyers (anyone will tell you that directly on top of The Morning Watch’s flyer is Prime Real Estate).  Rather than going straight to @LookEvening, he decided to subject a mere observer to what I would assess to be a more eloquent version of a temper tantrum.  

I wonder if Sergei always converses with people like he’s addressing a professor.  And not even like a chill professor that lets you talk without raising your hand–no, this is the professor whose attendance policy is “late=absent”.  Let me remind you of the context of this conversation: Saturday night in a college student’s Twitter DMs. And Sergei’s message starts “Hello [my first name] [my last initial],”.  He threw in an initial!  In my DMs!  He then proceeded, in MLA format, to essentially tattle on The Evening Look to a person with absolutely zero authority.  He even attached photo evidence of the flyer placement, as if I, who he presupposed to be the perpetrator, would not be aware of where I put flyers.  I don’t know whether to be flattered that he thinks I could be one of the masterminds behind The Evening Look, or offended that he clearly thinks I’m a dumbass.  

I politely replied to ‘Mr. Kelley’ that he must be confused, for I have no affiliation with the publication.  I wished him the best of luck with his flyers. And I am sure the utter humiliation of being wrong is the reason he has left me on ‘read’.  I mean, nobody knows the editors’ identities. He must have been so, so confident that I was involved in some way, simply certain that he’d cracked the code, that his investigative journalism instincts would finally prove themselves.  But once again, the mind behind the stellar content from The Morning Watch is sorely misguided.  

Thank you all for reading my story, and to the editors of The Evening Look for all that they do to maintain civil discourse on this campus.  To the rest of the staff over at The Morning Watch: your man is already in my DMs, and the truth hurts.  Better luck next time. 

Sincerely, 

A Dedicated Looker

Consider That The Morning Watch Might Accidentally Be Furthering Campus Liberalism

I don’t understand your strategy. You consistently write about various instances of collegiate “leftism” on campus yet, as a self-titled conservative outlet, refuse to comment or criticize anything. It seems almost contradictory that your tagline reads “objectivity, not subjectivity”, yet you blatantly label yourself as the only conservative publication on campus. 

Which one is it?

It reads like a classic case of trying to have your cake and eat it too, except you seem to be attempting to eat a vegan cupcake which you don’t quite possess in the first place. 

Do you want your readers to be the ones making the value judgements while you sit and shrug? If so, it would seem consistent to try reporting on all campus news and not preselect for the most underwhelming liberal activities on campus. Reading through your posts in the last few months, you would think conservatives never do activities on campus. Don’t you want to talk about how awesome it is when your folks come here to DESTROY random students with FACTS* and LOGIC*?  It’s frustrating to read and makes it difficult to understand your angle.

The dedication to objectivity makes it impossible to tell your angle. You wrote an article about pronoun training for MSU service workers and decided to interview the vice president of MSU’s Turning Point USA chapter, but because you put on this objectivity charade you make him say “yeah it’s a little out there but I think it’s fine,” like some sort of liberal. A reader who doesn’t know about the topic might walk away thinking “Boy, no one seems to have any objection to this policy at all. It sounds like a fantastic idea.” 

You are a largely milquetoast outlet trying desperately to live up to the fetishized dream of a perfectly objective conservative news outlet. You want to say the Forbidden Words about pronoun training, but instead you look like a thirsty man begging a woman for a crumb of coochie in the DMs. I hate to break it to you, but anyone who stumbles upon your site and just reads the last few posts probably thinks you’re godless libs. Therefore I would like to present a solution to this chimeric logic nightmare: 

Become an independent liberal outlet on campus.

In order to balance your principles of conservatism and objectivity you very clearly self-select events to report on which demonstrate progressive actions and agendas (read: bias), yet after choosing which articles to write you simply report the events in language that would make Hemingway beg for more substance. This leaves your entire website a collection of articles describing, in boringly objective detail, the liberal activities around campus. The material is all there – straightforward, nearly positive reporting on the new campus multicultural center, using the singular “they” in emails, James Madison hosting a conference on “Race and Socialism”. The talent is there to make the material pop, as we’ve seen. All you have to do is get rid of the opinion section, the only section that makes it clear the site is conservative. Now you’re a liberal outlet, writing your pieces in the same way, but that’s exactly how a liberal site would want them to be written. You might even get others to participate in, shall we say…civil discourse. 

– B. Bunny

Civil Discourse…

On a night of profound boredom in the now distant past, the editors of The Evening Look came across a truly inspiring article on The Morning Watch by Adam Green, the President of James Madison College Conservatives. This article — “Civil Discourse: Where We Falter”— has driven us to action, and we hope that our contributions can help inspire a truly open and productive intellectual environment. This is our attempt at civil discourse…

Despite the chorus of moans arising from 5th grade English teachers across the country, we feel obliged to begin with a grammatical definition. Specifically, we must define the role played by a 3-dot ellipsis in the English language. If the reason for this pressing need is not apparent, a quick look at Green’s article should clear up any confusion. According to Merriam-Webster, an ellipse is a “marks or a mark (such as …) indicating an omission (as of words) or a pause”. Literarydevices.com claims that these three dots “can stand in for whole sections of text that are omitted that do not change the overall meaning” or can “indicate a mysterious or unfinished thought, a leading sentence, or a pause or silence”.

If you have followed our previous guidance, then you are surely aware that the usage of ellipses in Green’s article fails to fit into these narrow definitions. They are almost exclusively used in places where a mere comma would suffice. Perhaps Green is issuing a scathing critique of left-wing attacks on civil discourse by refusing to be bound by traditional grammatical rules. Perhaps he is encoding a deeper, more important message in the frequent repetition of three dots. We would dare not suggest that Green simply fails to understand basic English, that the editing standards of The Morning Watch have declined in the wake of a recent influx of readership or that such standards were porous to begin with. No, such positions would be absurd.

Given that an ellipsis consists of three periods, there are 39 periods being used to form ellipses in Green’s article. There are also exactly 39 periods being used to end sentences in the article. That this could be a mere coincidence seems patently absurd, but our devoted editors have discovered no hidden codes after hours of research under the influence of mind-altering drugs. This is where we falter. But you can trust that we will continue to do our best on this noble quest for the truth.

While our interns turn their attention to the two kilograms of peyote currently sitting on our boardroom table, we must turn our attention to the rest of the article. Just as an ellipsis consists of three points, Green’s entire 18-paragraph article consists of only three real points. These three points are: 1- “We (society) are divided”, 2- “We don’t talk to each other”, and 3- “We should talk to each other”. Here is a sample paragraph from Green’s article with the parenthetical numbers referring to which point he’s making:

Opposing sides will rarely come to that center table or that center aisle and engage in civil discourse… rather engaging in anything but civil discourse. (2) This is where we falter. (3) We have polarized ourselves from having a conversation and attempting to recruit the opposing side to our own side…(1+2) Political discourse used to involve holding an educated civil debate, a policy forum, or a town hall in the hopes and in the expectation of convincing the opposing side of the merit of your proposed solution. (2+3)

Instead of wasting your time with complicated and unnecessary jargon, we can save some valuable trees and make the exact same points with just three simple phrases:

We don’t talk to each other. We should talk to each other. We are divided and we don’t talk to each other. We don’t talk to each other and we should talk to each other.

See, it’s that easy! We urge you to confirm this repetition for yourself and review the original. You’ll see that the article really is just full of irrelevant variations of these three points.

Despite these basic criticisms of the article, there is nothing inherently problematic with Green’s project. Conversation, discussion and debate are fundamentally important for civil society, and their necessity is exacerbated by a democratic political system. America is a deeply divided nation, at least according to 77% of Americans in a 2016 Gallup poll. However, the divisions America currently face actually problematize civil discourse itself. A recent survey revealed that almost 80% of Americans firmly believe that Democratic and Republican voters disagree on basic facts. In an environment in which the truth itself proves more elusive than proper usage of an ellipsis, coming to the table will only perpetuate our divisions. This is where he falters.

Even if one believes that this factual divide can be overcome, and that civil discourse should be pursued, Green’s article suffers from a lack of actual substance. Green’s article fails to in any way advance our understanding of the practice of civil discourse. Specifically, Green’s article does not provide us with a concrete method for solving our divisions. Should we attend the bipartisan debates presented by the James Madison College Conservatives? This seems problematic for three reasons: the importance of fact-based argumentation and two further reasons deriving from the social setting of such debates.

First, our editors’ attendance of such events has revealed that while facts are thrown around constantly, there is no method for discerning truth and falsity in the midst of the proceedings. Further, the environment of such debates exacerbates a problem Green observes: “we do not often enter a debate setting looking to gain followers” and “we shy away from uncomfortable political engagement, and often choose to attack the opposing side from a great distance under our own protected fields of influence”. As much as such events reduce the physical distance between participants, the great presence of ideologically similar participants allows people to use “trendy political slander” to retreat from intellectual engagement in the knowledge that they are surrounded by supporters. Additionally, while it is true that “screaming into one’s face and insulting their humanity doesn’t provide any more reason to them to join in our supporting our proposals”, our editor’s first hand knowledge of these events suggests that such things are not an uncommon occurrence, rendering the discussions less effective by Green’s own standards.

How then, should we engage in productive civil discourse? Should we just find random liberals or conservatives and talk to them? Surely not: this is similarly problematic with regards to fact-checking and such individual discussions are limited in the magnitude and scope of their effect.

We at The Evening Look thus present ourselves as the second half of the solution. Civil discourse can be maximally effective in interactive debate between our platform and the “independent conservative voice on campus”. Fact-checking accountability is heightened through the ability of one site to watch the other and the easy linkage to internet sources. Interactive debate is able to reach a greater audience without creating a damaging social environment. We will falter no more.

The Evening Look is a direct response, in Green’s words, to the “need to invite everyone to the table for a discussion, work at convincing them of our proposed ideas, and not shy away from being allowed to be taught something from them as well”. We invite, no, we challenge The Morning Watch to meet us at the virtual table and to debate, with humor and gravity, the issues of our world.

– The Editors of The Evening Look