The politically correct purge on our language
SOON, it will become too dangerous to refer to anyone in the third person at all.
Wait, are we still allowed to use the term "person", or is that now considered discriminatory against those who may identify as ornate buildings or yellow-scaled, wingless dragons?
I'm not making this stuff up. Just look up the lawsuit filed by sacked US engineer James Damore against Google earlier this year, claiming employees who deviated from politically correct views or gender were systematically punished or had their employment terminated.
Now we learn that the Australian Army's academy is advising staff to use genderless language in order to be more "respectful".
Yesterday, Defence tried to distance itself from the media reports, saying the department "has not, and is not intending to, issue a directive on the use of gender-neutral language."
But it's all there in black and white (if I'm still permitted to use those terms, too).
As The Daily Telegraph first highlighted, the guide produced by the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) cautions that staff may be reported for unacceptable behaviour, which includes the "deliberate use of non-inclusive language" - a warning that sounds chillingly like something out of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four - and instructs them to start grovelling should they slip up.
"In the event that you make a mistake, the best course of action is to apologise, listen to anything the (offended) member's (sic) wishes to say in response, and then move on with the conversation," the ADFA Staff LGBTI Guide 2017 says.
The document also advises the use of the "correct pronouns and preferred name of sex (of) gender-diverse members wherever possible" and "gender-neutral language when referring to relationships or gender identities".
Frankly, people should be free to self-identify as whatever sex they choose, but forcing others to adhere to non-gendered language is compelled speech, pure and simple, and should be pushed back against at all costs.
Besides, when will Defence personnel have any time left to master their new vocabulary, once they're done varnishing their nails pink in support of diversity and scrubbing any trace of death symbolism from their death machines, lest Australia's mortal enemies are offended?
Their superiors will certainly be busy, too, moonlighting as the language police; that's when they're not preoccupied ensuring only women are hired for certain roles in line with quotas, or paying out a seven-figure sum to fund the sex-change surgeries of their employees.
But then these rules are hardly surprising for an army whose former chief David Morrison used his Australian of the Year platform to push the removal of the word "guys" from our lexicons.
Unfortunately, this is not confined to our defence force.
In Victoria, the Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that it would be promoting the first Wednesday of every month as They Day, in a bid to phase in gender-neutral language.
"Saying 'they' is more flowing and inclusive than saying 'he' or 'she'," an email sent to the department's 10,000 staff instructed.
It may also be a grammatically incorrect perversion of the English language, but given our falling education standards, I doubt many woke Millennials will notice or care.
Predictably, other departments in Victoria are now reportedly considering introducing their own They Days.
After all, it was that state's government which two years ago released an Inclusive Language Guide, encouraging public servants to avoid "heternormative language" such as "husband" and "wife".
That same guide also warned against "misgendering" and helpfully provided alternatives that could be used instead of he and she, such as "zie" and "hir".
And if you think Orwellian doublespeak won't possibly seep into your everyday life, think again.
When Sydney author and journalist Sandra Lee rang up a federal government aged-care agency last week on behalf of her elderly father with cancer, she was shocked by the exchange that followed.
"This might sound strange, but what gender do you identify as?" the operator asked.
"I am a woman," Lee shot back. "What a ridiculous thing to ask."
"Well, it is the 21st century," came the response.
"The questions about what gender I identify as had absolutely nothing to do with the purpose of my call," Lee told me.
"The questions were an example of blatant, unnecessary data-mining and insidious social engineering. Government should stick to its knitting, which is to provide services funded by us taxpayers."
One unintended consequence of all this is the new-found opportunities to game the system for one's own benefit.
In Canada, a man reportedly legally changed his gender solely to take advantage of cheaper insurance premiums, saving himself - or should that be zirself? - as much as $1140 a year.
"David", who lives in Alberta, switched his sex to female on his birth certificate by getting a note from his doctor confirming he now identified as she.
"I'm a man, 100 per cent," David said, before adding, confusingly, "(But) legally, I'm a woman."
"They" are, and if you disagree, well, you're not being very inclusive, are you?
Caroline Marcus is the host of Saturday Edition and Sunday Edition on Sky News.