Being gender neutral will mean big rewrites
If fully implemented, the Trudeau government’s commitment to gender-neutral language could work wonders in the arts, whether visual, performing or literary.
Consider, for example, the American portrait “Whistler’s Mother” and the Estonian sculpture “Father and Son.” Will Canadians be expected to call them “Whistler’s Parent One” and “Parent Two and Son” or, more politically correct, “Parent Two and Offspring ?”
Might Trudeau’s textual revolution give us an English play “Voyage Round My Parent Two” and an American film “Throw Parent One from the Train?” What about Mother Goose with her fairy tales and nursery rhymes? I don’t even want to think about the changes fairy godmothers may be in for.
On St. Patrick’s Day, will Canadians be expected to sing “God bless you and keep you, Parent One Machree” or on International Country Music Day, will we succumb to “Silver Haired Parent Two of Mine?”
The revised versions fail to preserve the emotional texture of the originals. Where, pray tell, is the drama in “I Saw Parent One Kissing Santa Claus”, especially the closing lines, “Oh, what a laugh it would have been if parent two had only seen parent one kissing Santa Claus last night.”
As a child, I remember celebrating my mother in song: “M is for the million things she gave me” and so on through the other five letters. “Put them all together they spell ...” not parent one, I’m relieved to say.
Joe Campbell, Saskatoon