So. Angry.

Jan. 3rd, 2011 01:13 pm
treefrog: Words in the heart cannot be taken (Words)
My youngest brother Nathan is on a mission in Florida, recruiting members for the Mormon church. I send him emails. I receive the mass emails he sends home in what little time he has to write home. I don't read these emails; I skim them, because there is absolutely nothing of my little brother in those letters. Everything he says is framed in Mormon language (this is hard to explain but ask any ex-Mormon and they'll know right away what you mean), and he talks about nothing but church stuff.

I've been supportive because it's his choice. He didn't turn away from me when I left the Mormon church, and I've said before that I will not turn away from anyone I love because they are still Mormon.

But Nate's letter this week contained the following paragraph:

"Hey family!!! We received an email from [the Mission] president today that we are not to use the pronouns "I" or "me" or words like "myself"! So you won't be hearing those words in these emails anymore. Wow is it ever a hard habit to break. Those words are used pretty frequently in ones vocabulary."

Read over that again and let it sink in. Do you see what's being said here? Do you see what's being done? Do you see how obscene this is? This upsets me for two reasons; two things I love dearly are threatened here.

First, of course, is my little brother. HE IS NOT ALLOWED TO REFER TO HIMSELF. He must excise from his personal vocabulary the means to be an individual. I'm not sure what the "we" he used for the rest of his letter is meant to refer to. Himself and his ever-present mission companion? The entire Mission? The Mormon Church as a whole, because in that context is isn't an individual? Nate isn't like me; he isn't as susceptible to language-inflicted pain as I am. Maybe this will slide off his back and won't affect him. But I read that paragraph and I see that to the people charged with his care, he is not himself. He is not a person. He's a number without a soul, a suit without a name. I want to stomp all the way down to Florida, grab someone by the lapel of their cheap suit and tell them that that kid, see him, the tall skinny blond boy over there? That's my little brother. His name is Nathan. He's a he, not an it or a they. He is a person. He is his own person. If he wants to be your person, fine, that's his choice, but at least let him be a person, you dumb fucking fucks.

And while I'm at it... the English language. You can't have it. It doesn't fucking belong to you. You can control your own little patch of linguistic ground, the same as anybody else, but YOU CANNOT CONFISCATE THE PRONOUNS. I WILL FUCKING FIGHT ANYONE WHO WANTS TO TAKE MY PRONOUNS! I know what you're up to, you slimy little villains. You're trying to re-enact Nineteen Eighty-Four. You think that what can't be said can't be thought. You're trying to steal people's thoughts. You're trying to break people's minds. You should be ashamed to breathe. But let me show you something: look at me. I grew up with a similar assortment of parasitic linguistics (though nobody ever tried to forbid me the use of personal fucking pronouns), and I took it all back. My mind, my words, my self... I took it back. I debugged, I defragged, I rewrote and I regrew. ENGLISH, you fuckers. Like the Doctor said about Earth: It is defended. YOU MAY NOT HAVE IT.

*whew*. I haven't been this angry in a long time. My family and my language are both rage buttons, I guess. Nate's not stupid, and even if he never leaves the Mormon church, he'll have to rejoin the real world eventually. He'll find his "I" again. And if he doesn't, I'll hit him over the head with it.

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treefrog

September 2012

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