“He,” “She,” “He/She,” or “They”

The English language is changing. Always has been and always will. Since the birth of the interwebs, new words have been springing up like dragons sown from, erm, dragons’ teeth.

But here’s a change that involves way more than online communication, and it’s driving trad English teachers Ka-razy:

Call Them What They Wants
by John McWhorter

It is certainly the most challenging change in language I have dealt with in my lifetime. Ever more people, rejecting the gender binary, are requesting to be referred to as they rather than as he or she. That is, we now say: Ariella isn’t wearing the green one. They think it’s time to wear their other one. I expect to get some new practice using they this way as school starts back up, with more students at universities such as the one where I teach requesting they.

Yes, practice—I am trying my best to master this new way of using they despite the fact that, make no mistake, it’s hard. In contrast to the deliberateness of writing, speaking casually is a largely subconscious, not to mention very rapid, act. In addition, pronouns, like conjunctions and suffixes, are a very deeply seated feature of language, generated from way down deep in our minds, linked to something as fundamental to human conception as selfhood in relation to the other and others. I’ve been using they in one way since the late 1960s, and was hardly expecting to have to learn a new way of using it decades later. I thought I had English pretty much under my belt.

Some might find this an odd orientation from a linguist. After all, aren’t we libertine, permissive sorts, wedded to the unheedful idea that people should be able to just let it all hang out linguistically? If so, I might be expected to harrumph that people should not be asked to use language in ways that they find unnatural.

But all of us use certain corners of the language in distinctly unnatural ways all the time, and for reasons less coherent, in the grand view, than those justifying the new use of they. Social justice has a way of feeling, at least to some, unnatural—at least at first. That doesn’t mean it isn’t social justice.

Quite a few of us, in fact, harbor a distinctly unnatural resistance to a related usage of they, which was until recently the one for which it usually made news. Tell each student they can hand in their paper at the front office. We are told that this sentence is incorrect because they can only refer to the plural. The proper user of English is to either use he to refer to both genders, to toggle self-consciously between he and she, or, in writing, to use little (and unpronounceable) monstrosities like he/she….

Read it all at theatlantic.com

3 “Outstanding Program” Emmy Winners were Announced Yesterday

Yeah, the TV Academy thought they’d slip a trio of winners by us by announcing them over the “Creative Arts” weekend instead of during the upcoming primetime Emmy Award ceremony September 17th, but some of us got the news.

The writing Emmys will be awarded during the September 17th TV show, proving we TV writers are ready for primetime after all, but – as strange as it seems to this TVWriter™ minion – various acting awards and three Outstanding Program awards had to settle for the lesser presentation.

The Emmy for Outstanding Animated series went to – but of course – Rick and Morty.

The Emmy for Outstanding Television Movie went to – also an obvious choice – USS Callister: Black Mirror, “House of Tomorrow.”

The Emmy for Outstanding Original Interactive Program went to NASA JPL: Cassini’s Grand Finale.

Couldn’t help but notice that the first two shows mentioned here are science fiction, and the third is science fact.

Congrats to all the winners. On the face of it, it would seem that the Academy thinks of all of you as second citizens, but we know that can’t be true. After all, this is America, right? We’re all equal, you know?

Complete List of Creative Arts Emmy Winners HERE

Most Viewed TVWriter™ Posts of the Week – Sept. 10, 2018

Time for TVWriter™’s Monday look at our most popular blog posts of the week ending yesterday. They are:

‘The Following’ Season 4 was Cancelled by Fox Because the TV Series Became a Victim of Lazy Writing!

How To Write The Perfect TV Series Review To Captivate Your Readers

Empty Promises: My experience submitting scripts to Amazon Studios

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

LB: What Was It Like to Work with Lynda Carter & Loni Anderson?

And our most visited permanent resource pages are:

Writing the Dreaded Outline

PEOPLE’S PILOT 2018 Writing Contest

THE PEOPLE’S PILOT – Enter

SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED SECOND SEASON ARC

The Logline

Big thanks to everybody for making this another great week at TVWriter™ . Don’t forget to click above and read what you missed and re-read what you loved!

Where Do You Stand on the Upcoming ‘Bewitched’ Reboot?

by TVWriter™ Press Service

We admit it. TVWriter™ has been dead set against most reboots on principle for, like, forever, and included in that blanket mindset have been all efforts to bring back, modernize, or even duplicate one of the most beloved TV series of the ’60s, a little bit of witchery called Bewitched.

Then we saw the following article, including comments like these from our very own Contributing Editor Emeritus, Herbie J Pilato.

Not entirely surprisingly, the interracial aspect has gotten people talking on message boards, and not all in a positive light. That being said, for writer/producer Herbie J Pilato, author of several books about Bewitched (Bewitched Forever) and Elizabeth Montgomery (Twitch Upon a Star), it’s actually the perfect representation of the show for today’s audience.

“It [the interracial aspect of the reboot] speaks to what the core message of the show has been all along: prejudice,” [Pilato] explained to Closer Weekly in an exclusive interview. “Samantha and Darrin loved each other despite their differences. She loved him for who he was and not for what he could do for her, because whatever he could do for her, she could twitch up something better. She loved him for him and not his stature or money or position. Meanwhile, he had a strong ethic, which is why he wanted to hold back on the magic. He wanted to work to give her everything she deserved. It was a ’60s mentality, and many thought Samantha was kowtowing to her husband’s will, but the truth of the matter was it was her choice to marry and stay home and care for the household. In this sense, she was one of the most independent women of early television.”

And then there’s this from Herbie J:

The Bewitched theme of prejudice speaks to all minority groups, including the gay and the disabled communities, both of which Elizabeth Montgomery dedicated her time and effort to in many charitable ways. In chronicling the show with several books, I discovered how truly layered and textured and smart Bewitched really was and remains in the 21st Century.  Shows like this one matter; what they taught us about ourselves shaped our thoughts, our culture, and our nature, but with Bewitched particularly, it did so with laughter at a time when we needed it the most.

“I really feel that, as an art form, Bewitched is worthy of respect and admiration,” he added, “and that ABC’s new interracial version will take all of it to a new level in the most wondrous and — yes — magical of ways

If a Bewitched fanatic like Herbie J can be so besotted by this new take on the show, well, let’s just say that we’re looking forward to what happens next much more than we were.

Make that much, much more.

Find out more about the reboot at closerweekly.com, and after you’ve read it, by all means let us know what you think.

Larry Gelbart on Writing Television Comedy

Yesterday we posted comedy writer Ken Levine’s tribute to the irreplaceable Neil Simon, the comedy paradigm-changing playwright who for all practical purposes set the bar for Broadway comedy (and perhaps drama as well).

We were never satisfied with any of the available interviews with “Doc” Simon, but late last night we came across an 8 part video interview with another comedy writing legend, Larry Gelbart, who worked on many of the same TV shows as Simon.  Gelbart died in 2009, but his work lives on…and so do his words of writing wisdom, thanks to this video – and 7 others – in the archives of the Television Academy.

More about – and from – Mr. Gelbart HERE