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Monday, December 26, 2016

The Mighty Copywriter's New Rule for Gender Marking


Among the "lessons" recited at church on Christmas Eve was the annunciation to the shepherds.

My wife complained on the sidewalk outside about the lesson's loss in euphony.

"Glory to God in the highest," the angel proclaimed, "and on earth peace, good will toward all people."

King James had been neutered.

The inclusive "good will toward all people" sounds wrong for a reason: it's too stately. "Good will toward men"—like a shepherd—is plain and unadorned.

"Prose is architecture, " Hemingway said, "and the Baroque is over."

The King James editorial crew should have let it stand, as the US Navy has sagely done, for example, with "messman," letting it stand over the gender-neutral "culinary specialist."

And so here is The Mighty Copywriter's new rule for gender marking:

If it ain't baroque, don't fix it.

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