Jurassic Park was on TV the other night and I must say I felt quite at home watching the dinosaurs lumber and munch their way across the screen.  I often joke about being a dinosaur myself. (over 60)

Proof of that I guess is my annoyance at changes in language and personal pronouns. I'm not trying to exclude or disrespect anyone but I get bugged when I read about what the Japanese Airlines (JAL) and the U.S. Navy SEALs are doing.

Japan Airlines will no longer use "Ladies and Gentlemen" when passenger announcements are made, replacing it with "Passengers" or other gender-neutral language.

What's the big deal?  After all, maybe someone doesn't "feel" like a lady or a gentleman.  No harm, no foul, right?  Um, perhaps.

I don't pretend to understand the latest conversations on "gender fluidity".  I'm more of a basic biology guy myself.    I do understand democratic fair and reasonable accommodation.  I also understand the slippery slope of concepts like "the tyranny of the minority".

Areomagazine describes that as: "a system in which a particularly extreme and motivated fraction of the populace can wield outsized power in the face of a majority which is either too indifferent or too scared to oppose it."   

Sound at all familiar?  Experience any of this in society today? My contention is that some sense of proportionality should be part of the equation for change.  There is a line that is important - but that's not the intent of this post.  I'm venting over the loss of  the phrase "ladies and gentlemen" so that people who may consider themselves something else, aren't offended?

Keep in mind the the transgender population of America is estimated at just 0.004% of the population.

Areomagazine  "In our democratic societies, politics and culture should be shaped by what all of us want, not by the whims of a few particularly riled-up activists. The tyranny of the minority has made too many inroads already. Allowing it to continue would constitute a serious erosion of our democratic culture."

 

To be complete. the change only affects the airline's English-language announcements, since the equivalent Japanese phrase is already gender-neutral. A few other major airlines have also stopped used "Ladies and Gentlemen," including Air Canada and easyJet.

So this is mildly annoying to me but not the end of the world....yet.

The American Military News however, reports on a somewhat similar change within the ranks of U.S. Navy SEALs and that bothers me a lot more.

"The U.S. Navy SEALs and the Navy Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) recently changed their ethos and creed statements to reflect a gender-neutral presentation of the elite Navy outfits, doing away with gendered terms like “brotherhood.”"

It's my understanding that a big part of the cohesion of SEAL  units is their relationship to the concept of "brotherhood".  If we had multiple SEAL units populated by women I could reluctantly understand the adjustment in language but it would be the last thing to go, not the first.

With all due respect to the brave women who have been given the green light to go into combat, I still see the SEALs as a very bad-ass boys club.  Call them toxic-males if you will but when the really bad guys are at the door, I want the SEALs I know, as founded with proven track record, to answer the call.  (I kinda like America and the Constitution as founded too, call me crazy, call me consistent)

Try this description on for size. “A common man with uncommon desire to succeed.”  Now that's a SEAL.  “Common citizens with uncommon desire to succeed” is the new phrase and it sounds watered down, and no longer fearsome or special.  On the other hand, "Citizens"...that sounds like it could be the PTA.  How intimidating is that?

Navy leaders say the changes were made to comply with changes in law opening the potential for women to join the elite military units.  But are there women SEALs necessitating the change?  Here's the Navy quote - “To date, no women completed the SEAL or SWCC qualification training pipelines.” 

I wonder how all this sits with the current colony of Brave SEALs?  The "Brotherhood" is gone, replaced by “group of maritime warriors.”   Put down those fishing rods, grab a gun and follow me men...er and you too ladies...what...there are no ladies...!!!  Does a "group of maritime warriors" sound like it maintains "the proud tradition and feared reputation" carried by the SEALs?

In the final paragraph of the ethos statement, the prior sentence states, “Brave men have fought and died building the proud tradition and feared reputation that I am bound to uphold.” The sentence is now changed with the reference to “Brave men” changed to “Brave SEALs.

Here's the thing about not pushing back on things like this....when the time comes when it matters most, will we even remember how?  A good man once told us all to be "ever vigilant", and that means in all aspects of life.  Good advice then and more so now. Thanks Deputy Steve.