Shut Your Manhole and Call the Ombuds.
Every once in a while someone will ask what it is I miss the least about working for the newspaper.
Where to start?
Thinking back, it was the little things that made me crazy.
Like the copy desk. As much as I appreciated most of those late-night editors who caught typos, math errors and grammatical mistakes and who saved my derriere more times than I can count, sprinkled in among the smart folks were the politically-correct midnight meddlers.
Like the knob turner who once changed my description of a lawyer from “balding” to “baldish.”
Or the goblin who declared that referring to Christmas carolers as the “gay apparel gang” in a humorous holiday column would offend gays.
And the blockhead who, when I wrote about a local deep-sea captain and referred to him as what he was, a “fisherman,” changed the man’s title to “fisher.”
“FISHER?” I screamed the next morning when I saw it in the paper. “Sounds like he needs a proctologist!”
Fisher is a ridiculous word. I hope I never hear it again. Yet, it seems tone-deaf “academics” continue to push it. Despite the fact that even most female anglers proudly call themselves “fishermen.”
Fishers and baldish people belong in a wacky liberal enclave where nothing makes sense and no one cares.
You know, the free-thinking city where hundreds of police officers in riot gear were needed to keep the peace in September of 2017 as angry leftists protested the presence of mild-mannered conservative speaker Ben Shapiro whose speech was ironically entitled, “Say No To Campus Thuggery.”
Nine people were arrested outside the Shapiro event in that tolerant town.
Berkeley’s the city that recently banned natural gas in all new buildings - enjoy cooking on electric cooktops, you kooks - and hired a worker to enforce the no-gas law at an annual salary of $273K.
Now Berkeley city officials have outdone themselves. They unanimously passed an ordinance that deletes all references to gender from the municipal code.
No matter how innocuous the usage or how awkward or ridiculous the result.
"Having a male-centric municipal code is inaccurate and not reflective of our reality," said City Councilman Rigel Robinson. "Women and non-binary individuals are just as entitled to accurate representation. Our laws are for everyone, and our municipal code should reflect that."
Manholes, for instance, are now MAINTENANCE HOLES in Berkeley. I’m sure women and non-binary individuals are rejoicing over that change.
An ombudsman is an ombuds.
Manpower has morphed into human effort.
Pregnant women are now pregnant employees.
A repairman is now a repairer.
Brother is now sibling, although I cannot figure out where that word would even appear in a sane municipal code.
He and she are now “they,” despite the cringe-inducing results of substituting a plural pronoun for a single one.
Thousands of journalists have lost their jobs in the past decade, what with layoffs and newspaper closures around the country.
I’ve often wondered what happened to the most irony-impaired editors, the ones who were determined to wring the life out of our English language and who wanted to avoid offense where none could possibly be taken.
I believe we have an answer. They moved to Berkeley. Where they’re making the municipal code as unreadable as some newspapers.