Words, Words, Words…

I really like the word “majik.”

I mean, I like the aesthetic of those letters in that order.  It feels mysterious, like something transliterated from an exotic Arabian dialect.

I don’t, however, have any idea what it’s supposed to mean.

People tell me it’s supposed to have something to do with using occult/psychic forces to achieve concrete effects – but we already have a word for that, “magic.”

“Magick” at least makes some sense if one is into numerology (the 6, 11 thing), or referring to Aleister Crowley, Thelema, or the kind of art they practice.  “Majik” has no real use that I can think of.

In the old days I would have referred to myself as a “grammar nazi”, before it was pointed out to me that this trivializes the atrocities committed by actual Nazi nazis.  So, since I’m not planning on invading grammar-Poland or murdering millions of grammar-innocents, I’ll just say I’m a stickler for language.

Ironic, I know, since my grammar and spelling are hardly perfect.  I am a frequent user of neologisms and Whedon-speak.  But I’m not talking about honest mistakes or even playing with language for amusement.

What bothers me is sacrificing clear communication in favor of pretentiousness or political statement.

Back in the 80’s (I don’t know if this is still happening, but I sincerely hope not) there was a movement within feminism to remove the sexism from language by experimenting with alternate spellings, etc.  We could no longer be called “women” because that word was derived from “men.”  (I don’t know how correct that etymology is, this is just how it was explained to me at the time.)  We were now “wimmin” or “womyn” or what not.

Now, there is sexism inherent it language.  I’m all for pointing it out and making changes when possible.  Referring to a female writer as an “authoress” instead of simply an “author” makes her gender an issue where it shouldn’t be.  It is too easily understood as saying “she’s as much of a writer as a mere woman can expect to be.”  Simply using the term “author” remains within the realm of clear communication, and takes the sexual politics out of the equation.

Similarly, referring to the person who delivers one’s mail as a “mailman” could imply that only men are qualified to do the job.  The gender neutral “mail carrier” makes perfect sense to me.  But if you insist on calling that person a “postal carrier” because “mail” sounds like “male,”  I have an issue with you.  Choose your battles, sisters.

I’ve come to a point in my life that when I see the word “wimmin” I think “superficial feminist”.  When I see the word “majik” (after my initial “ooo pretty”) I think “superficial pagan.”  This may be an unfair bias on my part, but I really don’t think the people using these words are doing themselves any favors if they want to be taken seriously.

Advertisements