Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What friends are for

These are heady days for gender neutrality. I have been an advocate of gender-neutral pronouns since at least yesterday's blog post, but zheir general acceptance is an uphill fight, while this Swedish alternative is so much simpler and more intuitive. Rather than refer to someone as a he, she, or it, we can refer to zir simply as "friend," thereby achieving gender neutrality and world peace simultaneously.

For example, if I am mugged in Stockholm, I will yell out, "That friend! A friend mugged me!" When passerby ask me who mugged me, I will respond, "A friend! A friend did it!" When the police ask for a description of the suspect, I will say, "It was a friend. The friend was tall with blond hair." They will plaster the neighborhood with the detailed composite sketch based on my description and a headline like, "Wanted: Friend who is a mugger," or "Beware: Mugger who looks like a friend."

Later, when I have recovered from this, I will meet my friend friends at a bar, and we will discuss our friendships. One friend friend will say, "I know Hjalmar and Lotta are friends and friend friends like us, but are they friend friend friends?"
"I think so," another friend friend will say, "because I saw friend walking with friend last Friday after the bars closed, and you can imagine where they were headed."
But a third, more skeptical friend friend will counter, "But are you sure Hjalmar even goes for friends? I always suspected that Hjalmar was the kind of friend who preferred friends." This suggestion will cause general surprise among my friend friends.
"Are you implying that there is an appreciable difference between friends and friends?" the first friend friend will ask suspiciously. "That is not what I was taught in school."
"Yes, friend is right," another friend friend will chime in reassuringly. "I don't know what your problem is, but Hjalmar loves all friends. The question is only who friend's current friend friend friend is."
But the skeptical friend friend will press on, "No, I love all friends too, and I love love my friend friends, but sometimes I think I love love love only some friend friend friends, although I'm not quite sure how to describe what sets them apart from other friends and friend friends." These remarks will stir something closely resembling outrage among my group of friend friends, and one will even throw a glass of beer to the ground, silencing other nearby groups of friend friends and drawing their attention to friend.
"Friend, I don't think we can be friend friends if you believe things like this. Frankly, I'm not even sure we can be friends." A collective gasp will arise from the bar's friendly patrons. "In fact," this friend will continue, "I think we may even have to be..." friend will trail off for a few seconds as friend scrambles to unearth the archaic term from the recesses of friend's memory, "...ENEMIES."

Carl Schmitt would have been so excited to witness this spectacle.

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