Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for March 29th, 2022

Oenothera triloba

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As I wandered in my part of Austin on March 20, the first day of spring, wildflowers were still sparse. One kind that I did find in a few places was Oenothera triloba, called stemless evening primrose. I suspect this one was closing rather than opening.


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Been a while since I declared my pronouns (the last time was November 17). Let me remind you that in the religious rite of pronoun pronouncement—ah, what a euphonious phrase—acolytes declare their third-person pronouns, the ones you use when you’re talking about people, not to them. (In case you’re wondering why first- and second- person pronouns got omitted, it’s because third-person pronouns were chosen to show solidarity with oppressed indigenous peoples in third-world countries. I’ve also heard second-hand that psychologists have noted it’s a subconscious admission that the whole idea is third-rate, but surely that can’t be true of such a heartfelt rite that reflects what true believers redundantly call “lived experience,” can it?)

Traditional pronoun usage is of course cisheteronormatively and hegemonically patriarchical and white supremacist and therefore to be execrated, i.e. ‘ex-sacred-ed’, but I’m duty-bound to give you an example anyhow, just for the sake of scholarship: “He took his place out in the open, where other people could see him.” The he serves as the subject of that sentence, the his is a possessive form, and him functions as an object.

In the spirit of gender fluidity—or is it agenda fluidity? No, it couldn’t be that, because the agenda is rigid and commands obedience—I hereby do solemnly declare that my pronouns for this week are her for a grammatical subject, hoozit’s for the possessive, and I for an object (kind of like an eye for an eye, except in this case it’s an I for a him).

So here’s a pair of utterances showing first how someone would speak about me in a horridly hateful way and then how someone would wonderfully affirm my existence. The pronouns appear in bold italics so you can compare the two versions.

  • After Steve got out of his car, he walked up to Fred, who heard him say in his usual cheerful fashion that he was glad to be there. Fred thanked him for his greeting.
  • After Steve got out of hoozit’s car, her walked up to Fred, who heard I say in hoozit’s usual cheerful fashion that her was glad to be there. Fred thanked I for hoozit’s greeting.

Got it? You’d better have, ’cause remember the immortal words intoned in Springfield College’s admonitory guide to pronominal (and anything but nominal) obeisance: “It is your job to remember people’s pronouns.” The implied stress is on the your in your job, so, as Smokey Bear proclaimed about wildfires, and Uncle Sam about the U.S. Army, it’s up to you to “do the work” of memorizing my pronouns right now this very second!

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 29, 2022 at 4:34 AM

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