Saturday, October 21, 2006

I Don't Think He'll Keep It Down

Here's an odd strategy for keeping teenagers quiet.

According to the Associated Press a woman who thought a 14 year old boy was too loud when playing basketball decided to encourage discourage his noise by standing on her sundeck and dropping her clothes. He ran into the house to tell his parents.

The linguistic concern here is that the law regarding indecent exposure refers to the perpetrator as one who "exposes his person." So the judge threw out the case. The prosecution argues that elsewhere in California state law is the claim "words used in the masculine gender include the feminine and neuter" so this indecency law is not gender specific and the woman should be prosecuted.

Is it possible that the masculine includes the "feminine" and "neuter?" Would it be more accurate to say that grammatically masculine words may also refer to people or objects that are not male?

But I lean towards the prosecution. There is some ambiguity in the wording of the law. It certainly would be gender exclusive if instead of "his person" it refered to "his manhood." And without regard to gender isn't "his person" kind of vague anyway? If I have a coat on my "person" I can still be wearing it as I should -- on my back and shoulders right?

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm...I'm actually surprised he told his parents!

    There's some new version of the Bible where they use gender specific wording...I can't remember what the version is called, but it kind of annoys me that people get upset that 2000 years ago something was written using "he" and "his" even though it really mean "he or she" and "his or hers".....


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