Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Scott Pelley, phallologocentrist

I just heard it again on the CBS Evening News , Scott Pelley’s language of man: “Mankind lands a spacecraft on a comet.” If mankind is supposed to be an improvement on Pelley’s plain old man , well, it’s not.

This post’s title is a joke, out of all proportion to the moment. But the language of man and mankind is absurdly out of date. As is also, perhaps, the idea of “the evening news.”

[What to say instead of mankind ? How about “the European Space Agency”?]

comments: 2

Anonymous said...

Working backwards, the entire species does not write a sentence nor does mankind write a sentence. The West does not write a sentence nor does a consortium of nations write a sentence. A nation does not write a sentence nor does a collective write a sentence. No club and no tribe writes a sentence. An individual writes a sentence. Two individuals might write, one to the other. An editor might alter an original sentence, but two do not write. One writes. The nature of most work is individual, aggregating in joint efforts. But without the individual at the center, there is no man, no mankind. There is no word to be written, and no accomplishment. One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind? Given the moribund space program in the US, that giant leap was a small step, after all. The landing on a comet might be rather like that. Let's wait a decade or two before "man" may cheer himself.

Pete said...

Saying "the European Space Agency" explicitly excludes America, and heaven knows America doesn't ever want to be excluded from something that's groundbreaking. Saying "mankind" is a way of saying, "Hey, us too! USA!"