“Universal pronoun” developed

The Society for Silly Yet Practical Notions has introduced what SSYPN president Sophie Moronis termed a “universal pronoun.”

“‘He,’ ‘she’ and ‘it’ are not sufficient any more, what with the proliferation of ‘gender’ identities,” Moronis declared at a press conference this morning. “No matter how careful you are with your language, you’re going to offend someone.

“Artificial pronouns, such as ‘ze’ or ‘sie’ are hard to remember, and it’s not always obvious which is preferred by the particular individual referred to. Using ‘they’ as a singular pronoun irritates those who value good grammar.”

The obvious solution is a new word free of any implications of gender. The SSYPN proposes the neologism “thwop.”

It is both singular and plural, Moronis stated, and it has no gender, not even neuter. The possessive is formed by adding an apostrophe followed by the letter “s,” i.e., “thwop’s.” Otherwise all forms are spelled “thwop” and pronounced as the spelling indicates. “Thwop is here” and “thwop are here” are both acceptable constructions.

As an example of the universal pronoun’s usage, Moronis offered this sentence about genderfluid individuals:

Thwop and thwop’s friends walked to thwop’s place with a gluten-free sugarless cake to celebrate thwop’s birthday.

Moronis conceded that the content may seem vague, but declared that what the statement loses in specificity, it gains in universality.

Moronis added that “thwop” need not refer only to vertebrates on Earth, but can also be used for artificial intelligences, hive minds, tentacled horrors and catgirls.

“With this word, the English language is ready for the future,” Moronis said.

White house announces uniforms for federal employees

The Trump administration today issued a directive that all employees of the federal government must wear a distinctive uniform while at work.

“It would be salutory if all public servants dressed in a manner to remind themselves that they are indeed public servants,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer declared in a press conference.

Men at all levels are to wear janitorial garb unless they are already assigned a different uniform, and must keep a mop and bucket where they can be seen from their desks at all times. Women are to wear long, dark dresses with a white maid’s apron, and must keep a feather duster near at hand.

Spicer noted that “French maid” outfits are not acceptable. He did not respond when asked if nekomimi were permissable.

Scientists shocked: gender roles not a universal obsession

A researcher announced today that there exist individuals who have no particular interest in matters of sexual identity.

“It’s hard to believe, but it’s true,” said Ganymede Phaen, Adjunct Professor of Uncanny Studies at the University of Kechi, in a televised interview. “We’ve observed them, interviewed them, tested them, gone to movies with them. They’re for real. They look like ordinary people, but they perceive themselves and others as male or female. When you explain the difference between ‘agender’ and ‘pangender,’ they laugh. It’s unnerving.”

Phaen noted that upon questioning, the individuals in the study revealed that they understand the general concepts of gender fluidity and expressed sympathy for victims of gender dysphoria. However, they evinced no particular interest in such matters and would often change the subject.

“I mentioned to one that the new Power Rangers movie has a character who might be gay,” Phaen recalled. “He shrugged, and asked if the story was any good.”

Phaen noted that while such individuals are rare in the college of liberal arts, there is some evidence that they may be more numerous in the engineering school. There’s a further possibility that they are common outside of the university campus, a prospect that Phaen finds deeply troubling.

“There could, in principle, be an entire culture in which non-binary gender identities are unimportant,” Phaen said. “I am currently securing funding for an expedition to explore sites where such a society might exist.” Locations under consideration include Utah and parts of Texas.

Make your reservations now

The organizers of many smaller anime conventions, such as Anime Fest Wichita, are often slow to update their websites. This is inconvenient for those who prefer to plan ahead, so I’ve compiled information for a typical regional convention. This is by no means complete, but it should give potential attendees an idea of what to expect.

Classes, workshops and panels

Anime Taxonomy
The traditional division of anime and manga into the categories of shounen, shoujo, seinen and josei is of little use to the serious student of anime. We’ll develop an alternate classification scheme using as parameters magnitude of breasts, intensity of angst, quantity of blood, diameter of eyes, presence of kemenomimi, frequency of panchira, and potential violations of child pornography laws.

The State of Anime I
A discussion of the problems facing anime in the West and its chances of survival. The presenters place the blame squarely where it belongs: the insane Japanese system for financing anime, and the greed and paranoia of the license-holders.

Anime and the Significant Other
How to introduce that special person in your life to your obsession; tips on which titles to watch together first, what plushies are suitable gifts, how to suggest cosplay, and when to bring up Evangelion.

Continue reading “Make your reservations now”

Today’s headlines: Dennou Coil licensed; a mahou shoujo military; DRM to be phased out

A revived Geneon USA announced today that it has licensed Dennou Coil for North America. Mitsuo Iso’s anime is considered by some to be the best TV series of recent years. The company also announced licenses for Kenji Nakamura’s Mononoke and three of Masaaki Yuasa’s works, the series Kaiba and Kemenozume and the movie Mind Game. Dennou Coil is scheduled for release in June as a six-DVD set with a list price of $24.99. Mononoke will follow in July. The Yuasa anime will be available in August as both a seven-DVD compilation and on Blue-Ray discs.

In additon to anime, the new Geneon plans to issue anime soundtracks, starting with those of Dennou Coil and Spice and Wolf.

The new Geneon was recently incorporated by former executives from the Funimation, Media Blasters and Bandai companies, who acquired the right to use the name of the company that released such anime as Cardcaptor Sakura and Haibane Renmei in North America.

ToLOVERU, Queen’s Blade, Ikki Tousen and that thing with the mutant cabbage are all licensed for region one, yet superior shows are ignored,” said a company spokesman. “We were embarrassed.”

The spokesman noted that the company founders found the Bandai Visual/Galaxy Angel Rune debacle illuminating.

“Perhaps it makes sense to the Japanese to pay exorbitant prices for small portions of crap, but that business model doesn’t necessarily work on the other side of the Pacific,” he said. “We’ll see how offering good quality at a reasonable price works.”

*****

The White House today confirmed reports that the Obama administration is considering replacing most of the USA military with squads of mahou shoujo, or “magical girls.”

“Economically, it makes a lot of sense,” said Press Secretary Robert Gibbs in a morning press conference. “Armies are expensive to maintain and operate, and let’s not even talk about the boats and planes — have you priced a F-22 lately? All a magical girl needs is a wand or talisman and a cute animal companion.”

Questioned about the ability of little girls to face armies, Gates noted that during the past few decades, Japan has been effectively protected from alien invasions and evil masterminds by a network of magical girls and “mecha.”

“One of our consultants is the mistress of Earth, Water, Fire and Windy, and she holds the cards of Light and Dark,” Gibbs noted. “What army can withstand that kind of power?”

Screenings for young women with magical talents will begin this summer.

Gibbs refused to confirm or deny that there are plans for a special “trap” battalion, stating only that the Obama administration is committed to diversity in every form.

In related news, the White House announced the appointment of Yume Kikuchi to the position of Secretary of the Treasury.

“We need someone who can conjure money out of thin air, and Kikuchi is an obvious choice,” said Gibbs.

*****

The Secret International Consortium of Digital Content Merchants has officially leaked a memo announcing its plans to phase out all “digital rights management” (DRM), noting that the inconvenience to users is greater than what little protection it offers against piracy. In a press released cracked this morning, the consortium acknowledged that this does indeed mean the end of all region coding.

Adobe, the publisher of Photoshop and other graphics and publishing software, announced that it will continue to include aggressive DRM with all their products.

“What the hell are they thinking?” said an Adobe spokesman. “The purpose of DRM is to punish the legitimate user, and it always has been.”

In related news, Adobe announced that it will be moving its telephone support to Burkina Faso. A company spokesperson noted that confused customers currently talk to personnel in India. Sometimes, the staffer responding to the customer speaks English well and understands the questions. “That is plainly not acceptable,” said the spokesthing. “Moving our support services to the country with the lowest literacy rate in the world should ensure that our users’ help desk experiences will always be memorable.”

*****

A flock of winged pigs was sighted soaring over the steeple of St. Christina the Astonishing Church in East Nowhere, Kansas. Meanwhile, Loki’s Tricksters defeated the Anubis Crew “c” to aleph-null to advance to the semifinals of the Demonic Snowball Tournament in Hell.

Coming attractions

Previews of the summer 2010 anime season:

Trap Academy — A transfer student at an exclusive all-girl boarding school discovers that every single one of her pretty classmates is actually a boy in disguise.

Does Anyone Need Tenchi? Does Anyone Care? — Yet another spinoff of the venerable franchise. In this one, Mihoshi’s IQ approaches the single digits.

Mystery Meat — Students with paranormal abilities investigate inexplicable events in the school cafeteria. Chiaki J. Konaka’s script draws on quantum mechanics, evolutionary biology and feng shui in this account of alternate realities and healthy nutrition.

Planet of the Enormous Hooters — Al Franken’s masterpiece receives an appropriately respectful anime adaptation. The staff includes alumni of the Queen’s Blade and Eiken crews.

Apocryphelion — Aliens attack the Earth as foretold by ancient Mesopotamian clay tablets, and only neurotic adolescents piloting absurdly large mecha can save the planet.

inCurably Pretty — The latest iteration of PreCure introduces 17 more magical girls. The pastel mahou shoujo outfits feature second-order ruffles. ((I.e., ruffles on the ruffles.))

Sliders — The intense world of professional shuffleboard is examined in the suspenseful tale of the rising star of the care home circuit. Is her mysterious ability to put the puck dead center in the “10” triangle every time somehow connected to the fact that she has not spoken to her manager and husband in 53 years? And what about the mysterious reigning champion, who is as stacked as Carol Doda, and as old? The show sets new precedents for fanservice. (The DVDs will feature additional steam.)

Angels and Idiots — An ancient order of renegade priests and a nun in a slinky habit who lives her own version of aggiornamento are all that stand between humanity and an unholy alliance of vampires, demons and lawyers — or is it the other way around? This gnostic extravaganza is sure to be a favorite of cosplayers.

Godot Can Wait — Nabeshin’s first effort for World Masterpiece Theater is a breezy adaptation of Beckett’s play. Nabeshin himself takes the much-expanded role of Pozzo’s slave, Lucky, and finds surprisingly many opportunities for fanservice in Beckett’s barren landscape.

Type Two — Mika isn’t sure how she feels about Kai. Sometimes she treats him with affection, but just as often she subjects him to scorn and violence. Their budding romance abruptly ends when Kai obtains a restraining order against her.

Yokai Cram School — A vampire who faints at the sight of blood, a vegan werewolf, a succubus who made a vow of celibacy, skirts too short to sit down in … and the hell with it. It’s not easy to invent something as stupid as Rosario + Vampire.