Fox News Host Gets Man-Knickers In A Knot Over University Language Guide

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The United States is currently engaged in a heated internal war centred around the gun debate. That’s because people keep shooting people… in particular children.

Fortunately, Fox News host Tucker Carlson took time out from the heated debate to zero in on what’s really pulling his nation apart… a university language guide which suggests students should avoid using the phrase ‘man’ in their writing… such as ‘chairman’ and ‘mailman’.

Purdue University in Indiana, updated its writing style guide for students earlier this month, drawing the ire of Carlson, who invited Cathy Areu, publisher of Catalina magazine, onto his program to debate the issue.

By way of background, in case you’ve never heard of Carlson, he’s best known for once going toe-to-toe with the Late Show’s Jon Stewart (who described him as a 35-year-old man who “wears a bow tie”) only to be torn to shreds. And yes, Carlson subsequently stopped wearing the bow tie. In short, he’s the smiling, gentle face of the far right of the US, and his main schtick is to ask ridiculously disingenuous and/or sarcastic leading questions (mostly of friendly subjects) in a voice of feigned surprise, with a look of mild confusion on his face.

Tucker Carlson, pulling his ‘confused’ face, with guest Cathy Areu.

A case in point: in the course of his interview with Areu, he asked such probing questions as, “You’re lecturing us about sexism while right now you’re sitting in MAN-hattan…?” Followed by, “Why should the post office deliver ‘mail’?’

Carlson refused to accept that the spelling of the word was at all relevant. “Homonyms count,” he fired back.

As Areu replied consistently with reasoned arguments about why gender-neutral writing was preferable, Carlson tried one last time with the dumbest question of the interview.

CARLSON: The question for me is who gets to decide what changes and what doesn’t? For example I think I’ve now decided that the most offensive word in the language is ‘College Professor’, because to me that connotes dumbness and misuse of power and tenure, right? And mediocrity. So maybe I’d like to say no-one can use that word ever again in my presence because it offends me. Would that fly? Could I do that? Could I pull it off?

AREU: Well if you have a writing guide, perhaps, and you put that out there and people agree with you, then yeah, maybe that would fly. But Purdue University did find a group that agreed with them….

They did indeed… a large portion of at least 50 per cent of the population… on an issue that was debated and settled decades ago.

You can watch the excerpt of the exchange below.

And you can watch the full Carlson Tucker episode here. A warning to readers though, it’s 44 minutes of your life you’ll never get back.

A much more interesting 15 minutes would be this piece, with Carlson explaining why he doesn’t cover sexual harassment allegations against his Fox News colleagues.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the publisher and editor of New Matilda. He is the former founding managing editor of the National Indigenous Times and Tracker magazine. Chris has won a Walkley Award, a Walkley High Commendation and two Human Rights Awards for his reporting. He lives in Brisbane and splits his time between Stradbroke Island, where New Matilda is based, and the mainland.

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