Our Fantasy

September 15th, 2004 · 3 Comments
by Booksquare

We want to live in a world where this type of sentence is never necessary:

For the first time, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has chosen a woman as president: Emily Kernan Rafferty, the Met’s current senior vice president for external affairs.

We also wouldn’t mind the end of all sentences containing the phrase “for the first time since…”, unless a millenium or so has passed since the last time the event occurred. Hmmm, even in that instance, we advise caution (comets that only come around once every hundred years or so, yes, it will be the first time, but, really, was there another opportunity?).

Thank you.

File Under: Square Pegs

3 responses so far ↓

  • Brenda Coulter // Sep 15, 2004 at 2:18 pm

    You’ve just hit on a pet peeve of mine.

    Why is the media so in love with these “firsts”? The first American woman in space. The first deaf Miss America. The first black Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. To me, such statements all but scream, “Well, isn’t this REMARKABLE? Just imagine! Even a black/Jewish/paraplegic/female/deaf person/Hispanic can succeed!”

    Remarking on such firsts merely perpetuates prejudice by focusing attention on the “differentness” of the people involved. Celebrating the first woman President of MMA seems almost to hint that not until now has MMA found a woman clever enough to do the job.


  • booksquare // Sep 18, 2004 at 10:35 am

    Once I get through my other pieces of major legislation (starting with banning either Daylight Savings or the other one — whichever means I’m losing an hour of my precious sleep), I might be able to get up a petition about abolishing the use of “first” unless the event is truly notable. I think I also have to do something about inane headlines as well. I need an assistant ranter and raver

    Women running major agencies should not be remarkable.

  • Brenda Coulter // Sep 18, 2004 at 9:54 pm

    “Women running major agencies should not be remarkable.”

    Oh, I think those women SHOULD be remarkable.

    [Snicker.] Sorry, I just couldn’t resist.