A fellow TeachCo addict (and sorry, I screwed up the link last time … there goes my commission):
Dear Mr. Derbyshire — I have been listening to Brian Fagan’s Teaching Company course on Human Prehistory and the First Civilizations, while following along in his textbook People of the Earth. The book uses the term “Inca,” so this may be a manifestation of Teaching Company’s PC, which goes deep. Their music lecturer, Robert Greenberg, speaks of musical “craftspersonship.” And all their lecturers are so drilled in using “he or she,” instead of the common-gender pronoun “he,” that one fellow used “he or she” as the pronomial referent for “a medieval Pope,” until he realized the absurdity of it and corrected himself.
By the way, I notice that the TeachCo is grinding out more math courses. What do you think of them?
[Me] On the last, no opinion. I haven’t tried any. Math-wise, I’m in the frame of mind Disraeli was in fiction-wise: “If I want to read a novel, I write one.”
On the matter of medieval popes (and at the risk of awakening the wrath of NRO’s numerous fidei defensores), I note that “he or she” is not so absurd.