There is seldom anything humorous about the court decisions I describe on these broadcasts, but today I’m going to tell you about a case that ought to produce at least a chuckle. We know that many judges have been influenced by the feminist movement, but this case goes farther; it’s about a judge pandering to the feminists who want to change the English language, and even going farther than the feminists themselves would go.
This was a federal court case in which the head of a sorority called Zeta Phi Beta was sued for defamation. The funny thing about this case is not who won or lost the case, but the fact that the court complained that the sorority called its top executive woman the Grand Basileus rather than the Grand Basillissa, which would be a feminized version of the same word. Basileus is defined as the “swayer of the universe,” so surely the sorority thought the woman was very important. The judge wrote: Why the sorority calls her “a grand Basileus and not a Grand Basilissa is a mystery not explained by the record.” The judge researched Greek history and found only one historical example of a woman who was called a Grand Basileus, so he argued that today’s CEO of a female sorority should be called a Basillissa, not a Basileus.
Now, why should some federal judge decide what should be the title of a sorority’s top executive? Don’t judges have more important cases to handle? Basillissa is merely a modem feminization of the term, and it’s obvious that the judge was pandering to the feminists.
Feminization of many words have been rejected by the American people. For example, Congress, most state legislatures and most associations still use the term chairman, because chairwoman can often mean an entirely different position.
I suggest that judges stick to what they really need to decide, and stay out of the controversy about the English language.