OPELKA: ‘Fiddler On The Roof’ — Brought To You By The Woke State Department

(Photo by SAUL LOEB/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Gregg Opelka Contributor
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Secretary of State Antony Blinken seems to be more interested in language infractions these days than advising on U.S. foreign policy. As reported recently in the New York Post, the purpose of the Feb. 5 internal memo he issued under the subject line “Modeling DEIA [Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility]: Gender Identity Best Practices” is “to increase understanding of gender identity and provide guidance on gender identity language and best practices that support an inclusive work environment.”

In the memo, the secretary warns employees against using gender-insensitive terms such as “mother/father,” “son/daughter,” “husband/wife,” preferring instead “parent,” “child” and “spouse or partner.” The word “manpower” is verboten of course, to be replaced by the kinder, more inclusive “labor force.” Observation of fellow workers’ preferred pronouns is also a must, since a person’s gender identity, according to Blinken, “may or may not correspond with one’s sex assigned at birth.”

Curiously, Secretary Blinken’s actions as language czar don’t make the list of 14 bullet points listed in the U.S. government website’s description of the secretary’s official responsibilities. The first bullet point, for example, states that the secretary “serves as the President’s principal adviser on U.S. foreign policy.” No mention anywhere of forbidding the phrase “you guys” and not a peep about promoting the use of preferred personal pronouns. The Founders doubtless thought “to each zir own.”

Since the secretary is enamored of heading potential word triggers off at the pass, I’d like to suggest as a good faith approval of his efforts the following updated synopsis of the hit musical “Fiddler on the Roof” as it might appear in Playbill if Secretary Blinken or one of his staffers had penned it, avoiding exclusionary language. Perhaps the secretary may wish to extend his linguistic tentacles into the cultural realm too.

Synopsis, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (government-sanctioned):

In Anatevka, a town situated in a non-NATO member country in eastern Europe, Tevye, a milk-person using the pronouns “he/him,” struggles to make a living. He is supported by his long-time partner, Golde, whose preferred pronouns are “she/her.” Together they have five children who identify as female and, like their birthing-person parent, go by “she/her.” Tevye, a firm believer in tradition, sings about it in an opening song performed by the show’s entire labor force. (Note: This song is filled with troubling propaganda based on the gender-assigned roles of “the papa” and “the mama.” Parents of children attending the performance should discuss these controversial ideas with them in advance.)

As the story unfolds, Tevye’s views are tested as he/him is forced to confront a changing political and cultural landscape. One of his female progeny accepts a marriage proposal from Motel (he/him), a sartorial laborer, a choice economically inferior to the much older but financially secure Lazar Wolf (also he/him). Gradually, the dairy laborer’s three children flout the wishes of their/zir village matchmaker, Yente (she/they), each stubbornly self-determining her marital outcome. (Note: The matchmaker tradition espoused in the musical meets with complete U.S. government approval since it removes the important cohabitation decision from inexperienced participants who are often blinded by love and places it in the hands of a professional with the community’s best interests in mind.)

After an unfortunate song whose envious gist is “If I Were a One Percenter,” Tevye slowly watches his grip on his beloved traditions slip away as his female-identifying offspring defy the wishes of their birthing parent’s spouse. In the end, the dairy worker learns a bitter but important lesson about clinging to traditions and outdated societal preconceptions.

Perhaps next month, Secretary Blinken’s office will release its DEIA-sensitive synopsis of “The Wizard of Oz,” a musical about an urban-ignorant teenager (identifying as she/her) whisked away from a rural flyover wasteland to a strange environment in a freak climate-change catastrophe.

Gregg Opelka is a musical theatre composer and lyricist.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.