On July 30, 2020, CNN published an article titled “American Cancer Society now recommends cervical cancer screening starting at 25, not 21.” I have no position on protocols for obtaining cervical cancer screenings or any other kinds of cancer screenings. However, something else about the article caught my attention – raising in me this unshakable feeling that I was forgetting something
The article, authored by Gisela Crespo, began as follows:
Individuals with a cervix are now recommended to start cervical cancers screening at age 25, and continue through age 65…
Ms. Crespo’s use of the phrasing “individuals with a cervix” caught my attention. To be sure, it is not unclear per se – the four-word-phrase includes within its ambit all those “individuals with a cervix,” and excludes those individuals without a cervix. However, something about the phrase perplexes me – a suspicion that the article is obfuscating something. I cannot lose this nagging feeling that there was once a succinct way to refer to “individuals with a cervix,” perhaps a single two-syllable word. I am racking my brain to come up with it? Womon? Wooman? That is not quite right. But I am close. At least I think that I am close.
Later, Ms. Crespo wrote about guidance for “individuals” who have attained the age of 65:
Individuals who are 65 and older and have had an adequate negative result in prior screening can stop getting screened.
“Individuals” here would seem to reference “individuals with a cervix” again. But again, I think there was once a simpler way to say this. Perhaps Ms. Crespo and CNN are withholding forbidden knowledge from us for some reason. Maybe our betters, the journalist elites, know what they know and know what we should not know. But even if I take our elites at their word – and overlook the clumsy use of “getting screened” in what is supposed to be a formal news article – I cannot stop thinking that the truth is just beyond my grasp. Wumon? Was it wumon?
Ms. Crespo later quotes Dr. Alexi Wright as saying that the new cervical cancer screening guidelines “are an important step in defining who should be screened – and how – to improve outcomes.” Who could disagree with such an admirable sentiment? Allow me to addend it to make it even stronger – it is important to clearly define who should be screened for dangerous cancers. But having added that we should be clear about who needs screening and who does not, I return to my original nagging feeling that Ms. Crespo and CNN are not being as clear as they could be.
To be sure, as I acknowledged, “individuals with a cervix” does have an objective referrant. But if there was – I don’t know – a single word to refer to said individuals who need cancer screening, might that be better? Might that be clearer? What if someone is unfamiliar with all the parts of the anatomy of this class of “individuals with a cervix.” Perhaps a member of the group defined by having a cervix is confused, because said member only obtained sex education in our wonderful schools, but not full instruction on how to read and parse sentences, much less discern subtext. Would it not be great if we had a single, clear, unambiguous word to cover the group of those “individuals with a cervix”? I cannot help but think that this might be the case. Wuhmoon? Was it wuhmoon?
I conclude this article with my enduring suspicions that Ms. Crespo is concealing something from us. But because I recognize the moral and intellectual superiority of our betters at CNN, I can rest easily knowing that it is surely for our own good. There is no way, of course, that in a purported effort to be inclusive, CNN would exclude, or as some of its executives and personalities might say, “erase” an entire category of people, encompassing roughly half of humanity, from existence. That could not be. I am sure of it. My trust in our elites is unwavering. If Ms. Crespo were to tell me that two-plus-two equals five, I would trust that it is for my own good, even if all else suggests to me that the answer is four.
Wauman! Eureka! The word was wauman! Or wait, that doesn’t seem quite right either…