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Showing posts from April, 2021

There Is No Détente With The Zombie Hoard

One of the things I accepted on face value when I started regularly using Twitter was that people were called transphobic or TERF for antipathy towards trans people. It was common knowledge that JK Rowling was a trans exclusionary radical feminist. I wasn't sure what that meant but I was assured that it was bad. I also heard repeatedly that I should avoid the work of notorious transphobes like journalist Jesse Singal. I was never given a reason why Singal was transphobic, memes lose their power once explained, he just had a weird obsession with the genitalia of trans people. After realizing that few things are what they seem on their face on Twitter I did a bit of digging. I came to understand that a TERF was often a woman who believes that trans women are still males and that women need sex segregated spaces. A transphobe is usually someone who supports trans people without accepting all the claims of trans activists. Rowling wrote a long 3400 word open letter in June 2020. In it

The Hydra Heads of Wokeness

Have you ever tried to explain why a meme is funny or true to someone completely unfamiliar? You first have to explain the image if unknown, then the context of the image and its relationship to the idea meant to be conveyed. Then you explain the wit behind the connection, while pointedly avoiding any other connections that could be made. Despite your explanation the listener, lacking your context, creates his own. In creating his own connections he creates his own meaning for the meme. Obviously, your only recourse was to detail the harm that came from the listener's inability to make sense of the meme as you had. When I say that wokeness works like a meme , this is what I mean. It only functions for people who think they get the underlying idea. It lacks explanatory power for anyone not already versed in the cultural language. More important, it lacks any ability to address critique by those who reject its premises or answer basic questions about the underlying assertions. Asking

The Stories That Break Us, The Stories That Bind

Remember the mass shooter who planned and executed an attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando possibly because of his own unreconciled sexuality? It never happened. The mass shooting at The Pulse nightclub definitely happened, but the narrative around it was wrong from the start. I'm a poor consumer of mainstream news and still I was left with the erroneous impression that the sexual orientation of the victims was central to the event. It's understandable that even without consuming media one would conclude that this was an anti-gay hate crime. The victims were gay it happened in a gay nightclub. The story , like most of reality, is more complicated than the narratives we use to contain it. This illustrates the problem with a media more concerned with getting out the first just-so story that confirms our impressions and prejudices. It's worth pondering the ways in which this damages us. In the wake of the shooting, the media and public focused on certain details, many of which