Sometimes, those old writing adages really are the best:
WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW.
I see an increased number of online authors (or creators)
distressed by the lack of appreciation for their unsolicited opinions.
‘We can’t talk about anything anymore!’
One piece riffing on this went as far as to suggest that our current era today
was the absolute worst for liberal white women writers.
Nobody wanted to hear what they have to say anymore.
The right sure as fuck doesn’t want to hear it.
But neither does the left.
I couldn’t help but think to myself as I read on: Wait,
nobody wants to hear you writing…about… what? Exactly?
White liberal womens’ interests and opinions on WHITE LIBERAL WOMENS’ ISSUES?
Or–white liberals using other groups’ experiences as intellectual play-structures to climb around on?
Because if it’s the latter, yeh, the world is getting pretty fucking sick of it.
You’re not imagining the resentment. Feel free to stop.
Those Exploratory Think Pieces
About two weeks ago, the esteemed Antioch Review published an essay called ‘The Sacred
Androgen.’ A self-styled ‘transgender debate,’ the article was an amalgamation of some of the worst trans tropes and fears,
masquerading its stinky self behind a floral, academic visage.
Honestly, the article read like the thesaurus-fueled tirade of someone JUST abandoned by a trans person at the altar. Except to be jilted by a trans person, one would have to actually spend some time in such a person’s company, and certain wordings in the article lead me to believe the author had never spoken to a real-life ‘transgendered’ in his entire life.
In this piece, ‘TGs’ served as stereotypes and headcases–they were Concepts, Interpretations, Misconceptions and Breathing Delusions.
They were social Thought Exercises. But they were not Human.
That some bitter soul out there would spend precious time banging out a 3000+ word invective on a copy of a copy of a copy existing merely in his head does not shock me.
I’ve heard others rave about the general need for more barefoot and pregnant woman to craft sandwiches, or the innate sexual aggression of men.
I’m happy to leave such mishmash to the trash can.
What I can’t quite wrap my head around though is that the Antioch Review— didn’t.
was the total
intellectual and social
that it was.
Daniel Harris spluttered out a long-ass essay on a group of people he neither knows, cares
about nor likes, and this college deemed his Distorted Picture Important Enough to Publish, because he is Smart, an Author, has written about The Gays,
and Probably Knows What He Is Talking About, because
the Transgendereds and the Gays are Basically the Same Thing.
And when the shitstorm hit,the college mewed out some
milqtoast about how the college does not align itself necessarily with the opinions published, nonetheless, it was published to facilitate open dialogue and discussion. i.e. Love it or hate it, we published this because we see in it SOME social/intellectual merit.
(I roll. ‘Volvo’ is Latin for ‘I roll.’
Get it? eye roll? Latin jokes?)
Many people will read the piece for what it is (thinly masked hate speech), some unfortunately, will take it at face value and now have another foothold in the Transgendereds Are Confused People Pumping Cement Into Their Buttocks’ line of arguments.
(Srsly, like… only one person has ever done that. Get over it.)
All joking aside, the article was so BAD, it would be funny–if there was not a disturbing amount of people already out there who still view transness as a mental illness or a strange outburst of internalized homophobia.
And not a SINGLE person at Team Antioch took the time to ask:
This is an OPINION, a particularly troll-y clickbait-y opinion.
… is it important to publish THIS particular opinion?
And if it is NOT important, why? Are we publishing it?
Why are we aligning ourselves with it?
Writers today can get on the Internet and reach thousands, potentially
millions of readers at the click of the ‘publish’ button. The question is no longer ‘can we’
but ‘are we qualified to speak?’ Ill-formed thoughts pop into our heads–do we swallow
them, or share, just because we can?
Do we have a moral obligation to question the importance of sharing our own opinions?
That’s not a rhetorical question, by the way. We all know the answer.
Stop the Social Experiments
Just a week before I read the Antioch poop, a YouTuber with a reach of millions of viewers had a neat idea.
Right now, there’s a big trans bathroom debate roiling; well, he would dress up
as a trans woman, infiltrate women’s bathrooms and show his viewers what trans women
Actually Go Through. Think of it as, a social experiment. Oh, and a trans friend coached him, so It’s Totally Okay.
[This idea is not a new one, of course. The entirety of the book ‘Black Like Me‘ was a guy
walking around in black-face for six weeks in the early 60s to reconfirm that American Blacks really. Were.Exposed to constant racism.] But I digress. Back to the Trans Bathroom Social Experiment.
With a garish platinum wig perched atop his ugly dude face (yeh, I’m being petty, but this is my own blog, so fuckit), this guy pulled a criminally nasty dress oVER HIS PANTS (!) and proceeded to follow women into the bathroom (and sometimes talk to them.) I know this will shock you, but most of the women were freaked out. Because a guy wearing a dress and a crooked wig was following them into the bathroom and trying to talk to them.
Totally not creepy or anything.
[That is, if they were even spontaneous participants, and not actresses.]
The video ends with a beaming YouTuber confirming that people ARE just as intolerant and horrible as we have suspected. Self fulfilling prophesy–
Hypothesis: Cis women seem to be intolerant of trans women in bathrooms.
Imagined result: Cis women ARE intolerant of trans women in bathrooms.
ACTUAL result: All women are intolerant of ugly cis guys in wigs, harassing them in the bathrooms.
‘But that’s what trans women are.’ One commenter argued. ‘Sometimes, they’re ugly guys who decide they’re women, and they don’t look good in their clothes, but they ‘decided’ they’re a woman.’
A haiku on that:
no no no no no
no no no no no no no
no no no no no
A prime example of what happens when someone is observing something they are not part of and yet they try to put it into words that they and people LIKE them can understand:
A loose interpretation at best, a horrible distorted harmful picture at worst.
‘Okay,’ another commenter argued in ‘comments.’ ‘How could he have done it better to impersonate a trans woman?’
He could have NOT DONE IT AT ALL. Just as Antioch College could have decided to
not publish the piece. After all, they presumably do not publish EVERY piece submitted.
If it was strictly about ‘Freedom of Speech’ EVERY piece, no matter how ill-conceived
or ill-written, would see the light of the literary day.
Not freedom of speech, but the hubris of humans, some quite intelligent
and far-reaching humans, being stuck in the simplistic sixth-grade mindset of ‘ALL opinions and viewpoints, no matter how toxic or ill-informed, are valid and interesting :)’
Some really aren’t, and some of the LAST THINGS the world needs right now
are shitty think-pieces and ‘social experiments’ speculating what it means
to live an experience the author has literally no stake in.
They do more harm than good.
They push misconceptions more than facilitate constructive discussion.
They distort the people they describe and focus on an author’s self-centered INTERPRETATION, not the actual people or issue.
Stop. Just stop.