This comment is not about the murders of MtF trans people

But I think you cissies can learn something from our experience.

The murders of MtF trans folk are very often rage-filled, with multiple stab wounds or gunshots, and these assaults preferentially target our breasts and our genitals. Our murderers wanted, as it were, to erase our transness along with our lives. They wanted to rid the world of transness. It’s a genocidal impulse made viscerally personal.

It is, of course, hideous enough that trans people have been subjected to such murders, but historically the media outlets reporting on those murders would deadname victims, would call us men in women’s clothing when our names weren’t to hand, and in other ways would work to portray us as anything but ourselves.

In short, our murderers attempted to erase us, and the media chose to complete the erasure. This wasn’t neutral reporting, news outlets were choosing to assist our murderers, even to the point of completing their genocidal work.

The United States and a number of other “Western democracies” are in crisis because would-be fascists are attacking democratic governance itself. To say, as Biden has, that such people are anti-democratic is to tell an obvious truth that the fascist-leaning themselves tell each other every day. The more outrageous and ambitious among them then pass that on to the rest of the US:

We do not trust elections

they say.

We will not tolerate the general rule of law, but we will use the law to attack our political opponents,

they say.

And in the face of these things, the media chooses to admonish the anti-fascists, the leftists, even the Democrats and other institutionalists for language that the media insists will sow distrust and spark violence.

Do not accept this narrative. Do not tolerate this narrative to be spread in your presence. The fascist and fascist leaning are working with vigor to blame their own division, hatred, and violence on anyone but themselves, and this media narrative does not report on fascist violence: it completes the fascists’ task of delegitimizing government and justifying its overthrow by any means necessary.

Apparent neutrality is not the same as actual neutrality, and the media have a particularly shameful history of adopting a guise of neutrality while forwarding the cause of violence.

When the authoritarian, anti-democratic mob assaulted the US seat of government on 6 January, 2021, it was with the intent of preventing democratic rule. When two thirds of House Republicans voted to oppose certification of the 2020 presidential election this seemingly separate event was another effort with the same goal: to end democratic rule. They may make noises of protest to dissociate themselves from the insurrection, but their own actions show them attempting to complete it.

Even now our media treat McCarthy and the other House Republicans who voted to oppose democracy as if they are correct to be offended when Biden calls out “extreme MAGA republicans” as anti-democratic and semi-fascist. Like the House Republicans on the night of 6 January, the reporters and commentators who accept and repeat this framing are not neutral: they are working to complete the fascists’ goal of delegitimizing the Democratic Party and of democracy itself.

What will you do to call the media to account? Will you be as outraged and as active as the trans people who protested the coverage of our murders? You should be.

Time is short. Choose to act.

I’m just going to say this once

rather than comment all over the place whenever it comes up, and I sure as fuck hope that everyone else on FreethoughtBlogs and Wonkette and Discord is listening, because this is important.

There is a thing lately, a widespread thing, a thing that has happened in comments here but also in top-level posts, which is just pissing me off. Abe Drayton is the latest to do this thing that pisses me off with his post:

The Democrats are not blameless: Some thoughts about how we got here

Now, I’m not going to lie, there is some utility in examining how institutions such as the Democratic Party help (or not) and fight (or not) for things that are supposedly Democratic Party priorities. Examining that might help you make decisions going forward about how you interact with the Democratic Party and representatives thereof.

I will also stipulate that Drayton (and many other people implicitly criticized by this here blog post of mine) are not bad people. That’s not what I’m saying. (Abe Drayton is actually a good guy who does amazing work on climate and you should support that work.)

But this is a shitty take to promote right now, and let me tell you why. Because when you say, as Drayton does, that “the Democrats” are guilty of x or y sin of action or omission, you’re talking about a category that includes both men and also maybe possibly actual fucking women. Yes, that’s right. Women are occasionally Democrats. They occasionally get elected as Democrats to work within legislative bodies or as executive officers of states or other jurisdictions.

And here’s the thing that I’m only saying once, so LISTEN THE FUCK UP:

Democratic women are the ONLY political group who has made reproductive rights a priority. They are the ONLY group that has fought with any measure of consistency or effectiveness for reproductive rights. And they are the FIRST group to be targeted for shit from the right wing, such as when a woman testified before congress about the gross disparities between insurance coverage of mens sexual health and insurance coverage of contraception for women and other necessities for women’s sexual health and was then immediately tarred as a “slut” (yes, that actual word, no euphemisms) for testifying before congress on a public policy matter. That woman is Sandra Fluke and fucking hell yes I remembered her off the top of my head; I didn’t google this shit; I didn’t go hunting for examples through laborious internet research. I just know the name of this woman who was pilloried for doing exactly what Drayton and too many others say that “Democrats” are unwilling to do.

So the question is, if I know her name, why don’t all of you? Why are so many of you willing to blame “the Democrats” without qualification? If you want to bash some broad group within the Democratic Party you can bash Democratic men if you like, but at this moment, at this particular moment, lumping Democratic women, the ONLY people who have worked to create the environment that mades overturning Roe v. Wade even an issue the media would cover so that you would notice it to comment, with people who just don’t give a shit, well, that’s victim blaming and I won’t have it.

I know that people have done this without being bad people. They just made a bad mistake, yada yada yada. I don’t fucking care because this post isn’t about you. It’s not about how you’re a bad person. It’s not about how you feel.

This post is about how Democratic women are the only people who have cared about this for more than 50 years now, and to have Democratic women lumped in with the do-nothings has to fucking stop. This post is about not forgetting that women are people. This post is about not forgetting that Democrats include women and when you’re talking about “Democrats” you’re talking about women. And this post is important because Alito and his ilk would like you to forget that when you’re talking about “Americans” or “Adults” or “teenagers” you are also talking about women.

Ignoring the existence of women as independent human beings with our own needs, our own bodies, and our own agency is what got us into this mess. Continuing that mistake isn’t going to help us get out of it.

 

The law can be dry, does that mean that lawyers are anti-poets?

This question came up in response to a new Elon Musk tweet that asserted, “Laws are on one side, poets on the other.” I think that it’s wrongheaded and under appreciates what lawyerly skill entails.

The best lawyers are often poetic (even if it doesn’t seem that way in certain filings/statements), since skill with the law requires keeping multiple possible meanings in your head at the same time. Just writing a contract requires something that may look like anti-poetry, but the reason is that the drafting lawyer is going through the process of anticipating possible alternative meanings and excluding them.

Poets, too, have to anticipate possible alternative meanings, though they only exclude the ones that disrupt their intent and deliberately import those ambiguous, multiple-meaning phrases that enhance their intent. Likewise, when the lawyer isn’t drafting something precisely, but rather finding the advantage in something already written (often a statute, but it could be a contract previously drafted), it’s to the client’s great advantage for the lawyer to see multiple meanings in single phrases and craft an argument that employs the most favorable meanings rather than the most obvious ones.

Skill with puns and poetry is correlated with skill in the law. If you’ve got puns, poetry, and logic all down, you’ll probably be great.

Ignoring abuse to focus on lexicography

Okay, this is turning into a thing.

So in the thread created to talk about the phenomenon where people announce on the internet that they’re too afraid to discuss issues central to (or sometimes merely implicating) trans persons’ human rights before immediately launching a conversation about their concerns about granting trans persons equal human rights, one new commenter, GG, decided to change the subject. Although I feel vexed that what I wrote seemed to be ignored in favor of the commenter’s preferred conversation, the comment and request for response were both respectful and, as it turns out, the issues that GG unknowingly raised are actually significant. So I decided to respond, but I’m not going to allow that thread to be derailed so I have created this new post to discuss what GG brought up. Let’s start with GG’s comment, which itself begins with a quote from a BBC news article:  

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Being a Transphobe, the Great Civil Rights Struggle of Our Time

So first, I hate the words “transphobia” and “transphobe” but let’s save that for a footnote, or better yet another post (we’ll see if I can stop myself from rambling into that territory at the bottom of this). So setting that aside, I have noted that many, many people seem paralyzed with fear at the idea that they might do something which they consider reasonable, or good, or perhaps not good but a minor error which deserves no bad consequence, and despite the not at all truly bad nature of their conduct, end up labeled a “transphobe” or “transphobic”. They often cry out about their “fear” of being called “transphobic”. They positively scream about the injustice of it all:

Someone thought that I’m a transphobe, when really I just hate the idea of being inconvenienced in any way, except for all those ways that I am inconvenienced which I just accept as an unavoidable fact of life, like having to lie to my boss about how that watch is so cool and I wish I had one.

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Joyce Carol Oates and the great pronoun debates

So, I was hanging out on Wonkette early this morning, curating some artisanal tabs, when I came across an article I thought might be interesting to talk about. (You can find it here.)

Because it did actually generate some discussion, and because some people found it valuable and one person specifically asked to have it posted to my blog so that it could be found more easily than would be the case if it were left buried in Disqus comments, I’m going to cross post here the long ass thing I wrote over there.

Yes, it’s long ass, but you’re going to read it anyway, since you don’t want my diligent efforts to go to waste, do you?

I said, “DO YOU?”

Fine, don’t read it. I’ll just sit over here NOT being passive aggressive at you. So there.

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Oh my god, I’m Chidi.

So I had never seen a single episode (or even outtake) from the TV show “The Good Place”. I knew it was a show about a hypothetical heaven & that they explored morality, but… that was about it.

Today I finally popped on an episode and now I’m halfway through the third. Turns out, as both of you probably already know, that the conceit of the show is that there’s a mixup and someone who doesn’t belong in heaven gets there. Wanting to stay, she enlists the help of someone who was introduced to her as her soul mate, but who quite obviously isn’t.

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A Poetic Dawkins Archive

Every once in a while I remember something I wrote a long time ago as I’m trying to craft something new. I often wish that I could go back and grab that old thing to help me craft the new thing. The delightful bit is that the internet plus a bit of google fu makes it possible to grab that old thing without remembering the whole. Just remember a few key words and go searching.

Well, this morning that happened, and when I went back to grab the old thing, I accidentally found something else, something I doubt it would have occurred to me ever to look for, but being in the thread & searching for my ‘nym, I was intrigued to find a poem. I don’t write many poems anymore. So I gave it a read, and found it held up remarkably well.

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