California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a new law allowing “transgender” students to choose between boys’ or girls’ sports teams, and use the school locker rooms and lavatories that best suit whatever sex they are or wish to be someday. For me it comes decades too late.
In junior high-school I was mistakenly assigned to the girls’ gym class. As a normal heterosexual teenage male I jumped at the chance to see females undressing. I marched brazenly into girls’ locker room, certificate in hand, and was ejected rather abruptly. Drat. Eventually the bruises went away. Now, all a red-blooded Californian lad needs do is declare himself “transgender” and perhaps bring a camera. Soon, all of Laguna Beach will know if Dawn Ginsbergh wears padding. But the measure deserves support from thoughtful conservatives as well as from hormonal schoolboys.
“Gender orientation” was always a field-day for the heterosexual male opportunist. A cleverly disreputable college classmate would lure some girl into the leafy glades of the Arboretum, begin canoodling and then break down in feigned tears. He just couldn’t “go through with it,” he’d sob, fibbing that he thought he was homosexual. So challenged, most damsels rose to the bait: in one semester he worked his way through the freshmen co-eds and moved on to the sophomores, spending so many nights under the stars that we could have sublet his bunk-bed. With Governor Brown’s improvement, now California’s ostensibly “transgender” teenage lads will number in the millions. But as I said, even the most upstandingly traditionalist conservative has reason to celebrate, even if he’s far too old for the girls’ shower.
For yonks, lesbian-feminists have sworn that all sex between men and women is rape. To them, being a rapist does not actually require physical rape; just looking can be enough and, believe me, in the Inner Sanctum of the girls’ locker room there will be lots of looking, by boys who want to be girls and boys who just want to be boys. And who’s to say that “transgender” Herbie isn’t playing heterosexual tricks, or won’t change his mind and “go straight” after the floor-show, or won’t begin “batting for both teams?” As Woody Allen remarked, being bisexual doubles one’s chances on Saturday night.
Being “transgender,” after all, is a state of mind for Progressives, while actual genitals are a mere after-thought. One can be a “transgender” male by just wishing one were female, while all male appurtenances remain intact. Or his original kit has been excised but the new conveniences are yet to be installed. Or if surgeons have made him into her, at least externally, and hormone treatment has even added a balcony. “Transgender” is not what one is, but what one wishes to be. Hence he/she can change his/her mind, even repeatedly: if this is Tuesday, I must be Martha.
Indeed, a male ABC newsman who “became” a woman now wants to switch back. One doesn’t know if surgeons were involved before his most recent volte face, or indeed how many times they can revisit the economy-sized, Sam’s Club, Big Big Box of Spare Genitalia before major re-editing becomes impossible. But a Dithering Danny-Donna-Danny-Donna implies repercussions outside of his/her/his/her underpants.
Expect battles on the Left. Furious lesbian feminists will lose exclusive rights to their locker room game-preserve, while the heterosexual feminist faction will split between the transsexual-rights supporters and the ones who still don’t like watching some naked guy dangling in what used to be a female sanctuary. Then comes the problem of Percy trying on Francine’s undies when she steps away from her locker, and whether that is a perfectly acceptable way of him puzzling out his “gender orientation” or if he’s just a pervert. That will split the Progressives who want mere equality between sexes, versus those demanding special rights for women, versus their Puritan faction who want sex abolished, versus the “pro-perv” Anything Goes movement.
Then, what does the Progressive Ops Manual say if Confused Carlos discovers that his “transgender” instincts were misplaced when he’s found in flagrante delicto with the girls’ field-hockey team, or fumbling in the shower with Befuddled Bettie who assumed she was a lesbian until the still-biologically male “work in progress” pitched woo, so to speak? Who’s in the wrong, or more precisely, who’s in the wronger? Or (sob) are we all responsible? Is Society guilty? Then what about the bald 55-year-old man in the dirty raincoat, caught peering furtively through the girls’ locker room keyhole, ostensibly working out his own “gender orientation?”
Overall, Transgender fun is as American as apple pie, um, made from turnips. Right-wing patriots should rejoice at such American Exceptionalism: immigrant Stosh can knock back his plum brandy, shout to Stella “Only in America!” and go get his private parts lopped off under ObamaCare. Try that in Herzegovina. Left-wingers may rejoice in choice and social mobility: Juanita, weary of being an underpaid illegal-immigrant Hispanic housemaid, can become Juan, an underpaid illegal-immigrant Hispanic cabbage-picker. Meanwhile, California trial-attorneys behold this with lust in their wallets, journalists with gleams in their laptops, and scientists trying to invent a few more genders to make the possibilities even more interesting. In a faltering economy, this could be a California’s last best growth-industry.
True conservatives approach this chaos with one predictable response: the world is coming to an end. Largely, that’s because they approach almost everything as Armageddon and, in a way, it gives them a depressing pleasure. It is a kind of perversion, but generally harmless, and far less depraved than what is about to happen in girls’ locker rooms. But real conservatives with literary interests may immediately recall J. M. Barrie, or at least his most famous play.
Captain Hook has kidnapped Wendy. Peter Pan starts to drink his medicine as she instructed, not knowing that it’s been poisoned. Tinker Bell chugs it first, to save Peter, and passes into a deadly coma. Peter (in the stage version) approaches the audience and implores them to help: “Do you believe in fairies? If you believe, clap your hands! Don’t let Tink die!” Usually, we spectators begin chanting “I DO believe in fairies,” clapping until Tinker Bell recovers (unless, as Britain’s funniest man-of-letters Roger Lewis recounts, the production resembles one very dull stage-dramatisation of Anne Frank’s Diaries, when a bored and deeply cynical member of the audience shouted to the Nazis, “SHE’S IN THE ATTIC!”).
In this one scene from Peter Pan, Barrie establishes himself as a master of Literary Realism and a political clairvoyant. Between Progressive ideology, make-believe and dubious technology, Tink’s rescue is the model for modern American hopes, beliefs and public policy. Anything becomes real if only we all clap our hands and chant together. Forget that there are vastly different priorities and thinking processes between genders, far beyond genitalia swops and hormone therapy. Ignore why we were born the way we were and whether we can change anything but appearances. Disregard the likelihood that changing (only the external appearances of) gender will make us happier, much less better, and even that sex is not equally important to everyone. Just clap, believe, and make damned sure that everyone else is chanting in unison. When it stops making sense burn a heretic to distract the mob. It worked for Stalin, for a while anyway.
Tinkerbellism is what passes for American thinking on economics, education, social problems, race, immigration, foreign policy and everything else that matters. Chesterton said that when we speak of a madman “losing his Reason” he has often lost everything but. What Russell Kirk called, derisively, “defecated Reason,” may be all that the poor lunatic has left, alongside of the hubris attached to his mad logic. America’s “can do” spirit, that served her and the world so well, has been taken literally and to extremes by modern Western ideologues who tell themselves that there are no absolutes, that everything dreamed can be done for real if only we clap and chant loud enough. Such folly the world has never seen before. It’s decadence born of wishful thinking, of a nation so subdivided socioeconomically that few can see the big picture, of dreamers ignorant of history, technophiles blind to the limits of technology, plus those who reject tradition and faith. It includes media-trusting telefanticists and romantic moon-calves – plus wannabe commissars and concentration camp guards – and not one of them is sane.
Why should this delight conservatives? Ask a brewer. His trade or hobby, a mix of art and science, dates to the beers of Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. Brewers and vintners know that the triumph of grain or grape, through sugars, yeast and acid together, produce alcohol, but eventually the alcohol grows strong enough to kill the yeast. So the fermentation process stops itself.
The yeast of Western make-believe is a hardy one, surviving delusional toxins that are parlous strong. So was Soviet make-believe. Today savvy Americans may have begun to see the Harpies of Ideology collide and attack one another, as their Surrealist Progressive agendas conflict. Initially these clashes are ignored or glossed over, but eventually they collide so noisily that most people notice. And being normal, most people start laughing; just as in Hans Christian Andersen’s fable when the crowd finally starts laughing at the naked king.
I foretold the demise of communism in the early 1980s at East Berlin’s comic opera. When the swineherd disclosed that he was really a prince, after he proposed marriage to the faithful milkmaid, he flung gold ducats to the peasants. Lacking gold, aluminium East German coins clunked onto the stage and the audience roared with laughter at the incongruity. They got the bigger joke too, I realised, and within a few years the jape was over. To paraphrase Marxists, communism collapsed under the weight of its internal contradictions.
Laughing at Progressive non-sequiturs has begun around the world, but mostly outside of America, where the clash between loudly-touted American values versus contradictory policy and behaviour is more obvious than getting smacked by a court-jester’s pig-bladder. Yet at home the American Old Left has had a bellyful of their broader team’s corporatist warmongers, as Britain’s Left did with Blair. Russia’ Putin and Iran’s Rouhani, writing op-eds in the New York Times and the Washington Post respectively, go over the heads of America’s self-censoring media; their advisors know that many Americans have begun to mistrust the malarkey-ridden Official Line. They only mimic America’s vast internal online media already mocking Progressive non-sequiturs foreign and domestic.
The full result may be what Grover Norquist calls a “Leave Us Alone Coalition,” which now includes disparate groups that agree only on an end to state intrusion. Make-believe will exist but more harmlessly, once separated from the power of government.
In time, most American voters may get the joke, while the servile media will come last. Until then be grateful for the unintentional comedy from Governor Brown and his ilk, as their bitter spirits kill their own yeast. Meanwhile, before reality is restored, lots of normal boys will enjoy the girls’ locker rooms.
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