Progressives have a problem with online outrage and panic, and it makes already-complex policy discussions even more fraught
Credit to you Jesse for the deep dive. I am just one of those who find this all so insane that I had to stop reading about 1/3 the way in. And then I promptly went over to my Twitter account and deactivated it. This is all so crazy. I am checking out of the madness and going back to reading Russian literature.
It’s still shocking to me how fast the mere idea that teenagers might be genuinely uncomfortable around naked opposite-sex bodies, and that parents might have issues with that, has gone from common sense to shockingly, dangerously regressive, and a “page out of the fascist playbook”.
Why do cis teens have no right to accommodation or even consideration for their own physical hang ups (or even sexual trauma)? Call them “transphobes” all you want but being around a naked dick doesn’t immediately become non-awkward just because the owner goes by she/her. Even the most “conservative sensitive” liberal board member seems to come to this accommodation for cis-students extremely reluctantly.
(What’s particularly weird about all this is the handwringing about “outing” a trans youth, causing bullying from their peers, when the whole point is that the policy is for the situation where the trans student is already out - do they think the other students are just not going to notice at all?)
I’m a bit disappointed in Jesse because, despite an otherwise very reasonable article, he still largely accepts the core framing: the school board Democrats, in crafting trans inclusive accommodations, are being “cautious” while the Republicans attempting to protect some rights for discomfited cis students and their parents are merely “stoking the culture war flames”. It all starts from the assumption that one side is entirely bad faith (despite in this case that side representing something probably closer to the median public opinion).
Please stop referring to "trans kids". There is no such thing. There are kids with "gender dysphoria", but there is no way to determine whether this will persist into adulthood, or not. Only if it does can the person reasonably be regarded as "trans"
In trying to wrap my brain around how the Left side of our political aisle has devolved into outright psychosis, the best analogy I can think of for the moment is a coke dealer and their best (worst?) customers.
The dealer here is Left journalists/writers/thinkers and the users are their devoted readers on Team Soc Just (though of course there's much overlap) and other loyal members of Team Blue.
I don't know how much time any of you have spent with a coke addict, but the symptoms are remarkably similar: everyone is out to get them, that noise in the street has to be a spy or a cop car, they just might have to murder that neighbor who looked at them the wrong way, that spot on the ceiling is a venomous spider, if they can't get their next hit asap the world will end and they will die, and of course their ability to think or reason clearly is totally shot, because the drug has rotted their brain.
So in this case Twitter is the pipe, straw or needle, and the brain-killing drug contains heavy quantities of perpetual panic, constant rage and outrage, a refusal or inability to believe in good-faith disagreement, a fundamentalist level of dogmatic certitude, a perpetual state of angry apocalyptic tantrum, and shocking levels of self-righteous sanctimony.
I don't think Twitter is the cause of all our social hatreds, but I don't think it would hurt if everyone put down the pipe and tried to get clean—who knows, maybe they'll even feel better and the world won't seem so ugly. And if the dealers go out of business and have to find real jobs? Even better!
Cynically, it seems like some people on twitter WANT awful things to happen to their preferred groups, to give them something to go nuts about. Their "designated victim" class living happily ever after doesn't generate clicks (or donations).
Brilliant article, it's almost as if misinformation isn't as partisan as some like to make it out to be. Also quite ironic how DeSantis is often the one accused of creating a moral panic
A truly interesting piece, showing how complex social reality is, in comparison to, well, our social constructions. A few folks' comments focus on the Left. That's not undeserved, but...absolutely one sided, , coming from America's Right, which is at least an equal opportunity disinformer. I'm going to go stop the steal, now, on my way to stopping pedophiles at the pizza parlor.
This is why I subscribe. Actual reporting from someone with a proven track record of trying their damnedest to be trustworthy. And then using that reporting to call out all of the irresponsible untrustworthy "professionals" in media and otherwise who simply like to score points and win followers, making the whole media environment a toxic corrosive untrustworthy shit show. Gladly parting with my capital.
I thought this was a really good piece. For some reason, it took my brain right to a footnote in Bill Simmons' "The Book of Basketball", which I will retype in full for the reader's viewing pleasure.
> Jason Whitlock thought my Oscar [Robinson] take was too harsh. I asked him to wait a couple of weeks and reread it, then write this footnote. Here's what he sent: "I devoured TBOB in 2.5 days. It was a joyful ride until the 10-page eviscerations of the Big O. TBOB's cold and surgical analysis of the damage 1950s/1960s-style racism did to Robertson's personality and play left me outraged. The dissection seemed to lack the proper amount of sympathy. Robertson, like Russell, was cursed by intelligence the equal of his talent. Unlike Russell, Robertson never played for Red Auerbach, a courageous visionary willing to construct an environment that catered to a black superstar's identity. I wanted TBOB to feel sorry for Robertson, and excuse the human warts brought on by abuse. When I reread the passage 3 weeks later before writing this footnote, something different caught my attention: the nuanced empathy. TBOB captured Robertson's situation perfectly; that's all you can ask from a book that aspires to be the NBA's bible. Authentic history is filled with context and devoid of pity.
This one takes you places. Some of it is kind of tough; our world is not so neat as a cookie cutter. The article tells the whole story (as best I can tell), and gives us what we need to know without trying to invent cartoons and cast villains, especially tempting when children are involved, and we want to make it all nice and black and white for them.
What makes me curious is: what about boys who aren’t “open” with their gender id as “trans”? Is self-id at play here? I am very against self-id for single-sex spaces that then become no longer single sex. Women fought long and hard for the protections we have. I am no longer registered as a Democrat bc of this.
I work in a school district where I cannot inform the parents if the student declares themself as trans or nb. I have to use new name (as many as the kid goes thru) and pronouns. I don’t believe in gender ideology. Why am I mandated to behave as though I do?
Given that many mental health issues are comorbidities wi kids who id as trans, this policy does nothing to actually help the kid. It merely communicates to them that, as an adolescent, they are in the driver’s seat. Their frontal lobe is nowhere near that ability. Plus it is just bad policy to collude w a kid against their parent. If the home is dangerous, better to know now rather than later to get social services on it to help protect the kid. Otherwise, it just teaches the kid to not communicate and that adults back them on this. And then if the kid goes on hormones later wo parental consent but comes to regret it later bc adults failed them when then needed help! It pains me these policies in place that look shiny on the outside in the name of “inclusion” when all it does is propel the idea that material reality doesn’t and individual subjectivity is the only thing that counts :(
Well done. Thanks for going to all the effort to make sense of the situation. It's nice to be able to read something that was written to elucidate the facts rather than to distort them in the service of some predetermined "narrative" or political bias.
Btw, in the section introduced with the words, "Her proposed changes are in red", there is nothing in red. I'm also not clear on why the paragraphs leading up to that point are bolded.
I was just suspended from Twitter for posting this as a reply to your spot on tweets about Kate Manne:
"My son is a trans man; it is an insult to him to pretend that he is "hurt" by something so trivial [in reference to saying "pregnant women" rather than "uterus havers" or "birthing people"]. TRA's are DETERMINED to make trans people appear to be petty, mentally ill tyrants."
That tweet got me suspended for "promoting hate" against a marginalized group of people.
Happily, I should not have been on Twitter anyway.
Twitter grossly distorts my view of my fellow citizens.
I will try very hard not to stick my head back into that toilet again (I find it's like trying to quit smoking - really hard).
But there is no question that Twitter is harmful to civilized discourse & harmful to the level of informed citizenry required to maintain a democracy.
I wish I were surprised that they have once again fueled mindless hysteria & division.
The hysteria is the hook; it truly does keep us fixated on the platform.
Were Twitter to become a source of calm, accurate, evidence based information, it would fail.
THIS is journalism!! Jesse, I'm curious how long it took you to fully research (including watching the school board meeting) and write this. I'd put money on this: the time involved to do so is exactly why the Tallahassee Democrat didn't even attempt to do it justice, especially with that beat reporter out due to medical emergency.
Leon County is probably very liberal but much more heavily influenced by conservatism than, say, Berkeley is. It's going to be influenced by conservatism because DeSantis is governor and any liberal city in Florida is close to Deep South areas. Reporting on the issue is going to be very difficult and complex in part because DeSantis and conservatives don't *want* to compromise with liberals because DeSantis and conservatives think "being trans" is not a valid identity, whether or not a person has gender dysphoria.
Yes, the Leon County School Board is clearly not in favor of openly persecuting LGBTQ students and the policy has nothing to do with outing gay students at all.
This is brilliant journalism. I wish there were more of you out there.
Great as always. Just a note that your link to your Heritage piece is actually a link to the Heritage article itself.