Up In Smoke

Not having read Abigail Shrier’s book, Irreversible Damage, The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, the only thing I know about it comes from its description.

Until just a few years ago, gender dysphoria—severe discomfort in one’s biological sex—was vanishingly rare. It was typically found in less than .01 percent of the population, emerged in early childhood, and afflicted males almost exclusively.

But today whole groups of female friends in colleges, high schools, and even middle schools across the country are coming out as “transgender.” These are girls who had never experienced any discomfort in their biological sex until they heard a coming-out story from a speaker at a school assembly or discovered the internet community of trans “influencers.”

Unsuspecting parents are awakening to find their daughters in thrall to hip trans YouTube stars and “gender-affirming” educators and therapists who push life-changing interventions on young girls—including medically unnecessary double mastectomies and puberty blockers that can cause permanent infertility.

This isn’t a novel concern, that young women with a greater need to be cool than be themselves indulge in permanent harm for lack of the ability to grasp the future meaning of their actions. Peer pressure is powerful, and there are few things more hip among a certain cohort than to be as much of an outsider as possible.

Of course, if they are transgender, then they are. If they’re not and are engaging in permanent self-mutiilation to find acceptance and validation, then this is a dangerous trend. But is it a trend, or are there simply more transgender people than was previously realized and they are now coming out and becoming the people they want to be? These are fair questions, and Shrier’s book raises them, as do people who dispute Shrier’s book. So let’s have that “uncomfortable conversation” people keep talking about?

actually what we could do is find copies of Abigail Shrier’s book IRREVERSIBLE DAMAGE in our local libraries, rip out the interiors without consent, and install the texts of our own propaganda before sewing the jacket back up. stop this rubbish from reproducing itself

As that’s fairly complex, UC Berkeley English Prof Grace Lavery offers a simpler solution.

This might be chalked up to one “educator,” but for the fact that it comes on the heels of a call to arms by an ACLU lawyer and one of the foremost transgender activists, Chase Strangio.

Not to begrudge Strangio’s view that the ideas presented in Shrier’s book are anathema to his views about transgender people, even if they are grossly hyperbolic in the sense that raising any issue is tantamount to denying their existence or putting them at risk of physical harm, two arguments that perpetually appear and are entirely emotional and fundamentally irrational. Strangio has long been zealous for his cause, which is fine. Hey, that’s his cause and he’s allowed. But zealous to a fault, as in demanding the destruction of anyone who dares oppose his position, the most extreme position possible.

And to be fair, outside of the woke cohort that’s come to mindlessly fetishize transgender people, it remains a very problematic and troubling concept for many. And the hallmark has been shocking intolerance, both of people who refuse to accept the premise that gender dysphoria can possibly be real and those who hate people like J.K. Rowling for not accepting that there is no distinction between biological women and transgender women, anatomy and chromosomes notwithstanding.

The problem isn’t that there are differing views. The problem isn’t that those holding differing views can’t find common ground, and reject any possibility of there being any legitimacy to any view other than theirs. The problem is that opposition devolved into a jihad, a religious war calling for the destruction of their enemies. And so we’re back to burning books.

Ironically, this may well result in the Streisand Effect (h/t Mike Masnick, because he earned it), and a lot of people who would otherwise never have heard of Shrier’s book or considered buying or reading it will do so. Why the unduly passionate never consider this consequence remains something of a mystery, as the louder their screams, the more interest they generate in whatever they’re screaming about. Go figure.

But book burning.

When Chase Strangio first announced that stopping the circulation of this book and these ideas was a hill he would 100% die on, it raised two questions. The first was what exactly that meant, as some argued that he didn’t mean what he said, as in burning books or worse, but merely expressing the depth of his opposition to the book and to any ideas challenging his.

The other question was how a lawyer for the ACLU would make such an argument. While Strangio isn’t the ACLU’s spokesperson, his stance reflects upon them just as would an attorney for the ACLU stating publicly that the First Amendment does not protect hate speech. Okay, bad example.

And that bad example is the problem, that as has been discussed here at length, the ACLU has forsaken a principled approach to civil rights in favor of zealously defending the rights of those it agrees with and approves of. As for those it does not, such as people who don’t share Strangio’s views, there is no tolerance because they are wrong.

To the extent there was ambiguity in Strangio’s twits, there is none in Lavery’s, an English prof of all people, even if at Berkeley. This isn’t an intellectual argument about whose position is right or wrong, or even whose position deserves to be considered. While Shrier’s argument about young women getting caught up in the fashion trend of the moment and, in furtherance of their demonstration of either dedication to the cause or a need for validation and acceptance, do serious, even permanent harm, to themselves, is hardly a small matter.

Should we not be concerned if highly impressionable young people engage in self-harm? If that’s not what they are doing, then the answer will be “No, this isn’t a concern.” But the obvious fear is that it is true or the zealous advocates wouldn’t be as vehement in their outrage that they might lose a sycophant to rational reflection, the recognition that young women should not be encouraged to have a double mastectomy to be one of the cool kids among their woke classmates.

But book burning to prevent discrimination, to own the moral high ground? This is why I fear the left has become the more insidious problem.

33 thoughts on “Up In Smoke

    1. John J

      Jake, Ms Greenfield can clutch her pearls as hard as she wants. As the first transgender Admiral in the Nebraskan Navy, she has done more for tolerance than you have had woke thoughts. We now have cabin girls, pink frigates, deserters are flogged with feather boas, and the battleship SS Petticoat fires confetti and sparkles from its main armament. There will be no more naval battles on the Missouri. It’s a woman’s life in the Nebraskan Navy.

      1. SHG Post author

        I was inclined to trash this comment as being too insufferably idiotic to see daylight, but then decided to post it instead so that everyone who reads it will know that you wrote this insufferable idiocy.

  1. Thomas Johnson

    Maybe having woman wanting to become cult members should be forced to read “Lord of the Flies”. Adolescent judgement is not a good way to set life goals.

    1. SHG Post author

      Adolescent experimentation is normal. Permanent physical alteration is a problem. I often wonder what people think of those cool tattoos they got when they were young as they celebrate their 50th birthday.

      1. Thomas Johnson

        Unfortunately group control escalated rather quickly to capital punishment if you did not obey the whims of the leaders.

      2. John j

        Adolescent experimentation is normal and teenage homoeroticism is fairly common, but to us old farts, widespread transgenderism is just bizarre. This was virtually unknown in the 70s and 80s. But consider a “privileged” white girl or boy of today. They are at the bottom of the list of victimology. The girl is above the boy, of course, because of a million years of patriarchal oppression but she is still very low. But, but….but, start expressing doubts about your gender and you suddenly soar above the racist masses and you become a genuine victim. A VICTIM in all caps. Anyone who questions your apparent insanity is a villain of the deepest die. Twitter heroes will defend anything you say and tear the guts out of all detractors. Is it any surprise this is attractive to young egotists?

  2. Hunting Guy

    Bait and switch.

    Based on the title I was ready to read about the various legal weed laws that just got passed.

    I’m disappointed.

    But I bet you planned it that way.

  3. Steve King

    Adolescent confusion and experimentation is normal. Butchery of adolescents is not.

    There is no twelve year old who has the mental capacity to make that decision. Transgenderism among the young is a fad and a dangerous one. Not only from surgery but from administration of drugs whose long term effects are not understood.

    The human brain is relatively plastic and becomes more or less fixed sometime around age twenty five. I would be more than willing to listen to a transgenders problems at age thirty than age twelve. Perhaps reassignment treatment and surgery should be banned until the patient is thirty.

    A measure of success for a medical procedure is the longitudinal study over time. The only one I have seen quoted showed that reassignment was a failure with large numbers of attempted suicides, a high rate of successful suicides, and most admitting it was a mistake. Gender reassignment among the young is medical butchery and should be sued out of existence. I believe that John Hopkins no longer performs this type of procedure and instead treats the underlying Gender Dysmorphia.

    Of course the left supports the idea of transgenderism in the the name of identity politics because it gives them just one more lever on the body politic and besides shut up. And because they are so morally correct and wonderful, anything they do is fantastic and needed for the overall good, so shut up.

    The ACLU has become the thing it fought against for so long. It is now a joke.

  4. Rengit

    Naturally, if Chase and Prof. Lavery eventually get their way and no distributer online or brick-and-mortar will carry the book and it is rendered impossible to sell and every library copy destroyed by activists, we’ll be told that that isn’t censorship, because censorship is something only the government is capable of. When a retailer or distributer refuses to carry because they don’t like the content, that’s just exercising freedom of association, and library patrons are free to destroy books so long as they pay the fine, which is essentially a matter of contract. No government involvement, no censorship.

    Wait, what about all those cries about “censorship” by artists and activists back in the 90s when Wal-Mart or other big box stores would refuse to carry records or videos unless offending swear words, offensive packaging, celebration of drug use, sexual promiscuity and nudity, gay references, were edited out or the song removed from the album? Or, even earlier, when many radio stations ceased to play Beatles records and even organized bonfires of Beatles albums after John Lennon said they were bigger than Jesus? Turns out they were wrong about what censorship is, we know much better now in the current year.

      1. cthulhu

        But where is our latter-day Frank Zappa to tell the latter-day Tippers to shove it?
        (Your Zappa-fu is better than mine, and I’m not one of the anointed who can post videos anyway, so go to town!)

  5. Rengit

    Maybe Chase and Prof. Lavery will settle for “PARENTAL ADVISORY: HATEFUL ANTI-TRANS CONTENT” stickers in black and white on controversial books.

  6. David Meyer-Lindenberg

    It’s remarkable, verging on the incredible, that ACLU attorneys a) appear to sincerely support the censorship of ideas and b) feel comfortable twitting about it. As you observe, the argument that Strangio wasn’t twitting “in an official capacity” is unavailing. If a member of the Anti-Defamation League were to twit “happy reichspogromnacht everyone :))”, it’d spark some comment, and rightly so.

    That this incident hasn’t prompted a massive reevaluation of whether it still makes sense to call 2020’s ACLU a civil-rights organization – as it undoubtedly was in ’77, when its Jewish leadership stepped up to the plate to protect the American Nazi Party’s 1A right to march through Skokie – is a mark of just how squishy support for constitutional rights has become in today’s climate.

    1. John J

      The ACLU has been taken over by the brainwashed and only woke liberties are defended now. The Skokie case was a triumph of principle that would be impossible today. The old ACLU knew that it was better to protect the 1A rights of creeps than to allow political censorship to silence speech. The new ACLU would regard the previous sentence as incomprehensible.

      1. SHG Post author

        Not that this isn’t already well known, my posts about it included in links to this post, but your saying so may be the most utterly worthless contribution. Nobody here gives a flying fuck that you say so. Don’t squander my bandwidth with this crap.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Does the woke calling for book burning mean “White Fragility” is fair game?
    Seriously, if an ideology is so intolerant of questioning and criticism that any contrary words must be extirpated then something is rotten at the core.

  8. B. McLeod

    Sounds like the objectionable book is quite common sensical. The [Ed. Note] thing won’t always be the hot fad du jour, and when the woke have passed it by for something new, woe be unto all the poor kids who have had their bodies permanently mutilated for a momentary seat on the bandwagon.

  9. Carlyle Moulton

    Perhaps this fad would not exist if society and various groups of God Botherers did not ensure such a level of anti-woman prejudice that it is arguably rational for females to desire to be anything other than female.

    Perhaps some of your readers remember another dangerous fad, the epidemic of satanic sexual abuse prosecutions caused by arguablly criminally insane psychologists and psychiatrists who brainwashed their patients until they had them believing that all their psychological problems stemmed from Satanic Sexual abuse in childhood by their parent and their parents ‘ associates.

    Influence can be dangerous and the only way to counter it is counter influence that cannot be be certainly determined as rational argument or propaganda. Noone can convince a woke person that he/she/it is woke or a fascist that he/she/it is a fascist.

    I made 18 attempts to prove that I am not a robot before giving up and include this postscript with the hope that by random chance one of my next 20 attempts will succeed. CAPTCHA now includes pictures with the target objects so far in the distance that the combination of the postage stamp sized pictures and my normal vision eyes cannot resolve them.

    1. SHG Post author

      Perhaps every reader here knows about the Satanic Panic, doesn’t need you to remind them, and you’re prior 18 attempts to make it past the captcha should have been a warning?

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