Thursday, February 16, 2023


Though baby is in perpetual need of new shoes and I should go easy on the freebies lest paid subscribers feel themselves short-changed, Roy Edroso Breaks It Down must today report that this week’s open letter to the New York Times accusing the paper of an unseemly hard-on for trans people has been answered by the O.G. anti-cancel-culture Harper’s Letter of 2020 crew*. (* is joke, comrades.)

The Times itself has responded to the trans advocates’ letter (“the very news stories criticized in their letter reported deeply and empathetically on issues of care and well-being for trans teens and adults”), but anyone who’s been following the issue will agree that the more important response will be from the Bari Weiss platoon, who will invariably defend the more powerful party as the living embodiment of the First Amendment, against which all criticism must be considered an assault against same. 

The Times clearly doesn’t give a shit and has followed up with a column from Bret Stephens’ ex portraying J.K. Rowling as a victim of vicious trannies. There’s all kinds of hilarity in this; first, since it’s not appearing in the usual overtly conservative outlets, Pamela Paul sugars it with several pro-trans statements Rowling has made over the years (e.g. “Trans people need and deserve protection”). No doubt most American conservatives who support anti-trans legislation and rush to read this will experience a moment of revulsion before deciding, based on their long experience with Republican politicians talking about any minority rights, that she only had to say something like that to get over. 

(BTW it’s interesting to note how much Republicans have pulled back on that strategy; has DeSantis himself, for example, ever couched his assaults on gay and trans people by saying any version of “I have nothing against them personally”? Because I’ve never seen it.)

But the best stuff is the meretricious comparisons – people who criticize Rowling’s trans statements, for example, are the same as Christian fundamentalists who criticized Harry Potter wizardry as Satanic, because “critics have advocated that bookstores pull [Rowling’s] books from the shelves, and some bookstores have done so.” (Paul links to a citation saying one Australian bookstore has done so. I would love to see a tally of books pulled by the anti-trans forces versus those of the pro-.) And get a load of this:

This campaign against Rowling is as dangerous as it is absurd. The brutal stabbing of Salman Rushdie last summer is a forceful reminder of what can happen when writers are demonized.

A careless reader, and it’s hard to imagine Paul having any other kind (including on the Times copy desk), may come away thinking Rushdie was assaulted by transsexuals rather than by a religious maniac. 

In short, the powerful are persecuted, the powerless are a mob, and the Times is on it (the side of the former, that is). 

(Headline source here.)

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