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don't offend a bored rhetorician

in response to this post from wookiepocket regarding this article, I wrote the following to Mr Peter Wilkinson.

tell me what you think:

Dear Mister Wilkinson,

In regard to "The Mystery of Larry Wachowski": it is difficult to believe that this article wasn't written to be purposefully offensive to anyone who realizes that Transsexualism and BDSM not only have nothing necessarily to do with each other, but that they do not constitute twilight worlds where shamefully exotic creatures commit mind-blowing acts with each other, and with medical technology and overstuffed wallets at their desposal, trample all over middle american sensibilities in creating for themselves bodies and relationships unnatural and ungodly.

Because surely you realize that nearly every word you write here plays to that dark fantasy wherein young innocent midwestern children are taken in by the affluent, decadant coastal cities, where they lose all track of decency and morality, becoming monsters at once fascinating and horrifying, difficult to conceive of as human yet impossible not to stare at in wonder--I mean come on! There are so many gross errors of perspective and scale in this story that I have to believe it is a work of fiction produced in complete self-consciousness.

Or do you believe these things? "Deeply into his own personal Matrix"? "Self-imposed exile"? Could you be any more blatantly hewing to the mainstream sex- and gender-phobic puritanism that would have all us transgressive moral outlaws to return to the fold of divinely-ordained sexual order which, oddly ineffective although endorsed by the almighty, is the only thing standing between god-fearing americans and the heathen perverts of San Francisco and LA? So fucking what if Larry Wachowski wants to live his life privately, and why the hell is it so important to continue to portray transsexualism and non-traditional sexual practices as some sort of clutching evil that can pluck poor innocent vanilla heterosexual millionaires out of their proper places in life? Oh the tragedy that people occasionally find fulfillment in out-of-the-ordinary practices and ways of being! Dear god, bring them home!

And those are just questions for the general zeitgeist of your post. I have no doubt the emails are already pouring in about your blatant disregard for Buck Angel's identity as a male and your titillating gasps at Wachowski's crossdressing and possible manifestation of transsexual desire--you really could not have been more offensive in portraying either one of them, using feminine pronouns half the time for Buck, and offering breathless speculation about Wachowski's apparent feminization as though it were scandalous and bizarre. The fifties are over, my friend; "Glen or Glenda" is no longer shocking nor morally outrageous.

Yes it is true that people change their gender (and you don't call a female-to-male transsexual "partial" without his permission and simply because he has not had genital surgery. This I'm sure is also being explained to you with varying degrees of patience, but the state of the art of female-to-male genital surgery is such that many who consider themselves thoroughly male choose not to have it done. Are you that frightened of losing your manhood, as though Lorena Babbitt could suddenly appear and snip it right off of you? Contrary to the endless proclamations of obstetricians at births the world over, it is not the little dick that makes the man. Some men, like Buck Angel, have pussies. You see? It's just not that difficult, is it?); and it is true that some people enjoy BDSM play, and it is true that by simply doing these things these people are knocking at the doors of some delicate cultural constructions whose imminent collapse sends certain among us into panic and others into long sermons and still others into murderous rage, but the funny thing is that once those constructions are demolished, what is left standing is simply a group of humans.

No demons, no matrices, no ghosts in the machines guiding our every thought, but decent, compassionate, intelligent people pursuing their own happiness without harming anyone at all. Sure it is more thrilling to write the story your way, but it only feeds into the hysterical or should I say testerical paranoid fantasies of the fundamentalists who are dangerously close to subsuming all political power in this country to continue to portray sex and gender transgressive individuals as dark, exotic, frightening, possibly brainwashed or otherwise under occult influences, as monstrous and manifesting some exciting, powerful hidden danger.

Yes some of us live life a little differently from the rest of you. The beauty of being human is that it is possible to practice this life according to one's own lights and still be capable of natural, normal society. Exoticization is one step from vilification which is one step from eradication. Your article, quite simply, is not helping, although I suppose it might be helping you to get lots of attention.

Congratulations. Cut it out.

[insert my berkeley sig here]


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 14th, 2006 01:33 pm (UTC)
oh, erik! this is the most forceful writing i remember reading from you. it's amazing. i'd like to read it again sometime to admire it.

only one tiny cavil: if i were you, i'd omit this sentence "Are you that frightened of losing your manhood, as though Lorena Babbitt could suddenly appear and snip it right off of you?" it seems to me to cut a little too close (so to say) to him personally, and your intent is to protest and maybe convince, not to provoke, right?

i LOVE "Congratulations. Cut it out." excellent letter.
Jan. 14th, 2006 04:42 pm (UTC)
too late. I sent it out immediately upon finishing it. complete with misspellings.

oh well. I think misspellings are ok when you are obviously spitting mad.
Jan. 14th, 2006 05:20 pm (UTC)
well, it really was fabulously written. (i didn't notice misspellings. hmmmm.)
Jan. 14th, 2006 02:08 pm (UTC)
fucking solid.
Jan. 14th, 2006 04:07 pm (UTC)

nice rant.
Jan. 14th, 2006 04:09 pm (UTC)
Very well-written. You've articulated some of my feelings about this article better than I could've. Thanks for writing this.
Jan. 14th, 2006 06:33 pm (UTC)
"Exoticization is one step from vilification..."

I guess an FTM villain on "Law on Order: Policing Your Sexual Conformity"* can't be far away.

*(I liked the old pinch-faced Michael Moriarty, and the plots where rich people turned out to be evil. But even before the show split into various Law & Order franchises, I did eventually notice how many plots start with something sexually "exotic," usually BDSM.)

Jan. 15th, 2006 11:12 pm (UTC)
Your letter made more sense than wookiepocket's letter in response to the original article. The whole thing had me stumped in that the writer seemed wrong on so many things, but the whole thing led me to a lot more questions than I really had answers for.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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