Ugh, the weirdest part of the last 5 or so years for me, has been slowly losing every bit of my respect for all of the people I used to look up to.
Finding out just how pervasive trans hate is in comedy was a big one. I lost Stewart, Oswalt, and tons of others just from that.
And, I bought…
Sometimes, when you look at the world through opened eyes, you’ll see things that hurt. You’ll see people in ways that lead to understanding that they are doing things to hurt you.
Most (not all, but most) of the people you listed in your post are well-meaning individuals who, when their deeds are tallied in the end (I gathered from your post that you’re an atheist; I’m not, my worldview is defined by the fact that I’m not, and I can’t think of another way to put this; please take it as metaphorical), will come up as having done more good than bad… but that doesn’t help the people who they wronged much, does it?
And they’re powerful, in the small ways that privilege makes people powerful and in the big ways that fame and wealth and cultural influence make people powerful. They don’t have to listen when they’re told they’re wrong about things - so they take the very human route of NOT listening.
Many of them do have valuable things to say, but they’re also fatally flawed, and one must, if one reads or listens to them and takes their words as having merit, take into account their flaws and watch for when those flaws are influencing their work. It’s harder, more demanding, and, most notably, profoundly UNFAIR that we have to be the ones skewered on our heroes’ flailing blades… but such is the fate of the minority, the unprivileged, and the enlightened.
I still haven’t quite figured out how to live with that - how to avoid denying myself the undeniable richness that people like Jon Stewart, David Wong, and Jerry Lawler (I’m a wrestling fan! Don’t judge!) have added to my life while simultaneously not supporting the hurt they often inadvertantly cause others - and while not being hurt myself. Maybe there is no good answer.
I hate that thought.
Huh. I’ve met/talked to a few other trans women who are wrestling fans. It seems surprisingly common. (I watched it some when I was a kid, in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. But, not since then.)
Umm, I guess I’ve been pretty much over my disillusionment with those people/communities for a while. That post was meant to be less about their flaws, and more about how shitty I feel for at one point in my life nodding along with what they were saying.
For instance, I had really bought into the idea Wong espouses that men were more interested in sex than women. And that ~our~ sex drives were these great burdens on ~us~ that women could never understand.
I sorta suspect that my views were colored by some form of dysphoria and that a testosterone-based sex drive was emotionally painful for me or something? I dunno for sure, but I was really looking forward to losing my sex drive when I started HRT. And it did go down a lot, but only for about a year. Then it just grew into this so much harder to manage thing that was insatiable. ~Taking care of things myself~ became so much less effective, and I craaaaaved a partner whereas I never really wanted one before. (I was literally 26 the first time I actually wanted to—instead of feeling obligated to—have sex with another person.)
But regardless of that, I no longer see it as any sort of burden. I’m mostly at peace with it. Which I pretty much credit to finally having the right hormones in me. (also, I secretly suspect that David Wong is a horribly closeted trans woman)
The point of that tangent, I guess, was that reality hit me really hard in the lady-junk for having those wrong and crappy views. And so many other similarly crappy views on other things. (I should note that I wasn’t exactly an MRA dude-bro that would excuse sexual assault or feel entitled to sex with people or anything, I just occasionally had some really shitty views.)
I’m just glad that I’ve been given the opportunity to grow a lot. And that things in my life—like my transition—have helped to foster that growth.
As far as problems with people I currently look up to letting me down, I’m not really 100% sure what to do, either. I’ve just really toned down the hero-worship, and have pretty much braced myself for the worst with them. I’ve also been trying to be more forgiving, but only when they make an effort to try to learn from their mistakes, and don’t act like total assholes about it for days and weeks.
Yeah… Wong in particular has some really… troubling… views. I’ve avoided the Cracked forums like the plague, which appear to be the where the worst of his stuff shows up, but I’ve seen it more than hinted at in the articles.
He runs a website that is basically built on merging education and comedy, and does a really good job at that on the whole, and the idea is important and worthwhile, but when he deals with, in particular, gender and sex-related issues, he tends to do very badly - and his forum behavior indicates that he doesn’t intend to be educated on why he’s doing it badly or how to stop. Not to mention that he’s a white guy who uses a non-white pseudonym, which is its own sort of problematic.
Emily Yoffe - Prudence, from Slate.com’s advice columns - also tends to let her privilege run her over on occasion, but when I’ve contacted her about it, she’s always been respectful and polite, and has at least visibly taken what I said in mind even if her opinion didn’t change.