In a development which should surprise no one, the Huffington Post fairly recently ran a piece whining about jokes comedian Bill Burr made regarding Caitlyn Jenner’s transition because of course they would.
Here’s the bit:
Most relevant to me at least was Burr’s takedown of how the PC thought police won’t tolerate anything but fawning praise:
“Then you couldn’t react. You couldn’t on any level be like, “Oh my God, what the eff?!” on any level. You couldn’t say that or you’re automatically homophobic. You shave your beard off people are like, “Oh my God, that’s your chin?! wow!!” This guy walked out a dude, came back a woman, and you’re just supposed to be like, “Oh, yes, so anyways, Caitlyn.”
Yes I get that by “homophobic” Burr mixes up sexual orientation and gender expression but to focus on that misses the point.
Along similar lines as Bill Maher explains jokes to idiots, the kind of people who thoughtlessly and reflexively sling accusations of “racism”, “sexism” and “transphobia” like candy from a parade float at anything they merely don’t like also don’t seem to understand that some people need or use humor to cope with and process dramatic changes, be it in themselves or beloved childhood heroes.
A contrast instantly came to mind when I thought of people who, without the hate, might think “what the eff” in response to to Caitlyn Jenner’s transition. First is the strikingly beautiful Nikki Araguz Lloyd, with whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. She has, as far as I know, been openly transgender for a number of years, and I had no clue until she told me:
Caitlyn Jenner on the other hand didn’t transition until she was 65, after she’d achieved celebrity/hero status after winning the men’s decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympics. “Passability” isn’t relevant here even if, in my opinion, Caitlyn Jenner looks pretty good for a 65-year-old woman:
As a cultural libertarian, I have in no way a problem with Caitlyn Jenner’s transition. I genuinely wish her the best and happiest life possible. If anything, I expect the authoritarian left to turn on her viciously when reminded she’s a conservative Republican.
Whatever the case may be, some people may need a moment to…adjust, to put it mildly and there’s nothing wrong with using humor to do that.
Comedy is sacred to me because it brings joy, brightens life, and can act as a mechanism for taking the piss out of genuinely awful things and horrible people. The insinuation that Bill Burr’s joke in any way contributes to the murder and death of transgender people is plainly ridiculous and should be openly mocked and ridiculed, which I intend to do, or at least help in doing.
Huffington Post Editor Bill Bradley quips:
If you have to say, “I’m not being a jerk,” you’re probably being a jerk.
But Bradley evidently doesn’t realize, or doesn’t care that, in an age when the public square is dominated by the professionally offended, where political correctness poses an existential threat to comedy, people feel the need to deny being a jerk because people like him will trip over themselves to make them out to be one anyway no matter what they say.