Friday’s Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Teve says:
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘They’re chilling’: endangered condors take up residence outside California woman’s home

    Seana Lyn

    Over the weekend ~15 California condors descended on my moms house and absolutely trashed her deck. They still haven’t left. It sucks but also this is unheard of, there’s only 160 of these birds flying free in the state and a flock of them decided to start a war with my mom
    Loudly crying face

    Try removing the decaying warthog from the driveway. That might help.

    Mom had to run errands and leave the house. Thankfully they didn’t trash it the moment she left but she did return home to 6 circling overhead. Our theory is they go off to do condor things like look for food during the day but they always return for cocktail hour in the evening

    Yes, who’s up for Happy Hour at Mickols’ Bar and Grill?

    The ravens (who normally hang in my mom’s trees) have returned and are now hanging out with the condors in the same tree. I’m not sure how I feel about this bird alliance…

    Uh oh.

    Actually, this house is probably in a perfect location for catching the morning sun. There used to be a dead sycamore in the middle of a hay field down in the valley below us. All our local buzzards roosted there every night (20-30 of them, quite a sight). When the early morning sun hit them, they would all spread their wings to absorb as much of it’s warmth as they could. Then, one by one they would take flight and catch the strengthening thermals.

    That tree fell over a couple years ago and they began roosting on the round hay bales in the field. I guess that alternative wasn’t communal enough tho because after a while they began disappearing. No doubt they found a another tree that fit their needs.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Wyoming stands up for coal with threat to sue states that refuse to buy it

    Wyoming is faced by a transition to renewable energy that’s gathering pace across America, but it has now come up with a novel and controversial plan to protect its mining industry – sue other states that refuse to take its coal. A new state law has created a $1.2m fund to be used by Wyoming’s governor to take legal action against other states that opt to power themselves with clean energy such as solar and wind, in order to meet targets to tackle the climate crisis, rather than burn Wyoming’s coal.

    Yeah, that will go far. Burning $1.2 million dollars in lawsuits that don’t have a chance of succeeding. Only a Republican would think the courts will let them force other people into buying what they are selling.

    The stupid, it hurts.

    ETA: whad’ya wann bet they don’t sue CA? The world’s 6th largest economy would squash them like the bugs they are.

  4. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: LOL. Let’s do a slippery slope argument thing and see how far we can take it…

    Wisconsin counter-sues to force them to buy only Wisconsin cheese.
    Georgia counter-sues to force them to buy only Georgia peaches.
    New Hampshire and Vermont team up and counter-sue to force only New England maple syrup.

    What idiots. Not to mention there are other states that sell coal, why does Wyoming get to force states to buy their coal, while others cannot?

    This is really, really dumb.

  5. Scott says:


    This reminds me of this: The time Oprah Winfrey beefed with the Texas cattle industry

    Oprah wiped the floor with them.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A feel good story to start your Friday with: How a majority Black school in Detroit shook up the world of lacrosse

    Few things in sports are purer than youth athletes celebrating a hard-earned win. The athletes are not famous, and millions of dollars are not on the line. The purest, most unbridled victory celebration in Detroit high school sports history may have occurred on a lacrosse field in Auburn Hills, Michigan, on 26 April 2021. It was not a rivalry game, and no championship was won.

    The victory was the culmination of a two-year wait for Detroit Cass Technical High School girls’ lacrosse team, the first high school girls’ lacrosse team in the city of Detroit. A team that for two years has been told to wait.

    Wait to return to school. Wait to see your friends again. Wait to play sports. Wait to win.

    It was not a comfortable time. It included a season ending before it started, death and uncertainty overshadowing their city, and personal struggles with mental and physical health.
    Playing Lake Orion, one of the top teams in the state this year, was trial by fire for Cass Tech. Lake Orion scored 26 seconds into the game and cruised to 21-1 victory. The lone bright spot was Kayla Carroll-Williams scoring the first goal in Detroit high school girls’ lacrosse history.

    The schedule did not get much easier. Cass Tech lost their first six games, and the sixth loss was rough. The coaches met with the captains after the game and listened to them explain the team’s struggles dealing with the pandemic and the weight of expectations.

    The captains held a team-only meeting the next day. They agreed it was time to forget the losses and start over as if it were a new season.

    Liggans noticed an immediate improvement at practice that day. “It just lit a fire, and you could see the excitement now and people wanting to play the sport and wanting to come and practice and wanting to get better.”

    And they carried the new intensity to their next game against Avondale High School in Auburn Hills.

  7. Teve says:
  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: Ah Amarillo… The town you can smell 40 miles before you see it. Ok, that’s a little hyperbolic but the feed lots that surround it do give it a special… ambience.

  9. CSK says:

    The smell of Secaucus, N.J. would knock you over.

  10. Mimai says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Hereford would like a word.

  11. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I drove from North Florida to Olympia Washington and back 4 years ago and there were towns in the midwest that I could smell literally 10 minutes before I got to them. Heinous odor.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: @Mimai: @Teve: There is a large CAFO hog operation, I think just north and west of Washington MO. The days he spreads manure on the fields are pure joy for the town residents.

  13. Kathy says:

    The consensus that all of the Orange Ass’s relations are transactional is not wrong, but the word that really applies is meretricious.

  14. Mimai says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: CAFOs are lovely. There was a recent post about vote rigging in a high school homecoming election. Said high school is located in Cantonment, FL, which is also home to a large paper mill. Oh the smell! So nauseatingly sweet!

  15. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Outside of Sedalia, there used to be both a CAFO hog operation and a turkey one. I hated driving out that direction in July/August.

  16. Mister Bluster says:

    Nothing quite like working the telephone lines for several hours right next to a hog slop pen on a hot day in July. When the farmer came around to see what I was doing I had to ask how he could stand the aroma.
    “Smells like money to me.” he said.

  17. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: From a 1997 Baltimore Sun article:

    Cows stink.

    Every Marylander should know that basic fact about farming, according to Gov. Parris N. Glendening. He wants the General Assembly to protect farmers from city dwellers and suburbanites who move to the country, only to complain about the odors, noise and dust generated by their agricultural neighbors.

    The governor has proposed strengthening the state’s “Right to Farm” law as part of his Smart Growth initiative to curb suburban sprawl. The administration’s legislation, which has passed the Senate and is pending in the House, would protect farmers such as Wayne Armacost of Upperco.

    Armacost says his family has been farming in northwestern Baltimore County for seven generations. For much of the past 17 years, Armacost’s Hickory Hill Farm has been the target of complaints from neighboring homeowners, mainly about foul odors.

  18. Scott says:


    Yes, George Strait doesn’t mention that.

    George Strait – Amarillo By Morning

  19. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Wyoming is facing steep budget cuts all across the board, particularly funding for education, but by all means, let’s blow 1.2 million to save a dying industry.

    It’s really frustrating living here sometimes.

  20. Kathy says:

    I’m going to go contrarian.

    On the way to Toluca, still in an area called Metepec, there’s a Nestle plant. Often it smells of brewing coffee.

  21. Kathy says:


    So, I take it the Capitalist, Free Market solution no longer involves adapting to changing market conditions. Say by finding ways to produce coal more cleanly, finding other uses for it that don’t increase greenhouse gasses, or finding ways to burn it with far less pollution to conform to new norms.

    I’m sure some Northeastern states would be delighted to sue other states who don’t buy whale oil for their illumination needs.

  22. CSK says:

    I’d far, far rather smell brewing coffee than hog manure.

  23. Kathy says:


    It smells really good. It’s surprising to me that’s how instant coffee smells while it’s being made. Clear proof that freeze-drying ruins it.

  24. CSK says:

    Instant coffee is pretty much an abomination. Oddly, the instant that was sold in Scotland–at least while I was there–was better. I think it was called “Continental roast.” It had some body and flavor.

  25. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: I’m going to go contrarian on this. Every morning I make myself a latte with frothed milk and “espresso” brewed on a stove top pressure pot. And then for the rest of the day I drink decaf instant Nescafe, strong, with a little cream and a little sugar. I love it, and it’s easy. I have to admit though, it may be because when I visited Ireland as a boy, my Uncle Jim made if for me that way and that was the first real coffee I ever had, and I have fond memories of that.

  26. CSK says:

    That’s a nice memory. It may well influence your present taste in some way.

    I was actually okay with instant coffee when I had to race out of the house in the morning to get to work. It was the caffeine I needed. Then my tastes changed.

  27. CSK says:

    What we eat and drink in childhood can influence us forever. Cavin Trillin has a story about preferring Kraft mac and cheese to his wife’s laboriously made-from-scratch version. The Kraft was what he was given when he was a kid.

  28. Jen says:

    An astonishingly tone-deaf piece from the Washingtonian’s CEO, Cathy Merrill.

    What an excerpt:

    While some employees might like to continue to work from home and pop in only when necessary, that presents executives with a tempting economic option the employees might not like. I estimate that about 20 percent of every office job is outside one’s core responsibilities — “extra.” It involves helping a colleague, mentoring more junior people, celebrating someone’s birthday — things that drive office culture. If the employee is rarely around to participate in those extras, management has a strong incentive to change their status to “contractor.” Instead of receiving a set salary, contractors are paid only for the work they do, either hourly or by appropriate output metrics. That would also mean not having to pay for health care, a 401(k) match and our share of FICA and Medicare taxes — benefits that in my company’s case add up roughly to an extra 15 percent of compensation. Not to mention the potential savings of reduced office space and extras such as bonuses and parking fees.

    Translation: Nice job you have there, it’d be a shame if something happened to it…

    Sounds to me like someone misses having employees around who jump and snap to attention when she rounds the corner.

    There’s an argument to be made that younger and new employees benefit from in-office interactions, but she destroyed any likelihood that people would absorb that message when she dove right into the full-on threats.

    A fair number of Washingtonian employees have posted this same message on Twitter.

  29. Kathy says:


    The one drawback of coffee is that it’s neither quick nor easy to make when one has just awoken and is not fully all there mentally.

    At work I make drip coffee, or espresso and latte, depending on my cravings and work conditions. At home, I have instant with milk. The caffeine content is adequate.

  30. @OzarkHillbilly:

    This is merited nonsense

  31. Mu Yixiao says:


    I don’t find that excerpt to be tone-deaf. I find it very appropriate.

    We’re just starting to bring the last of the workers back to the office (we’re a manufacturing facility, so production has been here since last year). I’ve been in the office the entire time, and I’ll be glad to see them come back. People working from home don’t realize just how much of their job involves things at the office. I’ve been the one getting all the “hey, can you do me a little favor” e-mails. That’s a lot of extra work for me (and others that are in the office) so they can work from home.

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: I take my birds to a small Mennonite operation for processing in Moniteau County. The are quite a few CAFOs there. It’s a bit jarring to be slowing down for a horse drawn carriage or somebody on a bicycle while driving past a huge stinking hog operation.

  33. CSK says:

    The FEC has dropped its inquiry into whether Trump’s $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels broke campaign finance laws. The commissioners were split in their votes. Trump, of course, has blamed it all on “sleazebag” lawyer Michael Cohen.

    I have no use for Cohen, but the notion of Trump calling someone else a sleazebag is amusing.

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: I’m going to be in Wyoming next week, tho on the opposite side of the state from you. My son is climbing Devil’s Tower, something I had once promised myself I would do. Life happened tho and my climb didn’t. I did other things. Still, I want to see my son accomplish that which I never quite got the chance to.

  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Back in the early ’80s I lived just downwind of the Ronoco coffee roasting plant in STL. After a few weeks I hardly noticed the smell.

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: @CSK:

    When I was still caving, I’d mix Nescafe with hot chocolate mix for my morning brew. It was pretty damned good too.

  37. CSK says:

    A somewhat similar situation occurred when Deval Patrick signed the law requiring that employees who worked 20 or more hours a week receive health benefits. I’m sure his intentions were fine, but the net result was that a great number of employers immediately cut their part-time staff back to 15 hours. This happened to me; I ended up with considerably less money (previously I could work as much as I liked) and still footing the bill for my own insurance.

  38. CSK says:

    I’ve done that. It is good.

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Ain’t it tho? I wonder who they think they are kidding? The folks in the mines?

  40. Jen says:

    @Mu Yixiao: LOL, it is not appropriate in the least for a CEO to *threaten to reclassify her workers*. It could well be a labor law violation, although there is considerable debate about that.

    As I clearly stated, there are important arguments to be made for being in-office, but she’s killed any opportunity for that message to resonate because she had to get those threats in. That’s what is not appropriate.

    This could have been a very different piece. It could have made the case for the importance of being in the office, and how much of office work thrives with personal interaction. Instead, she decided to pull out the threats. How much “office culture” thrives when employees feel threatened?

    She inherited this job and this isn’t the first sob article she’s written for WaPo. Back in March 2020 she was whining about how she’d be out of business in a month if people couldn’t come in to work.

  41. Mu Yixiao says:

    I spent a summer living down the street from a bubble gum factory. A different flavor every week. Watermelon and grape were enough to make you gag.

    And… then I spent 4 years living a couple blocks away from the Proctor & Gamble plant that made fabric softener. Imagine using one of those as your facemask and you’ll get an idea what some days were like.

  42. gVOR08 says:

    WAPO has a story up, China says out-of-control rocket booster probably won’t cause any harm. A commenter replied,

    I’m probably reassured.

    The story concludes by noting the U. S. has no plans to shoot it down. Good. At best, shooting it down would cause it to, well, fall out-of-control.

  43. gVOR08 says:


    He wants the General Assembly to protect farmers from city dwellers and suburbanites who move to the country, only to complain about the odors, noise and dust generated by their agricultural neighbors.

    Sounds like people who move near airports and are shocked to discover that airplanes are loud.

  44. gVOR08 says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    This (WY planning to sue other states to force coal usage) is merited nonsense.

    It, and the Dr. Evil 1.2 millllion dollars that go with it will accomplish exactly what it’s intended to do, score points for the incumbents with the base. Hell, they might even file a couple of suits to make it look real.

    What I reacted to was the claim in the story that the decline of coal cost them thousands of jobs. In Wyoming wouldn’t thousands of jobs be like all of them?

  45. Sleeping Dog says:


    Sounds to me like someone misses having employees around who jump and snap to attention when she rounds the corner.

    Yes it’s tone deaf, but not wrong. It is the never let a crisis go to waste mentality, the plague has forced change and now corporations will be seeking ways to leverage this change to their advantage, which will inevitably come at the expense of the employees.

  46. gVOR08 says:


    I’d mix Nescafe with hot chocolate mix for my morning brew. It was pretty damned good too.

    Tom*, you’ve invented Cafe Mocha.

    *anybody else old enough to remember Tom Swift jokes? Tom, from only a piece of pipe, some wire, a few flashlight batteries, an old vacuum tube, and that rock, you’ve managed to fashion a club!

  47. Jax says:

    @gVOR08: And the state legislature is also penalizing renewable energy, in favor of coal. They’d rather whine than actually put people back to work on wind or solar farms. It’s truly the stupidest, stubbornest damn thing I’ve ever seen.

  48. Mikey says:

    Re: instant coffee.

    Back during the 1991 Gulf War, we would sometimes need to be awake for long periods (war can be that way) which of course could be hazardous when moving rapidly in armored vehicles. So we came up with the idea of saving up the instant coffee packets in the MREs and when we got tired we’d stack two or three in our hand, rip off the tops of all of them, dump the contents in our mouths and wash the dry nastiness down with a couple swigs from our canteens.

    It was foul, but I’ll tell you what, in about 1o minutes we could see time.

  49. Mikey says:

    A.R. Moxon
    “Fake News” sprang from a report that right-wingers were paying content farms to seed social media w/lies, and the moment it was reported, right-wingers without even breaking stride just started calling the real news “fake news” and kept on spreading the lies, it’s breathtaking.

  50. CSK says:

    I thought Trump invented the term. It sounds puerile enough to be one of his devising.

  51. Kylopod says:


    Sounds like people who move near airports and are shocked to discover that airplanes are loud.

    Yes–though it’s also the fact that urban and suburban dwellers have romanticized notions of farms and country life.

    It’s related to the fact that smellivision never caught on. The technology has been there for a long time, it’s just that nobody wants it. I remember going to a 3D movie as a kid where the theater had smells coming out of the vents–fragrant smells of fruits and gardens and the like. That’s the problem: people will only tolerate simulated smells as long as they’re pleasant–which most smells aren’t. Imagine watching action movies and having to smell the characters’ sweat, or the rotting corpses of those they kill, or even just the urban smell of garbage and industrial pollution. Heck, many people dislike even the smell of some fresh foods such as eggs or fish.

    Because movies and TV (including news) don’t present the smells to go along with the images, it contributes to our distorted impression of a lot of things, and it’s part of why some people are surprised to discover that farms stink.

  52. CSK says:

    When I was a kid, we lived about a mile or so from a cow farm. On a hot summer evening, when the wind was in the right (wrong) direction…whew.

  53. Mu Yixiao says:


    I know exactly what you mean.

    I grew up in a valley. There used to be a big pig farm at one end. Hot summer days when an inversion layer would trap the air? The whole town was bathed in the smell.

  54. Army authorizes female soldiers to style their hair with a ponytail. Conservatives freak out

  55. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Well that would certainly explain why I will buy a bottle of Camp coffee and chicory extract when I see one. (Actually it’s a pretty good product over all, but it has too much caffeine for me now.)

  56. Kathy says:


    It’s related to the fact that smellivision never caught on.

    Praise the gods for that.

    For home use, it would have been difficult. You’d have to replace canisters of smell chemicals every so often, or go without. Malfunctions might produce strange or unpleasant smells, etc.

    An old ride at Epcot, Horizons (RIP), pumped a citrus smell in one sequence where orange groves dominated the background. It was nice.

    Anyway, this is something I thought a bit about when taking the dog out for a walk (more like a run on her part). It struck me as odd that dogs can smell another dog’s droppings without displaying disgust. And that’s just one disgusting scent dogs get interested in.

    The only time I saw one of my dogs show disgust when smelling something, was when they were presented with acidic scents, like vinegar or lime. They’d wrinkle their nose and back away.

    We humans have a strong negative emotional reaction to unpleasant smells. I wonder why that is. Pleasant smells do not elicit such strong reactions.

    Another thing is that people eat in movie theaters. Imagine being hit with rotting flesh, excrement, etc. when you are eating popcorn or a hot dog.

  57. Kathy says:

    Steven Novella over at Neurologica, has a post abut the safety of COVID vaccines. Naturally he’s worried about vaccine hesitancy and more so about anti-vaxxers spreading misinformation.

    Two things struck me.

    One, he says mRNA lasts 10-14 days. I assume that’s also the period during which it can or does instruct ribosomes in the making of spike proteins. I thought it was much shorter than that, like only a few hours.

    The other is this:

    There is an argument to be made that the vaccine producers have a legitimate libel case against anti-vaxxers spreading proven lies.


    Perhaps we need new laws. When law enforcement found it difficult to act against organized crime because they would skate away from each individual infraction, they created anti-racketeering laws.

    I approve in principle, though the matter needs to be thought about rationally and examined. Still, there’s on doubt anti-vaxxers, be it on purpose or as a consequence, and no matter hos sincere their belief, are harming a great many people, and in the case of COVID they could cause great damage to lives and the economy of entire countries.

  58. Monala says:

    Ugh!! A rather disgusting article written by the mother of a trans daughter, claiming that nerds like her nerdy child have disappeared because they’ve been pressured to become trans.

    In it, she makes the false statement promoted earlier this year by Glenn Greenwald,

    And then there’s lesbians. A recent Gallup poll gives us some (nerdy) stats on this. The number of lesbians went up, all the way through the 1980s, the 1990s, the 2000s… but then it hit the down slope. When I first saw this, it really didn’t make sense. We’re all getting more tolerant nowadays, right? So why the shift? I know that lesbians aren’t all tomboys (or vice versa), but it looks like they’re both heading in the same direction: south. I couldn’t help thinking it’s the same thing that’s happening to the nerds.

    This statement is false. The number of lesbians has increased, not decreased… it’s just that the number of Gen Z youth identifying as trans or bisexual has increased more. (And only slightly more are identifying as trans–which includes both trans boys and girls, and may overlap with LGB sexual orientation. The really big increase has been youth identifying as bi. I would assume that most of the increase in bi identification comes from kids who formerly would have identified as straight, more so than those who would have identified as gay or lesbian). Link

  59. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: Funny thing there, my name actually is Tom. Yeah, I knew what cafe mocha was, I was just surprised it worked so well with nescafe, which I otherwise abhor.

  60. Kylopod says:


    We humans have a strong negative emotional reaction to unpleasant smells. I wonder why that is. Pleasant smells do not elicit such strong reactions.

    It’s built into the language, including the word “smell” itself. Ever noticed how that word connotes an unpleasant smell even if it isn’t stated outright? If you tell someone “You smell,” that’s never a compliment. And there are other smell-words like this: “odor” usually, though not always, suggests an unpleasant scent.

    On the other hand, there are smell-words with more positive connotations, such as aroma and fragrance, though even there the positive association isn’t quite as strong as the negative one for the previously mentioned words.

    As to why–well I’m not an evolutionary biologist, but it isn’t hard to guess that an aversion to unpleasant smells would have more survival value than an attraction to pleasant ones. Smells do play a role in sexual attraction, though usually at a very subconscious level, especially since our smelling ability is at a much weaker level than that of many other animals (including cats and dogs).

    I remember reading that smells are very connected to our emotions. They seem to reach deep into the very primitive, animal parts of our brain in a way that vision and hearing generally don’t.

  61. CSK says:

    Survival indeed. At a very basic level, the smell of spoiled meat, fish, or fowl would put you off eating, and for good reason.

  62. CSK says:

    Survival indeed. The smell of spoiled meat, fowl, or fish discourages us from eating it, which is a good thing.

  63. a country lawyer says:

    @Mikey: History repeats. In Viet Nam we would mix the instant coffee and instant cocoa from the c-rats with our halazone flavored water. Yum!

  64. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Monala: When my daughter came out to us, and I was first educating myself about trans people, I would read stuff like a trans woman saying, “I didn’t want to play baseball with the other boys, I wanted to play with dolls”. My reaction was, “Well, why don’t you play with dolls then? It seems a lot easier on yourself and everyone else.” But then I also read a trans man who said, “I thought I would grow a penis at puberty”. That was more of a “Whoa! Something is going on here!”.

    So many Second Wave feminists got caught up in a form of essentialism which sometimes veered into “women are better” or perhaps “womyn are better” (let’s not define women in terms of “men”). As a male Second Wave Feminist, this didn’t appeal to me much at all. I’m not going to sign up to be lesser, even as I endorse the idea that women aren’t lesser, either.

    This, of course, has a very strong, and not especially beneficial effect on how they (and to some extent I) thought about trans people. However, it turns out that somewhere in your brain there’s a part that holds some idea about what sex/gender you are supposed to be, and it’s exceptionally stubborn. It is the most unlikely to change thing described in Martin Seligman’s “What You Can Change, and What You Can’t”. It is less malleable than being a homosexual.

    The upswing in trans acceptance, then has had a serious impact on the lesbian community, as it affects them pretty directly when it comes to choosing sex partners. It’s a challenging situation.

  65. Kathy says:

    Chauvin’s appeal seems more pointless now that he’s been indicted on Federal charges, along with the other officers present at the scene.

  66. CSK says:

    I had read somewhere that the Feds had plans to arrest him on the courthouse steps if he was acquitted on the state charges.

  67. Kathy says:


    That might have been the plan, but I find that overall life is not as dramatic as the movies.

    Reality is harder to stage.

  68. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I know there are a few people here who have trans children, and I expect that there are many more who have trans friends and/or associates (I’m in the latter group). Please forgive me in advance if something I say here comes across as offensive.

    Acceptance of LGB people (and persons) had a relatively small hurdle to overcome*. They only had to get past the idea that love can’t be restricted. A lot of people fall into the group of “I don’t like it, but they’re not hurting anyone”.

    Transsexuals trigger a completely different part of the brain.

    I grew up in a small Wisconsin town in the 70’s & 80’s. We told “gay jokes” as kids, mostly because we’d never really been exposed to anyone who was openly gay**. But we grew and understood that it’s just a different type of love.

    It’s easy to understand homosexuality. It can be couched in the language of love and attraction. We can all understand love and attraction, so it’s a small adjustment to include homosexual or bisexual identities.

    This is where what I want to say is going to get awkward.

    I have a few colleagues and acquaintances who are transgender. When I learn this, I file it away the same way I would the fact that someone is Jewish or vegan or allergic to strawberries. But a small part of my brain says “That’s wrong!”–at a level slightly below “pineapple on pizza” is wrong.

    I will never understand feeling “I’m in the wrong body”. I simply can’t comprehend it. I believe it exists, and I believe that it’s a real and powerful thing for people. I can accept that it’s real and support those who want or need to change, but…. I can’t comprehend it.

    This is going to be the biggest obstacle in the advancement of transgender rights. Gay rights were easy in comparison. Everyone can understand “I love this person that people say I shouldn’t”. Hell, that’s Romeo & Juliet.

    We need to get transgender acceptance to the same point that homosexual acceptance is (and I’d like to see both of those at 100%), but… I don’t know how we can get there.


    * I’m not saying it was easy.

    ** That sounds inappropriate, but I can’t think of how else to say it.

  69. Teve says:

    @Jax: it’s perverse. The corporations ruining the planet by selling carbon are rewarded with billions of Ameros with which to buy politicians to protect their carbon-selling.

  70. Kylopod says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Transsexuals trigger a completely different part of the brain.

    I disagree. I think the psychological underpinnings of homophobia and transphobia are closely related–they both reflect a fear of a breakdown between the barriers separating male from female. You mentioned gay jokes. Look at how so much of it is based on the idea that gay men aren’t “real men” and lesbians aren’t real women. You see these attitudes even among people who are relatively tolerant. It’s also why one of the things that has aided acceptance of gays in our culture is famous gay people who don’t fit the stereotype of the effete gay man or the butch lesbian. Hatred of trans people is just another expression of many of those same fears. I do agree that getting people to accept trans is harder–but that’s only because they reflect a deeper challenge to people’s notion of that barrier.

  71. Teve says:

    We humans have a strong negative emotional reaction to unpleasant smells. I wonder why that is. Pleasant smells do not elicit such strong reactions.

    Survival for sure. Stinking chicken can indicate salmonella. Stinking feces can indicate cholera. Etc.

  72. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: I think it even applies to what I mentioned before, that some people find even fresh eggs and fish unpleasant. Those are both foods that rot easily.

  73. Jax says:

    @Teve: Then the first thing they cut from the state budget is education and social safety net funding “Woops, we just don’t have the money, you effing freeloader grandparents and single mothers! And you kids just need to stay dumb enough to think we’re on your side.”

    It’s quite the nefarious plan, really. Ruin the planet and make sure the populace is too under-educated to care.