So I was pleased to see that my suggestion back in April that Bruce Jenner should be the Republican presidential nominee is gathering steam. For one thing, in her new identity, she's way hotter than Hillary:
Across the Twittersphere Caitlyn was worshipped as a 'goddess', a 'goddess in human form', a 'goddess made manifest on Earth'. 'Caitlyn Jenner could f*cking stab me right now and leave me for dead and I'd die f*cking overjoyed we are not WORTHY OF THIS GODDESS', said one trans tweeter, and she wasn't joking.
In the media, the talk is of how Caitlyn and her iconic likeness might give an adrenalin shot to humanity itself. A writer for the Guardian describes Caitlyn as a 'queen' and instructs us to 'bow down, bitches', telling us her icon on the front of Vanity Fair is 'life-affirming'. Treating Caitlyn as a kind of Christ figure, only in a push-up bra rather than smock, Ellen DeGeneres says this goddess brings 'hope for the world', and we should all try to be 'as brave as Caitlyn'. Susan Sarandon celebrated Bruce/Caitlyn's mysterious 'rebirth' while Demi Moore thanked him/her for sharing with humanity 'the gift of your beautiful authentic self'. A writer for the Huff Post says the name Caitlyn means 'pure' – 'what a perfect meaning, right?' Truly, yes, for St Caitlyn, reborn to educate us all, is most pure.
Caitlyn's emergence from her second closet - coming out as a Republican - seems to have been forgiven by all the showbiz gals.
Alas, Ellen and Demi and Susan may be a little behind the curve here. I mentioned a while back how hard it is keeping au courant with identity politics:
I was amused to see that the annual "V Day" production [of The Vagina Monologues] at Mount Holyoke College has been canceled because of its "extremely narrow perspective on what it means to be a woman". Hence, this Guardian headline: "Vagina Monologues playwright: 'It never said a woman is someone with a vagina'..." The revolution devours its own: Less than 20 years after Eve Ensler "empowered" women by "reclaiming" their vaginas, it seems a woman doesn't need a vagina at all, and it's totally cisgenderist to suggest you're not a woman if you're hung like a horse.
But already we're moving on. Personally, if I were to undergo "gender reassignment", I would wish to emerge as a beautiful, desirable womanly woman. But Marc Lamont Hill, Distinguished Professor of African-American Studies at Morehouse College and host of "Our World with Black Enterprise", will have no truck with that:
Between the Vanity Fair spread and "she's so pretty" convos, we've smuggled in the same old cis/Eurocentric narratives about womanhood.
Scaramouche's trans poster girl may be more to Professor Lamont Hill's taste. But, for what it's worth, Gabriel Paul agreed with him:
Miss Ann Thrope (possibly not her real name) responded:
@marclamonthill so true. Money bought that beauty - plain and simple. It's not that way for less advantaged trans ppl.
So ObamaCare ought to cover Vanity Fair-level industrial-strength airbrushing by mandating not just gender reassignment but totally smokin' gender reassignment. But wait a minute, isn't referring to "less advantaged trans ppl" buying into the cis/Eurocentric white-privilege narrative of denying transpeople the right to transition into dumpy unattractive women?
Fortunately, Juliana showed up to point out that the African-American Studies guy had committed the ultimate act of cisgenderist sexism:
@marclamonthill She chose to do the spread. Sorry, we cis folks don't get to tell trans people how to present themselves to the world.
You can get whiplash trying to follow the strictures of identity politics. Like I said, the GOP should nominate Miss Jenner, just to mess with Democrat heads.
~Speaking of Eurocentrism, even the Europeans aren't that Eurocentric anymore - in the sense that Europe has a growing shortage of Europeans. Yesterday's Telegraph:
Germany's birth rate has collapsed to the lowest level in the world and its workforce will start plunging at a faster rate than Japan's by the early 2020s, seriously threatening the long-term viability of Europe's leading economy...
The German government expects the population to shrink from 81m to 67m by 2060 as depressed pockets of the former East Germany go into "decline spirals" where shops, doctors' practices, and public transport start to shut down, causing yet more people to leave in a vicious circle.
A number of small towns in Saxony, Brandenburg and Pomerania have begun to contemplate plans for gradual "run-off" and ultimate closure, a once unthinkable prospect.
Why is this even news? Almost a decade ago, a guy called Mark Steyn wrote a book called America Alone (personally autographed copies of which are exclusively available, etc, etc) in which he said everything the Telegraph piece said yesterday. Those East German towns? See page 114:
Almost every issue facing the European Union – from immigration rates to crippling state pension liabilities – has at its heart the same root cause: a huge lack of babies. Every day you get ever more poignant glimpses of the Euro-future, such as it is. One can talk airily about being flushed down the toilet of history, but even that's easier said than done. In eastern Germany, rural communities are dying, and one consequence is that village sewer systems are having a tough time adjusting to the lack of use. Populations have fallen so dramatically there are too few people flushing to keep the flow of waste moving. Traditionally, government infrastructure expenditure arises from increased demand. In this case, the sewer lines are having to be narrowed at great cost in order to cope with dramatically decreased demand.
The Telegraph quotes the German government's own figures predicting a population decrease from 81 million now to 67 million by 2060. In America Alone, I suggested the population would fall to 38 million by the end of the century. Given that it is in the nature of demographic death spirals to accelerate once you're below 1.3 children per couple, my number may be an underestimate. And when you consider that in most German urban areas the only demographic energy now is Muslim, those 38 million turn-of-the-century "Germans" will be posterity's rebuke to the Nuremberg Laws. As I wrote in 2006:
Americans take for granted all the "it's about the future of all our children" hooey that would ring so hollow in a European election. In the 2005 German campaign, voters were offered what would be regarded in the US as a statistically improbable choice: a childless man (Herr Schroeder) vs a childless woman (Frau Merkel). Statist Europe signed on to Hillary Rodham Clinton's alleged African proverb - "It takes a village to raise a child" – only to discover they got it backwards: on the Continent, the lack of children will raze the village. And most of the villagers still refuse to recognize the contradictions: You can't breed at the lethargic rate of most Europeans and then bitch and whine about letting the Turks into the European Union. Demographically, they're the kids you couldn't be bothered having.
Lest you think this an exaggeration, look at the graph accompanying the Telegraph piece, contrasingt Germany and Japan's demographic decline with France's ostensibly healthier fertility rate. The reason for that is that France has the highest Muslim population in western Europe, so it has a bright future of crowded maternity wards full of babies called Mohammed. And all this was known a decade ago: - when, already, 30 per cent of German women and 40 per cent of university graduates were childless, just like Angela Merkel. On those numbers you're living in a present-tense culture: no matter how great you are, you're a civilizational boy-band; a generation later, someone else will be there, and no one will be singing your songs.
As long-time readers will remember, The Economist, Maclean's and most of the rest of the "mainstream" media dismissed my book as "alarmist" - and okay, this passage is a wee bit lurid:
Europe by the end of this century will be a continent after the neutron bomb: the grand buildings will still be standing but the people who built them will be gone. By the next century, German will be spoken only at Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels and Goering's Monday night poker game in Hell.
But the point is: It's not wrong. in 2006, Germany already had a shrinking and aging population, and potentially catastrophic welfare liabilities ...and no politician who wished to remain electorally viable was willing to do anything about it. It's not the total number of people that matters, it's the age distribution: that decline from 81 to 67 million will wind up skewing the population very geezerish. But, again, this was all known a decade ago. I pointed out the percentage of the population under the age of 15 - way up front on page 7:
Spain and Germany have 14 per cent, the United Kingdom 18 per cent, the United States 21 per cent - and Saudi Arabia has 39 per cent, Pakistan 40 per cent and Yemen 47 per cent.
When you've that many surplus young people, they're going to go somewhere else. Some of the African numbers are even higher, which is why there's that endless flotilla of boats across the Mediterranean. Because when a teeming shanty town is next door to a not-terribly-gated community of under-occupied mansions, it would be unreasonable to expect otherwise.
So Europe is "transitioning" almost as fast as Bruce Jenner. And, happily for Marc Lamont Hill, not in the least bit Eurocentrically.
~It's hardly my place to comment on this column, but readers may find it of interest.