I was born in Atlanta, Georgia so I’m used to people like Jim Goad spouting their invective as if anyone needed to hear what hate sounded like, as if anyone for a moment forgot how the tones of fear pinch off the supply of blood to the brain, as if anyone needed to be reminded how we must daily struggle to find new ways to tolerate atavistic knuckle-draggers and find more energy to muster the strength to stomach their tests of our patience to grant them their God-given right to have their opinions. And the Big G is usually who they trot out as the one who gifted them with the mental faculties they use to spew their bullshit hate-mongering. Ironic. But sometimes, it just gets so hard to take the higher road. Why, Jim? Why do you feel the need to stand in the way of progress and social consideration? Is it really so terrible that we try to make a world where everyone feels welcome at the table?
Now, I’m just assuming you’re a God-fearing man since you’re from Stone Mountain, Georgia and you bring up God in your essay on the Spaying of the Queen’s English. Did you ever read the Bible? I mean, like, past the war-torn, animal-sacrificing, vengeful and angry God parts that are in the Old Testament? Because by the time you get to the New Testament the message really shifts to a focus on loving your neighbor, turning the other cheek, following in the model of the Good Samaritan, etc. It seems you missed this part. Now, if I’m wrong in assuming you’re a good Christian man, so be it.
I could also point out that you seem to be a man of logic. Your language indicates that you prefer a cleanliness of thought, a certain level of disciplined cogency, and a parsimonious attitude of effort so that no time, money or energy be wasted on things you see as foolish or trivial. Yet, this is probably where I think your argument runs afoul of your logic. Words do matter. Words matter a lot. Words shape realities. Words start wars. Words give birth to religions, philosophies, economic models, constitutions, and marriages. Words last lifetimes. Words outlast us all. “In the beginning there was the Word.” Etc., etc., etc.
I can’t quite understand how you seem to be arguing both for and against the power and primacy of words. You seem to be suggesting that words both matter and don’t matter. They matter enough that you spend your time arranging them into cogent meanings. Yet you seem to think they don’t matter enough for taxpayers to spend money to make sure the words on state documents reflect the reality of the taxpayers. Which is it, Jim? Do words matter to you or not? If they do matter, then you should easily understand why to others they might have equal weight and have equal power. If they don’t matter, then why waste your time writing them down and getting your feathers all in a ruffle over the fact culturally we’re attempting to use language to make everyone under the sun feel equally important?
I’m not transgender. I’m not speaking for the transgender community. But I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let someone call them “self-mutilating freaks.” That’s more than just offensive to them, it’s offensive to anyone with a conscience, anyone who has a shred of decency in their body. The amount of pain and confusion a transgender person goes through is exceedingly traumatizing (and I can only assume this from personal testimonials I’ve heard since this isn’t my personal experience). Why do you feel the need to use your intelligence to inflict further pain and shame just because you feel the world you know and love is being stripped away from your clutches? If anything, you might best be able to identify with a transgender person’s feelings that the world doesn’t have a place for them, as you seem to feel the world is no longer maintaining a place where you feel comfortable. You and the transgender community share far more in common than you might imagine, Jim.
And it’s not just them that you seem ready to attack. You call Sarah Lawrence a “chick.” You seem to be a smart guy, so I can assume you know a chick is a baby chicken, not a commonly acceptable term to refer to a woman. Which means you just want to be petty and mean. Is this really how you wish to spend your time on Earth? Do you enjoy being a troll? Do you feel that your reason for being, your legacy you wish to leave behind is a history of “stirring people up?” If you haven’t noticed people don’t really need to be stirred up as much as they need insights, enlightenment, and reasons to put in the effort to be their best possible selves. You contradict each and every one of those aims when you spew your hatemongering into the world.
I wish I could suggest we ignore you and see you as a scared little boy who’s mad that the world isn’t the way it once was. But you’re mean and hurtful and rather than attack you, I hope that someday soon you realize change is the way of the world. It fells the mighty oak and it raises the boy into a man with equal aplomb. Rather than focus on the oak tree of the past you once loved and how it pains you to see it about to fall, perhaps find a way to grow from a boy into a man and stop throwing intellectual temper tantrums just because you’re not getting your way, and put that incredible brain of yours to good use articulating ways for us all to be better rather than find clever ways to make people feel badly. You’re better than that, Jim.