There is a time when a girl just has to speak up. Now, you know me, readers. War, famine, politics all leave me unmoved. I don't even look up from filing my nails. But bad writing, and using bad writing as a platform to spew one's teensy thoughts into the world as though they were carved on stone tablets, well, that gets my goat.
Let's talk about Mitch Albom. He writes for the Detroit Free Press newspaper and has won many awards (mostly for writing about sports). I won't mention his having been censured by his employers for plagiarism. He has written several (schmaltzy, presumptuous) books. One of them was subtitled "The Meaning Of Life." Such a humble man. But you've got to hand it to him. He waits patiently for someone more interesting than he is to die, so he can bend their bones into a self-serving book. "Tuesday's With Morrie" and the new one about the late Detroit Tigers' broadcaster Ernie Harwell. Mitch not only claims to know the meaning of life, he also knows what happens when you die. Wow! Not bad for someone who has spent most of his life hanging around locker rooms and looking up at everybody. He's so small and delicate, I'm surprised he didn't get asked to dance. Oops! Was that a lame-brained idiotic comment I just made? Which brings me to my real subject...
Some of you may have heard about baby Storm, born to a Toronto couple who have decided to keep their baby's gender under wraps for the time being. Unorthodox to be sure, but this has made them targets for an angry, sneering lynch mob (kind of like gay people who blunder into the path of Reverend Phelps!). More on Storm in a minute.
Mitch Albom now writes a Sunday column on the front of the "News & Views" section of the Free Press, ( http://www.freep.com ) which is the next section after section A. Flip once, and there's Mitch. Now, in Detroit we have a zillion things someone could express their views about. There is unemployment, the housing crisis, racism, corruption in city government, and a public school system that is disastrously underfunded and floundering. So, at what does Mitch decide to point his sword-like pen today? At baby Storm and his family.
The column is a gold mine...of easy generalizations and facile bullshit. Quoth Mitch: "Meanwhile, Storm's two older brothers, Jazz, 5, and Kio, 2 -- are being raised without formal schooling and taught to choose whatever behavior they like. Jazz, according to the Star, dresses in pink, paints his nails and wears a stud in his ear. This, we are to believe, is his 'choice'. Of course, Mom and Dad made the choice to buy the nail polish, the clothes and the stud. What happens if the child points to a chain saw? They get him that, too?"
Hmmm. What does it mean that Mitch Albom equates the danger of nail polish for a five year old, with that of a chain saw? Scared that Jazz will never make it to a professional locker room, Mitch? With that stud in his ear? Oh wait. Look around. Studs on those studs. Oops! Still, far better that Jazz be treated in a more traditional manner, as you espouse. Shame the shit out of him. Beat the crap out of him. Scorn him, insult him, yes, disown him. All these are better than studs or nail polish! And all of these are done all the time. Better to engender self-hatred, isolation and, often, suicide in our children than to put gender and gender roles aside. You accuse Storm's family of making gender everything. No, Mitch. That would be you doing that.
Mitch also says: "It's called parenting. If the child, later in life, prefers football to lipstick, or boxer shorts to dresses, or one day asks a doctor to mangle its private parts in an effort to be something else, it still will be unable to deny that it was born one way."
Well, Mitch. How stunningly transphobic and simple. I capitulate. Fairies should just suck it up and be a man. Transsexuals should ignore their foolish impulses and be a man. Women, farm animals and tractors should all just be a man. Sister Sally and her kitten as well!
One last quibble, before I take up weight lifting and belching the alphabet. Many intersexed babies (babies born with dual or ambiguous genitals) are summarily operated on, the decision of their gender made for them, irreversibly, before they have the chance to show who they are, or say what they want. In fact, this was routine until recently. If you want to talk about mangling and butchery, there it is.
But back to baby Storm, and then I'll hush. Look at the picture of Storm and Jazz. They are clearly a threat! Their parents are obvious monsters! Canadian authorities need to step in and force them to enlist in the army or something!
Good grief. Isn't there enough real trouble in the world? Why does this bother you so much, Mitch? Maybe you are just an asshat. After all, you're the one who says a person is what they appear to be, and that's that. So here's your hat. There's the door. Please go away and let the rest of us live our lives.