Saturday, March 17, 2018

Transgender and Ricky Gervais

I've been dealing with a recent back and forth with people regarding Ricky Gervais' special on Netflix called Humanity. The complaint of this vocal minority revolves around content that's present at around the 8 minute mark involving Caitlyn Jenner. People have deemed this particular aspect of his special to be transphobic.

Before we get into this I'm going to explain why there are trans people as well as illustrate some of the hardships trans people face because intelligent design is a myth.

First one needs to have a grasp regarding the difference between biological sex and gender. Think of biological sex as a binary function, with some exceptions and gender as various dials that are tuned into particular settings. For about one percent of the population, what the dials say and what biology is, are in conflict.

What usually manifests from this, is what's known as gender dysphoria. Depending on the person it can come in episodic waves of discomfort, malaise and anxiety or be a constant presence. There are multiple personal accounts on YouTube describing a variety of individual experience on this. It's the direct result of that misalignment regarding gender and biology leaving someone feeling as if they're the opposite sex or somewhere in between.

Living with gender dysphoria is extremely difficult, as well as everything else that comes with that and transitioning. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has trans people amongst its statistics demonstrating that trans men have an attempted suicide rate of 46% and trans women 42%. One thing it also mentions is the desperate need for more research in this area as the rates are astonishing.

It goes on to mention stressors and the rates at which people experiencing these, attempt suicide. Alienation from one's family, poverty, being bullied, being physically or sexually assaulted, being refused treatment... there's just so many. And all of which increases the range of attempted suicide to 50-60%+

The urgency of understanding and providing solutions to this problem is immediate and that should be everyone's goal. Increased funding regarding psychological study, accessible remedies for people transitioning and societal policies that help protect a vulnerable minority.

For some reason though, people are turning their attention to Ricky Gervais and his comedy routine. This, baffles me. For one, all of the stressors I mentioned didn't factor in "attended a comedy performance" or "received an offensive joke on Netflix". Perhaps one would look to expand said psychological studies to include such a statistical impact? Perhaps not though because that's getting a bit silly and doesn't address the problem. At all.

And that's ultimately what I want here. I want a clear, focused and immediate resolution to this problem. First and foremost that requires communicating the problem to other human beings. And I myself, wasn't privy to all this until I had people in my life helping me understand it and making me aware of it. And comedy routines, didn't come up amongst the hardships.

So, we want to provide messaging to the masses and understanding to alleviate some of the social stressors, provide awareness and with that have action taken. So let's go at Ricky Gervais? This is not only way off the mark but it's completely self-defeating and I'll illustrate why.

Ricky Gervais is a comedian but  not only that, a highly successful comedian. Do you know why? Because he took the first step of going on stage and failing. This is something every comedian does. They go on stage and they suck. And the most insane of the lot, go up on stage and do it again. It's a form of real time peer review.

With this process evolves an adeptness at being able to tap into the human emotion of laughter using only the spoken word. This is what makes it an art form and, with every art form, what's taboo is up to the artist. In this case someone who's become incredibly wealthy via the demand of this service. Stating this is not fallacious as this isn't common belief. It's behaviour and emotion driven.

And that's why it's self defeating. What people are essentially fighting. Laughter. Not just any laughter. The laughter that comes from precise delivery of words by a seasoned professional. And everyone who's ever tried to take the position of basically telling people to "stop laughing", find themselves losing that battle. And the reason for this is they're going after an emotion and the people looking to provoke that emotion.

That's the intent and it's far too pure for nuance when in the hands and delivered by a peer reviewed comedian. And to frame it any other way is just going to get people to make the following evaluation. Laughter vs your asinine interpretation of a joke. Laughter will win, every single time. And do you know what loses in all this? The very cause you're trying to fight for.

Because not only are people now still ill informed, they've been told to basically stop laughing, at a comedian. And Ricky even predicted this behaviour to the point where he injected it into his routine. This concept of being offended to the point where you'll try to dictate what constitutes a comedic performance. Yeah, it's in there!

And if you're offended at one thing, there's vast supply of material in this Netflix special that you lot aren't pouncing on. What about the part where he'd invite Hitler to his party over a girl with nut allergies? You all remember Hitler don't you? The guy who revolutionised oven engineering for all humanity and has similar ideas as to some of the people involved in the women's march movement?

Yeah, maybe that needs addressing before you have a bit of a go at Ricky. Not sure the swastika goes really well with pink. Goes great with ovens though!

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