The Joker Solution

In the movie.

The Joker is not a person, but a position.

Batman goes to Arkham and finds that the Joker he met in the last movie is escaped.  A new Joker (and my dream is Joseph Gordon-Levitt) shows up.  Batman, in fact, everyone can plainly see that that is not the same man who was the Joker last time.  But there is never any explanation in the movie world for the switch.  Or potential switches in the future.

A Little Bit More about What’s Going on in Memphis

I see people joking (morbidly, of course) about how transgendered women should run for their lives from Memphis and I just want to again reiterate a couple of things.  One, trangendered women who work as prostitues in Memphis are obviously in pretty dire straits.  Most people, if they had their choice, would not be working in a place where someone (or more than one) are running around shooting at women like you and where the police beat you up if you arrive at the police station.  I’m sure everyone in Memphis knows the risks, so if those women are still working in Memphis, we have to respect that they believe that this is their best option.

We know that Duanna Johnson, for instance, was trying desperately to leave town and that her family was trying desperately to come up with the money to get her out of town.

So, believe me, I understand the urge to shout “Flee, flee!” but let’s be honest about whether that’s actually possible for some of these women.

Second, these women do the work they do in Memphis because there is a market for it.  Let me just put this bluntly.  People purchase time with transgender prostitutes specifically because they want to have a sexual encounter with a transgender prostitute.  That’s the draw, the marketing angle so to speak.  For lack of a better way to put this, trangender prostitutes aren’t trying to “fool” clients into believing that they’re born biological woman.  Everyone knows what’s going on.

I want to stress that second point because the psychopathic assholes who attack and sometimes kill transgendered women are counting on YOUR discomfort to make it easier for the psychopath to get away with his crime unpunished.  In the specific instances in Memphis, the asshole(s) are counting on the fact that most people in Memphis seem to be uncomfortable with “gays” (using the term loosely and in a way I disagree with) and, in their opinion, men who fuck people who have an XY chromosome arrangement are gay.  They’re counting on the fact that many black people act like homosexuality is something that just doesn’t happen in their community.  They’re counting on our whole society’s belief that there’s something weird and unnatural about being transgendered.  And they’re especially counting on our belief that transgendered people are somehow trying to “fool” people and that, in pretending to be something they aren’t, they are being dishonest to such an extent that anyone who finds out about the deception would naturally be repulsed, maybe even to the point of harming the person doing the deceiving.

I’m clearly not agreeing with any of these things.  And I clearly believe that all of them are, at the least, problematic and wrong positions to hold.  I’m just saying that the people who prey on transgendered people, especially the women in Memphis, count on the fact that YOU believe some or all of those things so that they can get away with preying on the people they want to prey on.

Like I said, men who search out these women to have sex with are doing so deliberately.  The subset of those men who react towards those women violently aren’t doing so because they’re surprised and repulsed.  They’re doing so because they know they can count on us believing that they would, of course, be surprised and repulsed, and so they will face little or no repercussions because of their actions.

And, frankly, in Tennessee?  It seems like they won’t.

Two Quickies

1.  I laughed so hard at this I think I ruptured something.  This is exactly what would happen at my house.

2.  If you are not reading Cabbage Babble’s lunchtime lists, you are sorely missing out.  Every day there’s something great there.  Weirdly enough, I also play the drums and sing in The Joiners and work in the book publishing industry and I also wish I knew how to tap-dance and yet I have never, ever once met this Cabbage Babble person.  I’m starting to think she might not really be in The Joiners, but perhaps in their cover band, the Joyners.  Just saying.

Doing The Work of Racists

Both Southern Beale and Sean Braisted are talking about how the guy who has donated $20,000 to helping pass English-only here in Nashville is a white nationalist.

To which I can only say “Surprise, surprise, surprise.”  Of course.  If this whole thing doesn’t have the stink of “The whole world must accomodate me, but I do not have to accomodate it, because I am THE WHITE MAN!!!!!” on it, I just don’t know what does.

I’m not the world’s most travellingist person and the only other language I even know more than four words in is spoken only by people who live in a place I will never, in my lifetime, get to (unless things rapidly change with Cuba, I guess, before all the old-schoolers have died off).  But I’ve been to places where people spoke primarily French and Spanish and I have to tell you, I would have been up shit creek if there weren’t signs also in English.

But more importantly, I probably wouldn’t have gone to those places.  And I went to those places on business.  But I don’t believe the conferences I was attending would have occured if the people throwing the conferences couldn’t count on non-native speakers being able to navigate the way from the airport to the hotels and then to the conference centers.

And that’s a thousand or two people who descended on those cities during non-touristy times of the year bringing with them their expense accounts.

I know that one of those conferences will never come to Tennessee because of our perceived hostility to Hispanics (and I’m guessing that the other never will both because of that and our love of oppressing gay people).  Now, you can argue that English-only is only a city-level thing and that individual businesses will still be able to do what they want.  But I’m telling you that it’s perceived by people outside the state as being so hostile to non-English speakers that they do not want to come to our city AND SPEND MONEY.

So let’s talk about white nationalism just for a minute because I want to tell you as clearly as I can that this is how it works.  White racists not only don’t mind if non-whites suffer, white racists expect most white people (and yes, including other racists) to sacrifice their own well-being for the cause.

Consider little Adolf Hitler Campbell.  You think he signed up for a name that pretty much guarantees his options in life are severely limited?  Oh well, tough shit, Dolphie, we’ve all got to sacrifice for the Great White Way.  You think John Tanton gives two shits abou the jobs that might not come here–I mean, seriously, how are we going to say “Welcome, foreign investors” when we’re also so clearly saying “But fuck you and your funny-sounding friends”?

Don’t believe me?  Ask yourself this.  Why is the Nissan headquarters in Cool Springs and not Nashville?  There’s no place in Davidson county to put an office campus?  Or is it more likely that Williamson County has sold itself to the world as an affluent, understanding place where the right kinds of people (with the right kinds of money) can settle in easily?

The whole principal of white nationalism works under a two-fold belief.  One is that white people are obviously better than everyone else (and thus, when we remove ourselves from the world and the world falls apart without our great leadership, we can have some great “I told you so” moment) and that we are so important and that the world cannot make do without us that the world can be forced to play by our rules–in this case, doing business with the city in only “our” language.

We are not so important that the world has to play by our rules.  Nashville can go ahead and adopt English-only and, yes, it’s true that some people in the city will suffer as intended–because they don’t speak English–but the real suffering is going to be financially for all of us, because people who don’t want to be associated with a white nationalist agenda will not do business with us.

There is no great victory in that.