Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Trans Springsteen

Were I to show up at one of Springsteen's mansions self-identifying as Springsteen, and, after being removed by security who denied me my transspringsteen rights, to sue the avowed "real" Springsteen, would it make among the masses some funny or head-shaking news? Certainly. Hint of individual insanity, hint of collective insanity, hint of just desserts, hint of power dictating acceptable bounds of discourse, hint of Poe's law, hint of celebrity...many modern flavors.

At what point, though, would any of it stop being clever? Say I identified as a third gender and wanted a restroom requirement, a la the A.D.A., such that every commercial building everywhere had to spend countless millions adding third-gender restrooms. Or, to follow that line further, I identified as a wheelchair pilot, and started demanding taxpayer subsidized municipal transportation to and from the adult bookstore from every municipality through which I passed? We sort of take it for granted now that we have to accommodate this stuff; when will it go too far? Mental illness seems to dictate the boundaries, e.g., our willingness to believe that others actually believe. If someone behaves passionately enough, we can conclude she really does think she's a man, and we're willing to accept that, but not that she believes she's a passenger pigeon.

Tautological civilization, or society, is, like humans, remarkably resilient. The unrealities that we've accepted, we have made into realities, most invisible to many, many invisible to most. The reformatting of later minds into the normatization of whatever is perhaps stupefying from a distance, perhaps vile in proximity, but scientistically, predictable in extremis. Hypothetical future generations might accept identification as passenger pigeons and yet be more technologically advanced than we, their cave-dwellerish predecessors. The rhetorical gymnastics necessary to make the trains run on time--or whatever your pudding is: the supermarket shelves being stocked, the fooders materializing emotional porno at the press of a mirrorgraphic button, et cetera--in such an otherkin world are implausible to us, much as today's normatives outstrip the plausible narratives of the not-too-distant past.

Through it all, a silent majority of points on society's scattered Venn diagram--a creature of overlapping normative idiocies, an increasingly small number of which necessitate confinement for practical purposes--will be in progressive awe at what is going on in their time, or perhaps even for some larger amount of time. Larger, for the human lifespan; not so the planetary, nor the stellar.

We fear the apocalypse because we've convinced ourselves it hasn't happened yet. We wonder if we would be, or should be, up to the challenge. Instead, it seems the ongoing succession of apocalypses is something we survive quite well. Perhaps those even provide the stuff upon which we thrive--not by the definition of "thrive" which we would now prefer, as locally-based as it is, but one of a different sort.

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