Finding Yourself Caught In Caitlyn Drama — and Laughing at It
For a few reasons, I regret not getting this article in the day before Dawn Ennis's interview with Caitlyn Jenner appeared in The Advocate. Firstly, I was going to talk about the cultural chaos Jenner generates. Secondly, I wasn’t expecting to be mentioned in the same article that includes her fondness for anti-LGBT zealot/presidential candidate Ted Cruz, which I had known about for months because of the phone call mentioned in Dawn's piece. So, hey, work with what you got.
I won’t lie, I so love it every time Caitlyn Jenner is in the news, and especially when her TV show is on, because the reaction all over the media is, quite frankly, funny as hell. Not because of the scathing critique of her views, values, beliefs, and wealth, but because she has tapped in to that foaming-at-the-mouth, blind rage that Donald Trump has with frightened white men. Oh, I don’t mean with the same types of people as Donnie T. and with the same purpose, I mean with the progressive liberal Twittergensia and bloggerati. It’s truly awe-inspiring to see the same people who talk of community, respect, and compassion for LGBTBBQLMNOP people not merely want to break out the pitchforks and torches, but want to launch her out of a catapult and under the wheels of a Greyhound bus.
Let me just say this before you hit up my twitter to scream at me for being a Caitist (Caitimite?), I’ve only had one hour-long talk with Caitlyn; she doesn’t pay me anything, she hasn’t promised me a spot on her show, nor have I looked the other way when she deliberately miscounts on a par 4 at the golf course. I get no benefit from defending her and I’m not even doing that. Like I said earlier, when she spoke with me on the phone and brought up the Ted Cruz Ambassador Plenipotentiary idea, I had a mini-stroke from holding back my reaction. It’s so wrong, so misguided, so naive, and I’m sure Jenny Boylan probably chews her apart on the show for thinking like that.
In all reality, I’m probably going to be screamed at on Twitter or unilaterally blocked by someone I’ve never heard of; I’m gonna get called a traitor to trans women (never trans men, because no one ever mentions them), and called some pretty terrible things. Even with me saying this, there are going to be more than enough folks who are going to still think I’m getting compensated somehow by this. OK, fine, she bought me Five Guys and let me eat all the fries they put in the bottom of the bag, happy?
Getting back to the point, just the insane reactions Jenner gets from people is essentially the stereotype of the social justice warrior validated in every form, and it’s so cringe-worthy and beautiful at the same time. It’s as if people forget that they’re flipping out over the opinions and outlook of a 66-year-old WASP lady. Yeah, her opinions on women and gender roles are going to be dated as hell. Of course she is going to be out of touch with the latest cultural values. Without a doubt she is going to say or do things that are plain wrong and out of touch, that just cause you to sigh and try to decide where the hell to begin unpacking it.
I truly believe there is no maliciousness in Caitlyn's heart at all, but it’s so much like having Thanksgiving dinner with your grandmother from that Saturday Night Live Adele skit: "I saw two transgenders at the airport. They actually looked really pretty!" You know it’s well-intended, but it’s so backward and awkward. Yet, instead of smiling politely and reminding her that no one speaks like that anymore, you leap from your chair, overturning the yams, and denounce her as a member of the Klan. And as your houseguest, instead of sitting there in awkward silence at your overreaction, I have fallen out of my chair, choking on my laughter at not only the awkwardness of granny’s comments, but of your absolutely insane shout of “J’accuse!”
So many people seem to fall all over themselves to abandon any idea of a transgender "community" in their rush to complain about every little thing she says or does that you could build a five hundred foot human pyramid of people all accusing each other of punching down. Instead of having the patience of a saint like Jenny Boylan, 20 new hateful hashtags are born and a Feministing article gets its wings. Anyone who even seems to apologize or pardon Jenner gets thrown in the cart to ride to the guillotine with her. I guess tolerance is only for people they agree with or can’t milk Facebook likes out of.
So many articles will be written over the next few weeks as Jenner says another awkward thing. So much anger and spite will float through the Internet and, inevitably, your social media feed troughs, you’ll grow to hate it if you already don’t. No joke, when I pitched this, my editor said he was “Caitlyned out,” but only acquiesced because her show was starting up again. I get it too. We’re sick to death of hearing about her in every little think piece. So many people try to get their writing career started by writing the “Great American I Hate Caitlyn Jenner” article. TMZ will be able to pay all its interns in gold off the ad revenue. Huffpo Queer Voices and Advocate editors will weep whenever their inbox has 40 “Pitch for an article critical of Caitlyn Jenner” emails. It’s only just beginning folks, and if she gets a third season it won’t stop. Brace yourselves: Caitlyn is coming … back, this week on E!
And I’m gonna love every minute of the world's reactions.
AMANDA KERRI is an Oklahoma City-based comedian and writer.