That being said, it was unfair for him to not let Sam Seder or Emma Vigeland get a word in edgewise
I really hated reliving the majority report episode. Seder and Vigeland demonstrated such bad faith and it’s depressing that accuracy or truth don’t matter as long as you’re on “the right side” on any topic. I wish Jesse would avoid these lunatics, or at least meet them on level playing fields (not call-in shows with bad audio, being cut off etc). They didn’t even make An attempt to make contact with Jesse’s own writing.
That show was so chaotic and so belligerent, it gave me anxiety like no other fracas on the internet. Seder and Vigeland were a total mess, railroading Jesse the whole time. They clearly do not understand the science at all. Jesse does and they were not about to let him get a word in edgewise because of this vast disparity in knowledge.
As far as what teachers should be disclosing to parents, I think the outing of a gay kid to their parents is not their job because 1) that kid can come out to their parents on their terms and on their own schedule and 2) being gay isn't necessarily going to impact their school performance or interfere with anyone else's.
The trans thing feels different for a number of reasons, specifically, because you don't really have to take any action when a kid comes out to you as gay. When a kid comes out as trans, there's a torrent of changes that teachers, the administration and fellow classmates end up making: pronouns, name changes, deciding which locker room they change in for PE, etc. I don't think anyone should be doing that without getting the parents involved.
Also, homosexuality isn't a mental disorder (or heavily linked to mental disorders or behavioral problems). There seems to be a much larger correlation with mental health problems and gender identity issues.
Emma sounded like she was having a panic attack. Sam sounded like he needed to be back in his safe space where I presume no one disagrees with him or even talks until he's finished shouting. Which he does not seem to ever do.
That was horrible. Just horrible. Please never trick me into listening to anything like that ever again.
Social transition at school without the parent’s knowledge is not a harmless step. This is why Erica Anderson (herself trans) filed an affidavit in a recent case on this topic arguing strongly that it should not be done as a blanket policy.
People are stereotyping non-affirming parents as dangerous, hateful bigots. When in reality, many of us *just know our kids*. We know them well, we love them well, we care for them well, we take them to thoughtful non-ideologically biased therapists, we make them dinner every night and drive them to school every morning, we talk openly and honestly and lovingly with them each and everyday. And we, the parents, will be there for them, picking up the pieces long after the schools staff that chose to be ally cheerleaders are far in the rearview mirror.
I do not appreciate having to play a game of 3D chess with the school on this issue. We have a meeting on Monday. If a few school staff continue to presume that my 14 yo autistic son saying “I don’t know” means he’s trans and needs to be affirmed as such and socially transitioned at school, we will be at an impasse. We will either not be able to send our son (who has complex Special Education needs) to school at all or we will have to…time will tell. We have sued them before and won, we may have to get litigious again. I don’t like it but as the shirt says:
I identify as: a threat
my pronouns are: fuck around and find out.
I’m reading the comments about teachers revealing their students’ gender identity and it seems there is a misunderstanding about what goes on in schools. In the PNW, where I teach, and I’m sure it’s the same in other blue areas, teachers are actively eliciting this information from students. We are encouraged to ask for names and pronouns at the start of the term (this is middle and high school) and then to ask if parents know. Students aren’t secretly confiding in us, we are creating a norm where they are encouraged to create a new persona at school. At my previous school, 10% of my students changed their names and pronouns. The schools are absolutely fueling this trend and then keeping it from parents.
Props to Jesse for going on the show - even though you can tell in his voice he has major regrets, he did what he said he would do.
Anti-props to Emma for bailing on live air and having her cronies back her up - that was a serious maskoff moment and was truly pathetic.
Props to Moose for being the goodest boy.
Can I go back to pretending the Majority Report doesn't exist?
Jesse and Katie,
I just saw this reader comment in NYTimes:
New JerseySept. 8
Shout out to the Blocked and Reported podcast, which broke this story back in June.
Journalists Katie Herzog and Jesse Singal (who has written for the NYT) do excellent work on Blocked and Reported. I highly recommend it.
About this Michael Powell article, which may be his last for NYTimes as he is moving to The Atlantic:
I find that programs like the Majority Report are targeted at the lowest common denominator of people interested in politics. This is the worst of sports fandom for people who are too nerdy for sports but not nerdy enough to actually care about the nitty gritty of public policy, or truly invested enough in politics to care about how change occurs, why people believe what they believe (outside of "stupidity" and/or "evil"), or how to defend your beliefs to people who challenge them. It's the same modality and mentality that the worst Fox News programming employs. There is little intellectual curiosity or willingness to hear out other points of view in good faith. Little willingness to seriously or honestly engage with complexity or disagreement, little willingness to challenge their own priors or their viewers' priors. These are not serious political minds. They are emblematic of the worst tendencies of contemporary American politics: tribalism, ego, grandstanding, stubbornness, anti-intellectualism, smugness, image-obsession.
I admire Jesse's optimism in trying to seriously engage with them, but I can't say I'm especially surprised that they conducted themselves so poorly. After all, when that's the image that one has created for oneself, one which has earned one good money and an echo chamber of adoring fans, why change?
How the heck did Jesse stay so composed during that... Well done! My heart rate and blood pressure rose during those clips. Agreed on the importance of nudging people in the margins.
Jesse you truly win the award for having the most bizarre Hatred:Reasonableness ratio on the internet.
If I didn’t see proof of it on Twitter back when I read your article in 2018, I truly wouldn’t believe it. I’ve showed many reasonable people I know various writings of yours, sometimes people agree, sometimes disagree, then I always go “yeah this guy is bombarded with death threats” they’re just baffled.
The people who view you as a demon have truly lost the plot, but as you said, it’s important to engage with them sometimes, not to change then but to shine a light for they’re audience to see how absolutely bonkers this is.
God…Sam Sedar is so pretentious, listening to him is torturous
First they came for the fat honky dicks and I said nothing because I did not have a fat honky dick
I've thought about this a little more, now my blood pressure has returned to normal. I don't know their standard demeanour - I'm just assuming from the clips that they're self-righteous, preachy know-nothing bellends, but I'm sure there are good people on both sides - so I wonder how much of their obnoxiousness was just reactive because they were caught so unprepared. Sam clearly didn't expect Jesse to actually call in.
I said earlier that Emma sounded like she was having a mental health event, and to me that's how a revision panic might feel if I too had spent the preceding year calling the examiner an arsehole on the Internet, only to find him in my house asking me to explain the cocks I'd drawn on the exam paper.
None of this is any kind of excuse.
Sam Seder sounds like a drunk uncle badgering his wife about some marital dispute, Twitter is clearly a font of discord and madness, and I question my understanding of people when I try to explain why anyone would subscribe to Majority Report
It’s too bad Jesse is no longer torturing people at Abu Ghraib cause he could have used the audio of his appearance on TMR to torment his captives.
My ears are still bleeding.