Friday, November 21, 2008

Day Of Remembrance

Photo Downloaded from linked site, of Lawrence King

Memorializing Those Transgendered People

Who have been murdered in the United States and elsewhere around the world.

The Picture above is Lawence King, who was shot to death by a classmate because he liked to wear women's clothes. He was 15.

Many of the assualts, rapes, and murders of transgendered people go either unreported, or if reported, go uninvestigated. Police officers don't like looking into things that make them feel all icky inside.

Elsewhere, the amazing Earl Pomerantz writes in his voice of Uncle Grumpy on the subject of race. It also applies here. Like the discovery of Black Swans, centuries and millenia of custom and presumption can be overturned in an instant by a simple willingness to notice the obvious.

I will reproduce the short essay in full here. I encourage you to examine the writings of Mr. Pomerantz. He is one of the finest television writers who ever worked. You only think you do not know his writing. He wrote or created many of the classic shows. A brief listing: The Cosby Show, Major Dad, M*A*S*H*, and many, many others.

In today's post he writes:

Here we go, boys and girls. It’s Uncle Grumpy – on race. Please, always remember. It’s Uncle Grumpy talking. Not me.

Uncle Grumpy. Not me.


My grandmother was left-handed. She told me how, when she was a kid, the teachers would strap her left hand to her side, and force her to write with her right hand.

Why did they do that? Because the culture of that time believed that left-handed people were biologically inferior. Worse than inferior. They were bad. Do you know what the Latin word for “left” is?


Left-handed people were considered to be sinister. Why? It was never explained.

Wherever you looked, the interests of left-handed people were ruthlessly ignored. The world belonged to the right-handed, and everything was tailored to their needs. Scissors. Can openers. Notebooks. (The coiled wire rubbed on the lefty’s arm.)

Negative messages insinuated themselves into the language. You’ve heard of a “left-handed” compliment? That is not a good compliment. “Southpaw?” I don’t know its derivation, but just the sound of it – “southpaw” – it doesn’t make you wish you’d been born one. In the reactionary culture of baseball, left-handed pitchers were viewed as unstable, bordering on crazy.

Left-handed children were stamped as a lower category of humanity, suffering treatment consistent with their status. Throughout in the culture, the message was crystal clear:

Right-handed. Good.

Left-handed. Bad.

At some point, maybe science had something to do with it, maybe folks just came to their senses, there was a liberating change. The “handedness” issue became irrelevant. It was as if a light had been turned on. “That stuff is all wrong!” People thought back on the demonization of the left-handed and it was like,

“What were we thinking?”

Finally they had realized the obvious: “Handedness” was something you were born with. Valuing one hand as being superior to the other hand was ridiculous.

After centuries of misbehavior resulting from a mistaken belief, the concept of “handedness” came to be seen as what it had always been:

A meaningless distinction.

I thought you were talking about race, Uncle Grumpy.

Uncle Grumpy?


The California Supreme Court moved swiftly Wednesday to tackle the latest legal showdown over gay marriage, agreeing to consider three lawsuits that challenge the legality of Proposition 8's abolition of same-sex weddings.

At the same time, the state's high court rejected a bid to put Proposition 8 on hold while the legal struggle unfolds, postponing indefinitely any new wedding vows for gay and lesbian couples. The Supreme Court indicated it is likely to rule by June.

Uncle Grumpy?
I thought you were talking about race?