Saturday, January 18, 2014

Please Note

The first story I linked to on Friday was a detective story, to me, about a woman who had essentially fabricated her entire educational and professional background in order to lend credence to a product (a putter) that she was promoting.

In the course of the story, the author revealed that the woman was transgender. That became a larger part of the story, by its conclusion.

While I read the story, I felt squirmy in a few places. I didn't really understand why the person being transgender mattered to the story. The author was using the transgender status of the person as an anchor point for the "nothing is as it appears" narrative, but it wasn't germane--the fraudulent background (and how that background was used to attract investors) was unrelated to being transgender.

Someone who I highly respect--Thom Moyles--e-mailed today about the story, and over the course of a few e-mails, he explained my discomfort far better than I could:
I think you've pin-pointed it, that he was using the transgender status as the anchor and the problem with that is we've reached a pivot point in society where being transgender is no longer as strange and exotic and dangerous-seeming as it once did when it was entirely on the periphery. It is enough of those things that I think it struck Hannan as a natural anchor when instead, it should have been a side-issue -- additionally, he seems to be treating it rather crudely, without thinking of how having a reporter essentially threatening to "reveal" things would feel to somebody who was transgendered. I can see why it would be tempting to tie it into a greater narrative of "deception", however; had the same article been written about somebody who was homosexual, I think the callousness of his behavior would be even more obvious.

Like I said, Thom explains it far better than I could. So I regret linking to that article, and I removed it from the post.

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