On Hugging Trans People: Essay up at Catapult

How did “hug a trans person” become a meme? Why do people I hardly know praise me for my “bravery”? How did I acquire shady, semi-legal testosterone back in ’01? And what does all this have to do with the Spanish conquest of the Americas???

I explore these questions, and more, in a new essay for Catapult. Read it here. (If writers wrote their own headlines, this one would be: “Seriously. Don’t Hug Me.”)

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“Why Creative People Are Eccentric”

diego rivera mural from chipancingo. no reason really. but hey, rivera was creative, right? maybe even...eccentric?

Why Creative People Are Eccentric, the article is called,  http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-unleashed-mind and it closes with “well, let’s treat the freaks nice–if they’re productive–because they make things for our society.” Tzvetan Todorov says that sciencism, as a belief system, is more frightening than racism, because no one brags about being racist-ly minded and yet science often is used to construct elaborate and seemingly inarguable sets of data to maintain and reinforce oppressive frameworks. These days, of course, science operates less overtly. No one publishes papers on phrenology in the Scientific American anymore (thank god). But, the article above, is an example of the banal reinforcements that science, especially branches of science like neurology, psychology, genetics, and social sciences like anthropology (see Trinh T. Minh-ha for more on the latter), provide for modes of thinking that present a normal-ized Us against a diagnosable Them.

In the SA story, the author, Shelley Carson, points out that creative people often have eccentric thinking, fanciful beliefs, unusual perceptual experiences…believing their work is transmitted to them by other entities, dressing or behaving counter to cultural norms, etc. I don’t feel like analyzing the article, really, so i’m not working that hard here. But reading this, it’s not difficult to trace the line from here backwards to the more straightforward Western-Christian debunking of “heathen” beliefs, prominent during the hundreds of years of old-style colonial invasion (to be differentiated I suppose from current era colonial invasion, when god is mentioned less than “Freedom”, leading naturally to the question, “from what?”) based on the facts and proofs of the Christian bible. Read More