Photo: Gavin McInnes at Super Deluxe’s Make Funny Not War event at SXSW 2008, by Matthew Schuler.
In my recent article on the Alt-Right, I tried to be as inclusive as possible. It’s a broad movement of dissident conservatives and libertarians, not just a bunch of neo-Nazi skinheads as Hillary portrays us. I admit that there are those within the movement who say “you’re not Alt-Right unless…” for example, you must support a white-majority America. Sorry, guys, but on the Internet, there are no gatekeepers. Nobody has the right to determine what the Alt-Right is or isn’t.
While we’re on that topic, one person I accidentally omitted from my list was the co-founder of Vice Magazine, Canadian-expat punk rocker and comedian Gavin McInnes. He considers himself to be an anarchist rather than Alt-Right (I myself am both of those things) but people place him there on the spectrum because of his edgy, anti-PC humor.
McInnes is a favorite of mine. Being by nature a Midwestern nicey-nice, I find offensive humor particularly hilarious. I don’t care whether it’s Howard Stern picking on Baba Booey, Parker and Stone mocking Mormonism, Triumph insulting nerds, or the Wayans Brothers goofing on everybody. McInnes, like Donald Trump, is crude, crass and tells it like he sees it.
While doing on-line research on McInnes for this article, I was surprised by the amount of venom and hatred people have for the man. There were dozens of spiteful screeds by Social Justice Warriors gloating about the fact that he had been booted from his position at the Rooster Ad Agency because of a particularly offensive article he’d posted on August 12th. What could he have said to finally cross the line?
You may not be aware of this, but in the Bizarro universe of Social Justice, there is a pecking order of official victims. That’s why Jesse Jackson could refer to NYC as Hymietown and not get drummed out of polite society, while Eddie Murphy caught hell for making an AIDS joke. It turned out that the uber-powerful group McInnes had offended was transsexuals. Thinking back to this year’s heated bathroom controversies, I realized that the “T” in LGBT was now at the top of the victim pyramid.
Disclosure and disclaimer: in my participation in the “Out Loud” theater group sponsored by Phoenix Pride, I’ve become acquainted with several transsexuals, and I’ve become quite sympathetic to their condition. One of the pieces we staged was a very moving poem about a drag queen who becomes a real woman only in the afterworld. Though I couldn’t care less what strangers think of me, I don’t wish to offend anyone I consider to be a friend. I hope that if any of them read this, they don’t interpret it as a personal attack.
McInnes’ article, “Transphobia is Perfectly Natural,” appeared on a website called Thought Catalog. In response to numerous complaints, they took the article down, replacing it with a scathing critique. As a libertarian, I believe that it’s their right to do so. But the name Thought Catalog implies impartiality. It’s all well and good to preface the article with a “content warning,” and to include an opposing view. But I’m a grown-up and this is not Iran or China. Don’t tell me what I can and can’t read, assholes.
By this point, I had to read this uber-offensive article. I found a repost of it here. As I expected, there’s plenty of crude, graphic language. McInnes sees transsexualism as a form of mental illness and deplores how progressives support them mutilating themselves in a futile quest for happiness. He adds that he doesn’t know any transsexuals over 40 because they so frequently commit suicide. The politically correct rejoinder would be that they do so because of the cruel intolerance of society, which is why meanies like McInnes must be silenced. I imagine that this evil article alone probably caused seven or eight troubled teens to kill themselves.
Pardon my obvious sarcasm, but McInnes has the right to speak his mind, and he’s not responsible for anyone’s self-hatred. Remaking society is a fruitless task. Rather than demanding that some authority figure make the bad man stop, it’s a million times more effective to support LGBT groups who provide counseling services. I know from personal experience that basing your self-worth on other peoples’ approval is a mistake; you have to accept yourself first.
Speaking of psychology, the banned article seems like a bit of a confession on McInnes’ part. He is quite frank about the discomfort the idea of gender surgery causes him, a squeamishness that I share. Yes, people own their own bodies and I believe they should be free to do whatever they want with them, up to and including suicide. But the thought of amputating healthy tissue gives me the creeps. Heck, I’m even opposed to circumcision.
Like McInnes, I worry about transsexuals’ mental health. In this PC atmosphere which glorifies gender reassignment surgery, some people may see it as a magical cure for their unhappiness. What happens if the happiness doesn’t come, and they’re left with only regret? For some people, the transition may be an irreversible mistake.
In summary, I think McInnes sincerely believes what he’s saying, and that he says it out of genuine concern for the transgender community. Just be gay, he urges; you don’t need to mutilate yourselves. You may accuse him of being ignorant and projecting his hangups on people who really, really want to change their sex. But if would be wrong to call him a hater, and you can’t blame him for anybody’s self-destructive behavior.