Person I know was attending recently a mandatory training session at a well known university. Session was led by trainers not themselves employees of the university, folks who self-identified as experts. Before the training got underway the experts asked of each attendee their “preferred pronoun.”
According to my contact, there were no mismatches between each person’s sex and their admitted English pronoun. Odd, though: nobody rebelled against the intrusion. Anyway, as regular readers know, I would have announced, “When speaking to me, it’s ‘your majesty’; when speaking of me, it’s ‘his majesty’.” After the nervous laughter subsided I would have insisted I was in earnest.
Regular readers also no longer wonder why Old Briggs is so unemployable. But ignore that painful subject and consider what it means to pretend to be what you are not, and then ask whether you can be what you are not.
Some Englishmen in 1940 self-identified, to those who would ask, as Germans. These spies were anxious not to be identified as who they truly were. Many spies, especially those who were double-agents, later reported that at times they were confused as to who they really were. Marlon Brando self-identified, at times, as Vito Corleone, an olive oil importer. Brando was a “method actor”, a technique which calls for the actor to give himself over to the character he will play so that he “becomes” that character.
Add to that list con men, politicians, used car salesmen, college administrators, and so forth, persons living lives pretending to be something other than what they are.
Well, there’s the answer. We can’t use pretending without acknowledging an underlying reality. You can’t pretend if there is no truth; the word would be without any sense. An English spy is a spy because he isn’t a German. An actor is not the characters he plays but is an actor. And everybody knows these things.
Shaun King and Rachel Dolezal are white but self-identify as black. Now either there is a real human state of being black or there isn’t. If there is, then obviously King and Dolezal, since they are white, are pretending or delusional. If there is no such human state of being black, if race is as some insist a “social construction”, then King and Dolezal, since they are part of society and thus help construct it, are black if they say they are. But then, since there is no such human state of being black, they are not black because there is no such thing. Either way, they are pretending or delusional.
The person pictured above (in the middle) self-identifies as a 6-year-old girl. I don’t think we need to argue whether such a state as being 6-years-old exists, but there might be some evidence required to prove that there is such as state as being female, but that is only because too many people believe what they’re taught at modern universities. Skip that. The person is in fact a 52-year-old man. So he too is either pretending or delusional.
The same thus holds for those men who, with the help of surgery and cosmetics or whatever, self-identify as women. Since being female is a true state, and these men are not female, they are either pretending or delusional.
Now we used to put people who claimed to be Napoleon and the like, and who were not pretending but who were delusional, in quiet spots until they either got over their delusions or until they were judged to be of no harm to themselves or others. Some of those who were harmless were even indulged in their delusions, at times, but those doing the indulging knew the truth; which is to say, the indulgent were pretending. The indulgent were not themselves delusional. Of course, some innocent folks were sometimes fooled into thinking the delusional person was actually who the delusional person claimed to be. Not everybody has the time or energy to check the claims of every delusional persson. But when and if the fooled persons discovered the truth, they either became indulgent or the spoke the truth.
The key is this: in times of yore we did not require, by force of law, regulation, or custom, indulgence. But now there are such demands. If you refuse to share in another’s delusion, or even if you refuse to play in somebody’s game of pretend, it is you who are “troubled.” It is you who must undergo counseling or who are in need of those who self-identify as mental health professionals.
Since there are actual states of being this-many-years-old, being black, being male, being the yak king, and the like, it means the law must force people to deny reality; to make, in effect, reality illegal. In other words, we are forcing ourselves into a state of mass delusion or make believe.