In New Zealand, “Transgender” Wins Weightlifting Contest, River Becomes Person

In New Zealand, “Transgender” Wins Weightlifting Contest, River Becomes Person:

Now I ask you, is it strange in a country where a woman pretending to be a man wins a weight-lifting contest, that that country would declare a river to be a person?

Wait. It might have been a man pretending to be a woman. You can never tell in these “transgender” stories which part of Reality has been affronted.

What we do know is that the New Zealand Herald reported a “transgender” person named Hubbard won a weight-lifting competition, besting the second-place finisher by hosting about 40 additional pounds.

Now this was either a man pretending to be a woman, and therefore this is a story that a man lifted more weight than a woman, which falls under the Dog-Bites-Man category. Or it was a woman pretending to be a man, in which case it must have been a woman juiced on various drugs, like anabolic steroids and testosterone, to make her competitive with real men. And that makes it a story of performance-enhancing legal-illegal drug use.

Both stories are depressing.

As is the story that New Zealand’s Parliament has recognized the Whanganui River as a legal person. Yes, the river, also called Te Awa Tupua, is to be treated the same as hot dog hawkers and college professors. According to BioEdge:

Riverine personhood is an untested concept in a Western legal system. According to the government, Te Awa Tupua will now have its own legal personality with all the corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a legal person. Lawyers say that the river cannot vote and cannot be charged with homicide if people drown in it. But it will have to pay taxes, if liable. The gender of the river is unspecified at the moment.

How this riverine person will pay taxes is something to be watched. Maybe in the spirit of Finders-Keepers, the river will offer up rings and other jewelry lost by actual people while swimming? But will swimming be allowed? You can’t swim in an actual person, it unfortunately cannot go without saying, but can you swim in a riverine person?

That brings up the natural question: How will we know Mr—or Miss—Whanganui’s opinion about swimming? We don’t even know his or her’s preferred “gender”. Obviously, like in Hubbard’s case, people are free to call themselves whatever “gender” they wish. Thinking anything else is rank bigotry. But we at least have the advantage of asking Hubbard’s opinion whether she is a he or he is a she, or whatever. We can assume Whanganui gurgles, as all rivers do, but who speaks river and thus who can tell us about Whanganui preferred gender?


If you are a man or woman or in-between, you can click here and read the rest.


  1. RobR

    I can understand that River cannot be charged with murder, that makes perfect sense, but what if River insists a man born a man is always a man and a woman born a woman is always a woman? Hmmmm, will they remove all the dikes?

  2. Dave

    Sorry to take the low hanging fruit here, but obviously the river is gender fluid…

  3. Well, if ‘money is speech,’ and ‘corporations are people,’ and lines on a map create a space with ‘states rights,’ then why not all this other stuff? The stuff you guys complain about is just petty and small, with little to no negative consequences, and having really nothing at all to do with you personally. The stuff I mentioned? Deeply corrupted government, corporations discriminating in the public sphere, 600,000 Americans fighting to death because crooked the morally bankrupt leaders of of some states wanted to do as they please – all consequences of that. Seems to me you guys have your priorities a little messed up.


  4. Ye Olde Statistician

    Jersey does not realize that corporations have been recognized as legal persons since the middle ages, and that this was in fact what enabled the chartering of corporations in the first place. That is, the debts and liabilities of a corporation like Harvard or the New York Times lies upon the corporate entity and not upon the professors and students or reporters and editors that belong to it. It means that the investors, be they housewives or pension funds, who invest in the corporation cannot be hoovered of their life savings to pay off the debts of that corporation, but only the assets actually owned by the corporation itself can be auctioned off to pay those debts can be disposed of.

    The idea of a corporate entity was one of the genius inventions of the West that stemmed from the invention of polyphony in monkish choirs: individuals working-together, each doing his own thing, but the Whole accomplishing something more than the Parts. They have the same ancestry as symphony orchestras and team sports.

    Among the earliest corporate entities were universities, guilds, free towns, professional societies. They were chartered, and self-governing, with jurisdiction. Some, like universities and guilds, had their own militias and their own courts of law.

    Somehow or other, before the West lost its collective mind, these entities were recognized as legal “persons” without being confused with “people.” That sort of sophistry was left to the wrack and ruin of the Late Modern Age.

  5. Jim Fedako

    JMJ —

    You really are the voice of the vanguard, marching through the ether with placards reading, “Down with the ten capitalist ministers!,” and “All power to the soviets!”

    You might actually have something to offer if you dropped your slogans for substance. And you might learn something as well.

  6. Gary in Erko

    Two rivers in India have also been declared persons, the Ganges and the Yamuna. Where New Zealand solved representation of the Whanganui River via a form of trusteeship, India has taken a different path. The two rivers are classed as under age minors requiring guardians. Wonder whether that will need to be altered in a few years when the youthful rivers age a little more.

  7. Milton Hathaway

    JMJ – You say that the States that make up the US are just lines on a map. I think I know why liberals think this way. In my youth, I was very liberal, and I was so confident that I knew the answers to the biggest problems facing the country that I was absolutely sure the best place to implement those solutions was at the Federal level. That way everyone in the country would benefit, and there wouldn’t be a mishmash of local laws screwing things up.

    But with a little maturity I realized I was fooling myself. I wasn’t actually that sure of my prescribed solutions, but I didn’t like the idea of people having the freedom to compete for the best solution. Though deep-down I believed my solutions were best, I didn’t know how to show that other than forcing them on the whole country, and then things would surely improve. That attitude was so incredibly arrogant that now I have a hard to putting myself back in that frame of mind. But I was very young and immature. What’s your excuse?

    What you don’t appear to understand is that the States are at the very heart of American Exceptionalism. This is the freedom for people to make the decisions most impactful to them at the lowest level practical, and suffer the consequences or reap the rewards on as local a basis as possible. Good decisions will spread, bad decisions will be learned-from.

    Let me guess – you hate the term “American Exceptionalism”. In my ideal world, you haters would move to another country that is better aligned with your views of how the world should work, and quit trying to break our country.

    If your ideas are that great, band together with your neighbors and work to implement them at the local level. If your ideas can’t compete, they deserve to wither away in the dustbin of history.

  8. Steve E

    Since this is a blog about logic and statistics, one can only conclude that, since JMJ posted after two other posts (three if you count Briggs’ main post), the preceding posts must be the “you guys” referenced. Yet upon reading JMJ’s post nothing xe* says relates at all to the previous two (three?) posts.

    Others have concluded that JMJ is an algorithm. After reading xirs* comments on the last several posts of our host, I am inclined to agree.

    * I don’t, as a rule, condone the use of made up pronouns; in the case of JMJ (an artificial intelligence–being kind with the use of the word intelligence), I think it is wholly appropriate if not called for.

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