Laurie Toby Edison

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No Surprises

Marlene says:

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted in a while. I’m back from my hiatus and will be as semi-regular as ever.

So Adam Sandler told a stupid transphobic joke. Like the title says, no surprise. I don’t want to dignify it by talking about it, but here I am. I definitely won’t link to it. It just makes me tired. He joked that he had a transgender housekeeper because that way there would be another penis in the house. Ha. I get it. Trans women have penises. That’s hysterical.

The sad thing is that I’m not angry or outraged. I know the world is like that. I know there are a zillion mediocre comedians in the world who use trans folks as punchlines. Mediocre comedians have been coaxing smiles at the expense of marginalized people as long as… ever, probably.

What bugs me, more than his juvenile transphobic crap, is the idea that we are expected to smile at the idea that he feels alone and alienated amongst his family because none of them are men (accepting his cis supremacist assumption that penis equals man). We all are supposed to find it heartwarming that he thinks of his daughters as other. The level of casual misogyny implicit in his attitude isn’t new or special, but it’s getting to me today. Death by paper cuts.

I’m angry that two little girls are growing up with that.

I’m angry at how unsurprised I am at being the butt of a joke.


4 Responses to “No Surprises”

  1. Dan Says:

    In addition to everything you said, which I agree with, I assume he’s also implying that housekeepers need to look like women? If there really was a need for another penis why not hire a cis-male housekeeper?

  2. Lori S. Says:

    Don’t forget the assumption that housekeeper = female.

  3. Lynne Murray Says:

    Marlene, you make some intriguing points. Clearly, we’re both meditating on offensive humor this week. Thinking more than laughing and that’s fer sure. I’m in the “thinking about it” stage and planning to post about fat jokes next week and I found myself contemplating your post as well and not to compare oppressions (unhelpful) but to compare categories of offensive jokes. I may be wrong but it seems to me that fat jokes are one step above “U-R-fat, har-har” playground humor, while jokes at transgender people are “edgy” and probably thought of as sophisticated by those who tell them. For some reason this reminds me of the Glee censoring Rocky Horror lyrics episode last fall — http://www.tvtonight.com.au/2010/11/glaad-slaps-glee-over-rocky-horror.html
    Just thinking out loud here.

  4. Marlene Says:

    Lynne, I agree that folks who tell tranny jokes might think they are somehow more sophisticated, but the humor boils down to the same level as the “you are fat har har” schoolyard shit. Tranny jokes are seen as more sophisticated because trans people are (perceived as) more exotic than fat people.

    Lori S, yes definitely.

    Dan, just to be clear, trans women don’t “look like women” trans women ARE women.

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