Thursday, February 06, 2014
Piers Morgan undergoes reality reassignment surgery on his own show
Don't try this at home.
There he is. Piers, who, after indiscriminately lavishing approval on anyone who questions or confounds traditional gender roles, ended up personum non gratum (not correct Latin, but it looks so stylishly neuter) with the very transgendered person whose trans, it turns out, he had insensitively gendered just the day before.
Piers had apparently identified Janet Mock, the author of Redefining Realness as having had a sex change operation and as someone who, having had a sex change operation and now being a woman, had once been a man.
Which, in my simplistic mind, is kinda why you have a sex change operation: To change your sex.
But Mock, Piers found out over the succeeding 24 hours, was miffed at Piers for this inappropriate language and had Tweeted about it, causing him (the one who was still a him) to be "viciously abused" on Twitter by the "trangender community" for having "misgendered trans women." So he got her back on his show to find out why she was angry at him simply for pointing out that she had once been a he, and why, since she had written a whole book about this very important pronoun change, she (who had once been a he) was mad at him―particularly since he supported her and went to the trouble of promoting her and her book on his show just the previous day.
There then ensued a surreal discussion in which Piers asked why, after he had so dutifully prostrated himself before the postmodern sexual totem, she was mad him for saying that she had had a sex change operation when, in fact, as she had pointed out in her book, she had had one.
So Mock goes on to lament the fact that, for transgendered people, "so much of our lives are open to dissection and illegitimacy and investigation."
Now I'm thinking at this point that if you don't want your life as a "transgendered" person to be dissected and investigated, it's probably not a good idea to write a book about your life as a transgendered person and sell it to the public so they can dissect and investigate your life. But there must be some part of Redefining Realness I don't get.
So I continue watching.
Mock went on making absolutely no sense at all and saying that transgendered people should be "given space to tell their own story," at which point Piers exploded, pointing out that that's why "I had you on the show, that's why I promoted your book, that's why I told people to go read the **** thing!"
And I'm sorry, but at this point I have to press the pause button on my TV remote which I am having trouble manipulating because I am laughing so hard. After regaining my composure, I press the "play" button.
"What did I do wrong?" Piers asked, to which Mock responded that he had said that she was a "woman who had formerly been a man." So Piers asked why that would upset her when she had written an article in Marie Clair magazine titled, "I was Born a Boy," to which Mock responded that she disagreed with the article.
Which she wrote.
I have to pause it again to fully appropriate this thought. That and to clean the part of my drink that I have spilled on myself. I am past amusement and wondering what reaction I should be having to what I am hearing.
I press play again.
So Mock explained that, although she had been born a boy, she had actually not been born. As a boy. She had been born as who she was. And then had defined herself when she was a young girl. And she had defined herself as who she was, which was the way she was born (which was a boy).
Which was before she had gender reassignment surgery which, she argued, didn't change her sex.
Now what I want for my birthday this year is a picture of the look on Piers Morgans face when Mock explained this. I want to put it up on the wall in my office so I can see it at every possible opportunity because of the intense pleasure it will give me.
So Mock proceeded to explain that we all have a sex that is assigned at birth which "none of us has control over." I guess proof of this statement is that you can't even change it with a sex change operation.
Now I'm thinking at this point that this discussion (which, by the way, should be outlawed as soon as possible) should be about over. Where could it possibly go from here? The question is quickly answered.
"Do you dispute that you were born a boy?" asks Piers.
"I was born," she says, "a baby ..."
I pause my TV again. But this time so that I can rewind it and hear her say this again. Several times.
I let it play.
"...who was assigned 'male' at birth. I did not identify or live my life as a boy. As soon as I had enough agency in my life to grow up, I became who I am ... That's a lot of nuance and it's hard to communicate that in 30 seconds or even in a 140-character tweet."
You can say that again.
Piers goes back to the article that made Mock famous: The "I Was Born a Boy" article in Marie Claire. The one that has her name on the byline and is written in the first person. The article, points out Piers, "repeatedly in your own words says you were born a boy."
"I did not write that article Piers."
This statement is spoken by Mock on Piers Morgan's show. In the first person. I'm wondering if she really said it. Possibly, she might deny it later. But only by undergoing truth reassignment surgery.
Anything is possible.
So Piers, still completely confused by what he has heard, explains that he is supportive of gay rights and same-sex marriage rights and transgender rights and every cause involving any exotic sexual practice he can think of and that he supports Mock and everything she stands for, at which point, after a few more comments by Mock bringing into question exactly what planet she is from, the interview ends.
I am at this point lying on the floor looking at the TV upside down, in the hope that it will make more sense that way.
After a commercial break, there ensues a discussion involving a panel of people of unknown expertise to advise Piers on whether Mock, who wrote a book about changing her sex, was a man who became a woman.
They cannot decide.
The show ends. I turn the TV off. Still on the floor, I am pondering the uncertainty of the universe and questioning whether anything is real. After a while everything stops spinning and I am able to stand up.
I solace myself with the thought that, tomorrow, everything will return to normal and Piers will return to his usual programming in which he tells gun rights advocates that he can't agree with them because they don't make any sense.