Skip to main content

South Park is way ahead of the news

Now people seem to be working to figure out the difference between Caitlyn Jenner and Rachel Dolezal. 

Caitlyn felt like a woman trapped in a man's body, and is now "out" as a woman, with the help of surgery, drugs, and a world-famous photographer.

Rachel appears to have "felt" black, estranged from her Causasian family, and trapped in the body you see in this photo -- the carrot-haired and quite light-skinned woman in the center of the back row.

Are the two cases similar or different in terms of what judgment (if any) rational observers can make about them? If they are different, is either of them to be judged to have done anything dishonest or even imprudent?

Well, let me not weigh in on such matters. I argue about no one's identity except my own -- and not that either, if I can help it. I simply observe that the animated sitcom SOUTH PARK covered this ground long before it was news. The character Kyle Broflovski, a short, athletically inept, Jewish kid FELT like a tall, black, skilled basketball player, and enlisted the assistance of a surgeon in bringing that about. 

The episode (which aired in March 2005) also featured the sex change operation of Mr/Mrs Garrison. And the effort of Kyle's father to transform himself into a dolphin. 


Popular posts from this blog

Great Chain of Being

One of the points that Lovejoy makes in the book of that title I mentioned last week is the importance, in the Neo-Platonist conceptions and in the later development of the "chain of being" metaphor, of what he calls the principle of plenitude. This is the underlying notion that everything that can exist must exist, that creation would not be possible at all were it to leave gaps.

The value of this idea for a certain type of theodicy is clear enough.

This caused theological difficulties when these ideas were absorbed into Christianity.  I'll quote a bit of what Lovejoy has to say about those difficulties:

"For that conception, when taken over into Christianity, had to be accommodated to very different principles, drawn from other sources, which forbade its literal interpretation; to carry it through to what seemed to be its necessary implications was to be sure of falling into one theological pitfall or another."

The big pitfalls were: determinism on the on…

A Story About Coleridge

This is a quote from a memoir by Dorothy Wordsworth, reflecting on a trip she took with two famous poets, her brother, William Wordsworth, and their similarly gifted companion, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

We sat upon a bench, placed for the sake of one of these views, whence we looked down upon the waterfall, and over the open country ... A lady and gentleman, more expeditious tourists than ourselves, came to the spot; they left us at the seat, and we found them again at another station above the Falls. Coleridge, who is always good-natured enough to enter into conversation with anybody whom he meets in his way, began to talk with the gentleman, who observed that it was a majestic waterfall. Coleridge was delighted with the accuracy of the epithet, particularly as he had been settling in his own mind the precise meaning of the words grand, majestic, sublime, etc., and had discussed the subject with William at some length the day before. “Yes, sir,” says Coleridge, “it is a majestic wate…