My Blog Week: December 27 to January 2
A Word on the Week
Who Goes There?
The last week of 2020 seems to have been dominated by fakes.
Early on, the internet was obsessed with whether Hilaria Baldwin was allowed to identify as Spanish. (Most commenters were on the side of, “Who cares?”) Then Alaska Airlines announced a ban on “emotional support” animals. Today, the Washington Post produced a taped conversation between the Lingering President and the Georgia secretary of state, a combo of wheedling and threatening persistently fended off, in pursuit of a fake election win.
We know that social rewards have a topsy-turvy effect on people’s common sense. Many disadvantages under this phenomenon’s influence become exploitable goods. Unheralded minority-status citizens may suffer from profiling and policy-driven downward mobility, but in the world of fifteen-minute celebrity, “having a story” gets you past the gatekeeper. We’ve seen white women pretend to be black (Rachel Dolezal, and this past September, the self-outed Jessica Krug). People lie about PTSD from invented military service; quite regularly, people raise money on fake cancer claims.
Sometimes fake identities expose biases. Poet Michael Derrick Hudson, in 2015 won inclusion in the Best American Poetry anthology while using a Chinese-sounding pen name. A study in 2017 found discrimination by employers against black or Latino-sounding names on resumes comparable to ones submitted with white-sounding names, which received more callbacks. Years ago, in the 1990s, a writer for the TV show Felicity pretended to be a teenager, and for a time, Riley Weston enjoyed a type of attention lavished on only young achievers, another Achilles’ heel moment for biases among the super-woke set. (A few years ago, older writers had a spate of activism against “Best Under Forty” lists, and the discriminatory message of such “celebrations”.)
As to support animals, possibly some passengers were finding therapists to write either blanket permissions, or indulgent ones. It’s hard to imagine a conscientious professional recommending a boa constrictor or pot-bellied pig specifically, as opposed to a cat or dog. The sounder advice ought to go something like: “Do you feel that you’re self-styling a little, that you may have chosen the snake to stand out from others, which is a type of attention-seeking? If you create a barrier between yourself and others with an eccentric presentation, you are not meeting them at their level; therefore you are not improving your quality of socialization. And poor socialization is a driver of irrational fears…”
Then, we always see a percentage of fakers who resist the truth when they have no rational shield left against it; when they are so well-exposed that they can’t produce any objective proof to support the fakery, but their egos can’t guide them to what seems an easy path to tread: “I did something wrong; I apologize”. Donald Trump is his own category of faker, and his supporters are mostly not persistent in pushing for honorable dealings.
On Monday, a new Totem-Maker, the Prince recalling his love lost and gained. Tuesday, Marjorie Bowen’s The Sword Decides!, with a confrontation between Prince Andreas and courtier San Severino; Wednesday, “a heart”, a poem from the Jumping Off series. Thursday, part twenty-four of Shine!, by Mathilde Alanic, with Annie deciding on a vacation and research jaunt. Friday, Hammersmith, chapter two, Hogben meeting Vic B. Mack, and worrying at the specter of war. Saturday, part fifteen of “Celebrated”, Petra sharing some of her childhood with Tom.
Images on my posts often have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.
My Blog Week: December 27 to January 2