Updated: Apr 14
The Oscars used to be about movies, but that was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.
This year, the real theme was supposed to be a protest of a law that doesn't exist - the "Don't Say Gay" Bill. Instead, it was about
"Don't Say J" - Will.
Obviously, that was when Will Smith marched up to Chris Rock, slapped him, swaggered back to his seat and then - in very explicit terms and repeated for emphasis - told Rock not to utter his wife Jada's name.
Much of this has been covered ad nauseum.
So, we will ignore the irony of nth wave feminists defending Smith based on some concept that sounds a lot like chivalry.
Or, the new mantra that "words are violence" so actual violence is not really an escalation. And the scary implications that has for free speech.
And, we will not attempt the sickening thought experiment of imagining what would have happened if the person doing what Will Smith did was someone other than Will Smith.
Instead, we will use Will as a cautionary tale.
Gettin jiggy wit it
As boys grow up, almost all of them want to be rich and famous and good-looking and popular, especially with girls. Specifically, they want to be either music artists or movie stars or athletes.
The overwhelming majority of guys accomplish none of those things. Unicornishly (look for that one in the next edition of Merriam-Webster), Will Smith is almost all of those things - while he wasn't a professional athlete, he even kind of checked that box when he played one of the greatest of all time in Ali.
But, he doesn't seem happy.
Similarly, Michael Jordan, who was (incorrectly) honored by ESPN as the Greatest Athlete of the 20th Century, doesn't seem happy, either. Actually, closer to bitter.
If these two guys, who are on the top rung of the ladder most men spend their lives trying to climb, can't be happy - who can?!
And, specifically, what they both seem to be struggling with is insecurity with their manhood. That's not a dig. Every guy struggles with that at some level. That's the point. If they have issues in that regard, what about the rest of us?
And the same has to be true of women (whatever one of those is). As an illustration, look at a current picture of a woman who was considered the pinnacle of society's shallow idea of the perfect woman 25 years ago. Likely, their face has since been mangled by injections and surgeries, in a desperate attempt to hold on to who they want to be. Then, imagine all the girls who never even looked like they once did.
Essentially no one who focuses on themselves is happy with their lot. Including - maybe especially - their manhood or womanhood.
Putting the T in LGBTMOUSE
Which brings us to the first idea: just because you are not completely comfortable in the sex you were assigned at birth does not mean the grass is greener in the other restroom.
We have been told there is something called gender dysphoria, "a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there's a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity." In addition, there are people born intersex. These are real issues. And people dealing with them deserve all the understanding and support we can give them. But, we need to keep in context how small these groups are.
The American Psychological Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth Edition) estimates that about 0.005% to 0.014% of people assigned male at birth and 0.002% to 0.003% of people assigned female at birth are diagnosable with gender dysphoria. According to Black's Medical Dictionary, gender dysphoria “occurs in one in 30,000 male births and one in 100,000 female births.”
(Quick, take a screenshot of that paragraph, because it will change. Not because The Science will have changed, but because the APA will soon put politics ahead of science and change both the frequency statistics and the description of the condition. Count on it.)
The best information puts the number of true intersex people at fewer than 1 in 5,000.
The average American high school is less than 1,000 students. The average middle school is less than that. That means most US schools have, by The Science data above, a grand total of intersex and gender dysphoric students, combined, of ... zero (obviously, some schools would have 1 or 2 students dealing with these issues).
That does not lessen the difficulties many of these fellow Americans are enduring, or what we should do to support them. But, it does make clear we should not completely unravel our society in response, nor increase the number of people who are dealing with these issues by coaching them into confusion.
If you are not completely comfortable with how manly or womanly you are, join the club. Don't automatically assume the answer is to change teams. And we should not condone adults nudging children into thinking this way or, especially, into doing damaging things to their bodies. Give them time to grow up and find their way - knowing that all of us (even Will Smith and Jada Pinkett and Kanye West and Kim Kardashian) have insecurities.
Bending genders til they snap
I understand there are 50-some genders now, and the number keeps growing.
I have a proposal. Let's cut to the chase and declare that there are almost 8 billion genders. One for each person on Earth. Because how we each express our humanity and sexuality is different. Next, let's change the term "gender" to "individual." And continue to respect and cherish each individual, as just that. And go back to the two sexes, acknowledging sex as one characteristic each of us have - which tells something about us, but does not define us.
We need to respect everyone - and bag this group identity crap. You are already awesome and precious (Principle #0). You don't need to sell your soul to some stupid group to have value or to deserve a voice.
Oscar: Narcissus' long-lost twin
Finally, while we are possibly conflating character and behavior and disorders, let's talk about the most serious pandemic we are currently facing - narcissism. The Academy Awards are an unwatchable orgy of ridiculously privileged and slobbered-on people (don't hit me, Will, that was not a Jada joke) pining for even more affirmation and trying to inject meaning into their empty, superficial, lives by pompously lecturing the rest of us on issues they don't even vaguely understand.
This should not be what the rest of us aspire to. For one thing, we should park the grandstand virtue-signaling and focus on caring for and about the people around us. Perhaps paradoxically, a genuine focus on others will make you happier. Conversely, spending all your (non-partying) time contemplating your own navel - and whether it is surrounded by an eight pack - will more than likely lead to despair and anger.
Even if you are an Oscar-winning actor.