By Madeline Perez
On April 14th, 2021, Binghamton Review published an article entitled “Contemporary Arrogance.” Now, as Copy Desk Chief, I should have already been familiar with the article, but it’s not uncommon for another E-board member to put pieces through the editing process, so I never saw it. The publication of this article was, in my opinion, the worst oversight I have ever seen from the Review. As someone who’s partially responsible for its publication, I regret not watching with a closer eye. The frustration I felt reading the article was surely unparalleled by mortal man. Honestly, part of me did feel grossed out being a representative of a publication that would publish something so uninformed and blatantly transphobic, and it’s because of this that I’m going to write my first ever rebuttal.
Now, for someone talking about arrogance, I find it really fucking ironic to write under the pseudonym “Johnathan Swift.” To implicitly tie your own illiterate ramblings to the likeliness of a famous author seems pretty arrogant, indeed. This hypocrisy seems to be a core theme of the article as he pretentiously describes the snobbery and perceived moral superiority of others without considering the fact he is actively trying to put himself above these people in terms of “intelligence” and “values.”
The pseudo-intellectualism runs rampant through the piece as smart-sounding words are thrown in to distract from the fact that the sentences themselves make no fucking sense. Redundant words and phrases are used consistently throughout, as is the case with the way he talks about Bourgeois Values, the phrase “verbally insulted,” and many others like it. So much of this piece is effectively saying nothing, which I’m not particularly mad about considering the stupid claims made when he is saying something. Anyone who has ever passed a middle school English class would have no trouble finding the blatant, grammatical errors that plague the article worse than 14th-century Europe. The pathetic, reductionist attempt to use Freud and Nietzche to wrongly support his batshit claims makes it clear he was more interested in sounding smart than making a lick of sense.
Let’s begin looking at the actual content of this article, as much as it will inevitably pain me. He starts off by criticizing Binghamton’s rally against anti-Asian discrimination, implying its futility when considering that the spike of anti-Asian hate crime and discrimination are things outside of the university’s control. While he is correct in that the university cannot go back in time and prevent hate crimes, he purposefully refuses to consider any benefits rallies like these may serve to raise awareness of injustice and to help others feel like intense societal problems like those that bred the Atlanta Spa Shootings are not just being swept under the rug. Instead, he claims that activists should consider the true perpetrator of racism in this country: affirmative action.
Though the out-of-context average admission rate statistics he gives (with an “Asian students tend to score higher” (on what exactly??) thrown in for good measure) make it extremely hard to decipher what exactly he’s trying to prove, I am quite familiar with the conservative spiel on the evils of affirmative action. Many right-wing talking heads deliberately push the false narrative that affirmative action is an anti-white, anti-Asian phenomenon designed to favor underqualified marginalized groups. They also may peddle the idea that affirmative action is damaging to these groups because it both undermines the capabilities of women and minorities and sets them up for failure because of these aforementioned under-qualifications. Let’s break this down. Affirmative action as we know it does not lower the standards for minority groups but can influence their selection among equally qualified candidates, and the choosing of unqualified candidates over qualified ones is explicitly prohibited by federal regulations.^1,2. It is also found that, in many cases, affirmative action may raise the self-esteem of women and minorities by offering them equal opportunities for employment, but let’s not fool ourselves that conservative figureheads actually care about this point. ^3.
The reason I’m focusing on the rebuttal of common conservative talk show points here is because it’s transparent that this article is heavily influenced and tries to regurgitate the same hateful, fear-mongering shit masquerading under concerns about the degradation of modern culture and “the children”. Our society saw this while fighting for the legalization of gay marriage and I continue to see the same blind hatred toward the transgender community and LGBT pride. “Johnathan Swift” states that the “LGBT movement” has become “an aggressive crusade against reasonable criticism.” Ignoring the fact that made no fucking sense, the underlying message of “gay people bad” was astonishingly clear. He then rages against the fact that “transgenderism is proudly displayed,” as they (transgendereds) denounce science and force children to have sex changes. Nice try, but as much as you suck up to him, Big Daddy Steven Crowder is not going to fuck you.
In reality, the argument for “scientific evidence” in order to validate the existence of trans people is a thin veil for transphobia. While it has been proven several times that the neural processes of trans people align more with the gender they identify as over the gender they were born as, this point is actually irrelevant other than it proves that he’s actually the one denouncing science.^4 Trans people don’t need to prove that they’re trans just because you don’t like it in the same way that gay people don’t need to scientifically prove they experience same-sex attraction. It’s just who they are, and demanding they need a scientific reason to exist (a stance also known as trans-medicalism) is frankly, stupid. Does “Johnathan” have a scientific reason why he’s so bad at writing cohesive arguments?
“The children, won’t someone please think about the children!” “Mr. Swift” cries while clutching the metaphorical pearl necklace. Frankly, the idea that trans people are trying to force children to change their sex is so false it’s laughable. In reality, the phenomenon the right continues to so wildly mischaracterize as “forcing children to undergo sex change that they will most likely regret” is the prescription of puberty blockers to transgender youth. There are a lot of lies and misinformation around this topic so I’m going to talk about it a little. Puberty blockers are prescribed, monitored, and administered by a pediatric endocrinologist, and are both safe and completely reversible. In order for this treatment to be considered, children must show long-lasting patterns of gender non-conformity and dysphoria that began or worsened at the start of puberty. If under the age of medical consent, parental consent must be given. The treatment aims to “pause” puberty so that it can be considered if a child’s gender identity is enduring and to give families time to consider medical, social, and legal struggles they may face. Overall, the treatment is successful in improving mental health, societal ostracization, and can possibly eliminate the need for future surgery.^5. No permanent surgeries or procedures are given to children and especially not without parental consent, as the article falsely states. This blatant misinformation has real-world ramifications as it continues to make life harder for transgender individuals.
“J. Swift” goes on to complain about how some people are proud of their sexuality and “wave it around like a badge of courage,” and how he’s annoyed about how a WHOLE MONTH has clearly been STOLEN by the gays. To that, I say this: you gonna cry about it? Also, how, pray tell, do you wave something like a badge? Maybe if you were less homophobic, the gay people would teach you how to write proper similies.
He then goes on about how anti-maskers are oppressed by your “typical Binghamton student” who will VERBALLY INSULT you if you dare not follow campus policy on wearing a mask. He also states that masks have no purpose after vaccination, so students who continue to wear one are effectively just virtue signaling and pretending to be better than everyone else. Obviously, this is entirely false, as it is commonly known that no COVID vaccine is 100% effective and that you can still be infected and transmit the virus to others after vaccination. “Waa, people are pretentious for wanting to not get sick or risk getting other people sick.” That’s how you sound right now, Johnnie-boy. For someone who is criticizing these people for valuing “ideology over fact,” he sure seems to be objectively wrong a lot.
Next, in this never-ending illiterate dumpster fire of an article, “Johnathan” aims to blame students for being in college debt, claiming that many feel entitled to a college education and create their own problems by pursuing higher education. Good news! I totally almost agree with him. The national student debt is an issue, and not everyone should be pushed to go to college! However, he’s completely talking out of his ass when he blames these problems on the decisions of students. The price of college is actually, and I’m not exaggerating here, way too high, and students are not asking for too much when they dream of a life where they can make a livable wage and not actively want to kill themselves. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, college tuition and fees have gone up 1,200% since 1980, yet, a college degree is more important than ever to succeed.^6 The high expense of college and the need for a college education to make good money is a huge factor that contributes to the low socioeconomic mobility in this country. The financial issues of students reflect a larger problem of corporate greed, and it’s not the fault of their “arrogance” that teenagers are pushed by societal norms into the arms of colleges that are just looking for another buck. To properly address these problems, colleges should be made cheaper and students should be able to make a good living without the need for a college degree.
Our esteemed author begins to end his piece with evidence that “rules no longer apply equally to citizens.” I use the term “evidence” here to mean made-up political grievances stolen from idiots on the far-right since nothing in this article is factually supported. In what world were BLM rioters met with “little resistance?” Was it the 104 instances of cars driving into protesters?^7 Or was it the widespread use of tear-gas on peaceful protesters in more than 100 US cities?^8 I could go on forever about the use of rubber bullets and instances of police violence during these protests but I feel like I’ve already illustrated how he’s full of shit. He’s also delusional if he thinks that illegal immigrants are permitted to cross the border when since October, arrests at the border have more than doubled that of the entire previous year.^9
In trying to prove the “arrogance” of anti-racist and LGBT communities, “Johnathan Swift” has adequately shown the boggling extent of his own arrogance. His hateful and unsupported criticisms of things beyond his ken were both annoying and yucky, and I hope I was able to shed some light on the truth of these matters. His ending claim that, unless something changes, society will degenerate into the “intellectually based caste system” mirrored in Brave New World was laugh-out-loud funny, and I hope he considers a career in comedy after this.