I guess Tucker Carlson does have his uses after all: somebody on his staff uncovered a head-explodingly silly NPR feature from January, and the topic was still so silly that it didn’t filter down into the rest of of conservative media until this week. What NPR felt was a matter worth spending taxpayer funds on and wasting listener’s ears on was this, and I am NOT kidding: in the words of a guest on the segment, “Many people who are queer, whether they are trans or some other form of genderqueer or whatever it is…We love dinosaurs.”That’s nice. So what? It happens that I love dinosaurs too. I started a dinosaur model collection when I was 5, and I gave a presentation about it at a school 6th grade hobby show when I was six. It was displayed at the town library, and ultimately included models, none of them plastic, of over thirty separate species. I still have that collection, and there are dinosaur models, puppets and art all over my house. But let me continue…
Apparently, “genderqueer” people have been using dinosaur emojis like the ones above in their social media posts. It has something to do with the dinosaurs in “Jurassic Park” changing their sex, or the all-female dinosaur population still reproducing. But now, NPR breathlessly reports, the LGBTQ community is furious that so called TERFS, “Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists,” have begun using dinosaur emojis in their social media posts, because a British politician described a dinosaur anyone who, like J.K. Rowling, refused to accept that a man could become a woman ( and, for example, throttle biological female swimmers simply after joining a college women’s swim team) by identifying as one.
This is, we were told by NPR and its trans guest, profoundly hurtful, and the community was prepared to fight, dammit! Riley, the trans guest, explained,
I think my initial knee-jerk reaction, um, was just like, Well, you can’t have them. Like dinosaurs are ours. It really just made zero sense to me whatsoever in terms of like, you know, they could have picked anything else and it might have made a little bit more sense to me…it was something where it’s just like, Where’s this even coming from? This makes zero sense. And also dinosaurs are ours. I hate to speak for the entire trans or genderqueer community but, like, no. We’ve already been wondering about them and drawing them and interested.
Like, got it, Riley. Jeez, learn to speak like an adult. And I got blackballed from this network’s shows? I think it’s time to kill myself.
No matter who you are, if you see something beloved taken over by someone else, that can be hard, sympathize co-host Amory Siverston “Suddenly, genderqueer fans of dinos everywhere felt under attack as TERFs kept dropping the emoji into their feeds.”
Then the feature really gets exciting! NPR reports:
Queer Twitter refused to let dinos go the way of the OK hand sign. Almost immediately, the community bombarded TERFs with takedowns and messages of trans pride…
One tweet seemed to bring this fight out of its bubble. It came from a pro-trans cis woman named Courtney Milan. She’s a romance writer. But she also dabbles in creating emoji. And in a blow to the TERF community, she tweeted a simple message:
“These emoji dinosaurs ?? are both trans, I know this because I wrote the proposal to the Unicode Technical Committee asking for them.” Courtney was arguing that because she created these dinosaurs, she determined their gender. And she determined that they were transgender….
Unlike so many other failed attempts to save a symbol, the push against anti-trans use of the dinosaur emoji…it seems to have worked. Some TERFs still have dinosaurs in their profile, sure. But there are so many other people pairing the dinos with messages of pride … or just using them in the most literal sense. And you know you might have something very specific to the TERFs who tried to use the emoji as a symbol of trans hate…
- We are paying for this crap.
- This isn’t news, it isn’t useful, it isn’t even illuminating, except in negative ways, like forcing consideration of questions like: “Are all trans people this silly and self-involved?” and “Aren’t the mature, serious members of the LGBTQ community embarrassed by such a characterization of their group?”
- I was immediately reminded of a feature long ago about how inner city black kids were obsessed with designer sneakers. At the time, my reaction was, “Wow, this is a huge values problem, if they elevate mere footwear to that level of concern.” But at least you can wear sneakers. They aren’t little digital drawings. Compared to the trans emoji crisis, the piece about Michael Jordan sneakers was the Watergate story.
- Back to Tucker: he quite fairly raised NPR’s dismissal of the Hunter Biden laptop story as counterpoint to the “OH NO! SOMEONE’S USING OUR DINOSAUR EMOJIS!” bombshell. You remember, don’t you?
“We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want to waste the listeners’ and readers’ time on stories that are just pure distractions,” NPR Managing Editor for News Terence Samuel told me. “And quite frankly, that’s where we ended up, this was … a politically driven event and we decided to treat it that way.”
- Is it any wonder that Dave Chappelle makes jokes about people like Riley? If trans individuals want Americans to respect them and take their problems, which are (usually) real, seriously, it’s up to them to present themselves and their community as rational and trustworthy. And if NPR wants to be their public relations agent, which it obviously does, it has to do a better job than this.
Because that story doesn’t help.