Hardware, Software, and What to Call the Apple Running Windows
Dave Chapelle just dropped another comedy bomb on the world and, as is his madness and method, inflamed some outrage. It’s funny and a bit annoyed and unapologetic. He crosses some boundaries when it comes to the accusers of Michael Jackson (funny as hell but, as they say, quite problematic).
He also continues to go for the absurdity surrounding transgender people.
The bits are funny but there is an underlying frustration not with specific transgender people but with the movement. He is often accused of ‘punching down’ but I’m not seeing it that way. Chappelle isn’t attacking people; he’s attacking a cultural movement that despite being made up of the most marginalized people in the world now has the power to affect and destroy the careers of comics, of politicians, and of unfamous.
"Satire is meant to ridicule power. If you are laughing at people who are hurting, it's not satire, it's bullying." — Terry Pratchett
Which is true unless those people who are hurting suddenly have power and maintain it through the expression of their pain. Then we have a whole new paradigm at foot. Like the seagull in that Mary Oliver poem, you’re gonna get hurt if you get too close.
The demand is no longer tolerance or even acceptance to the unusual situation of living among people obviously born with a biological gender but wired with the opposite. The demand is now one coming from the power of the mob and that demand is deference and accommodation. It isn’t enough to request that we use pronouns chosen but to require our use of them. Public places in many states are required to provide gender neutral bathroom facilities. Using a dead name is considered actual violence. Any refusal to accommodate these demands is met with charges of bigotry and transphobia with small social media mobs using their newfound cyber-communal power to pressure businesses to excommunicate any not in compliance.
When it comes to those sometimes brave, sometimes narcissistic folks born in the wrong biology, I suppose I just don’t get the hostility against them. It was once explained to me that all computers are basically the same machine. Some may have a few more ports or gadgets attached in construction but an iMac is substantially the same as a Dell. It is the software that truly changes the game.
Human bodies are like that. Mostly are the exact same. It is the software that sets us up as operating differently from one another. Most people use either an Apple or a PC and are fine with that. Others in the minority decide to run on Linux. And yet others, make the choice to use an Apple computer running Windows software and no one on the planet except the most extremely stupid would tell those people they couldn’t pee where they felt most comfortable.
On the other hand, if a guy comes into the Starbucks with a MacBook running Windows, I see the Apple product and make an assumption about him.
“Have you upgraded to Mojave yet?” I might ask.
“What? How dare you!? I’m running Windows 10 and you owe me an apology for even suggesting I’m using an Apple operating system!”
And I shake my head and think that this guy is fucking nuts and maybe a bit too self important to have any contact with.
It isn’t my duty to be in a constant state of empathetic awareness of every individual person’s software choice. In fact, I mostly couldn’t care less about what software you’re running as it’s not my business and I’m dealing with my own computer freezing up in the middle of of my binge-watching of Mindhunter on Netflix.
It seems that Chapelle is stymied by first thinking that running Windows on an Apple computer is odd (it is but odd is not a synonym for bad) but more that the Woke are angry at him for even commenting on it. Because he is both comic and provocateur his work is designed to stir up controversy and challenge our own sense of humor. I’d argue that his stream of jokes about the transgender community illustrates what is on the minds of many people. At a time when speaking or writing thoughts of doubt about the current (and ever shifting) paradigm is considered bullying and bigotry, his popularity is reflective of the confusion the majority of people are dealing with.
The unfortunate aspect of the Internet Age is that, all of a sudden, everybody’s business is everybody’s business. In addition to being bombarded with more information that most people can handle about the world at large, we also know what all of our friends ate today, the vacation spots they took pictures of, how adorable their children are, what their pets look like dressed as a GoT character, and when every single one of them feels sad, angry, or marginalized.
What I saw and see in Chapelle’s take of the trans community is a reaction to the notion of empowerment gone wrong. True empowerment doesn’t come from the ability to silence and control the actions and attitudes of others. True empowerment comes from the ability to ignore those who seek to offend us and find humor in ourselves and the bizarre things we do to be happy and whole.
Chapelle doesn’t really care what the trans community thinks of him but, as he says in the special epilogue following the credits, he isn’t out to hurt anyone but to speak the truth of what he sees and do it in a way that he thinks is funny. He is empowered not because he’s ridiculously wealthy but because he doesn’t really care about those highly offended mobs of Wokesters he targets in the same way that he didn’t care about the feelings of the white supremicists he targets.
“Have you upgraded to Mojave yet?”
“Nope. I run Windows on my Mac.”