Jumping the Shark:
Jumping the shark is an idiom used to denote the point in a television program‘s history where the plot spins off into absurd storylines or unlikely characterizations. These changes were often the result of efforts to revive interest in a show whose audience had begun to decline.
The phrase jump the shark comes from the climactic scene in “Hollywood,” the third part (written by Fred Fox, Jr.) of a three-part episode opening the fifth season of the American TV series Happy Days in September 1977. In this story, the central characters visit Los Angeles, where a water-skiing Fonzie (Henry Winkler), wearing swimming trunks and his leather jacket, jumps over a confined shark, answering a challenge to demonstrate his bravery. The series continued for nearly seven years after that, with a number of changes in cast and situations.
Jon Hein explained the concept as follows: “It’s a moment. A defining moment when you know that your favorite television program has reached its peak. That instant that you know from now on…it’s all downhill. Some call it the climax. We call it ‘Jumping the Shark.’ From that moment on, the program will simply never be the same.
I’m breaking a rule I set for myself and I am directly addressing some harsh criticism toward some one I had great respect for and who I considered and still consider a friend.
Hopefully people will understand that what I am saying is being said in the spirit of my wanting to stop a public trashing of another friend, Ashley Love.
Further I consider neither party blameless in this public act of getting down in what resembles a bar brawl.
But I find Autumn’s public trashing of Ashley Love to be cyber-bullying of the worst sort. Autumn Sandeen has a very large platform, Pam’s House Blend which she has abused to publicly beat up on Ashley.
This has resulted in the oh so predictable formation of factions, a dividing along transsexual vs transgender.
Transgender Inc based on the ideology of Virginia Prince and organizations such as IFGE has never respected post-SRS women with a transsexual history. To respect us would require their abandonment of all the Virginia Prince bullshit about post-transsexual women.
It would also requiring them to stop demanding we give in to every single crank who comes along claiming a place under the imaginary umbrella.
Today, I fielded a couple of comments that just left me shaking my head and thinking WTF. I’m not a counselor, I write a largely left of center blog that includes items of interest to people in the LGBT/TQ communities as well.
But it seems that some people think that unless a person is absolutely politically correct and in 100% accord with GLAAD standards which were dictated by Transgender Inc, then that person merits some sort of hysterical attack.
Is Ashley right in using some of the language she has used? Obviously not. Some of her comments regarding others have been ill-considered and perhaps a little mean.
But I tried to watch Calpernia’s show on Logo and yes it was embarrassing and degrading of the lives many of us who are not over the top in the way Calpernia is.
The problem is people see Calpernia or Amanda Lapore and form a stereotypical idea of what post-transsexual women are like because so many of us are invisible, just working our jobs, forming our relationships and living our lives.
It is as if Lady Gaga or Madonna were the only representatives of women and the basis of a stereotype for all women.
While I like Kate Bornstein, my encounters with her at the Forward Motion Conference were delightful and included a terrific exchange of ideas I nonetheless find her public performances, as well as many of her pronouncements to be full of shit. The sort of thing that cause me to hope no one thinks she speaks for me.
Would I have attacked either Calpernia or Kate in the manner Ashley did? Nah.. Why would I, I’ve been around for over 40 years and have seen post-SRS women who did far more embarrassing shit and besides we are individuals who got SRS, we are not a tightly regimented cult.
We each have our own opinions and the right to sometimes make fools of ourselves with out someone in a major blog devoting four long pieces to trashing us.
The problem is Transgender Inc requires absolute ideological purity. It is so inflexible as to refuse to use Transsexual and Transgender instead of just Transgender.
I had some one tell me recently that “transsexualism supports the medicalization of the condition”. I didn’t know what to say because to me, my having been transsexual was all about entering into a medical process that changed my body with hormones and sex reassignment surgery.
Transgender Inc also condemns people with transsexualism for getting their SRS and moving on.
I support a trans-inclusive ENDA not because I identify as transgender but because it seems like the right thing to do. Yet in the nuts and bolts area, the clauses that get written in I would include things like consistency of presentation. Again I set off the howls of the bi-gendered CDs who claim they are as much women as I am even though they flip flop from male presentation to female and back.
Heaven forbid any transsexual ask WTF?
Autumn has built up a national platform, she has gained much earned respect for her actions this last summer regarding the repeal of DADT. Her reputation and writing have a far larger volume than does anything Ashley Love has.
This is why it ill behooves her to use that platform to bully, defame and abuse Ms. Love.
There is another aspect to this which I find highly disturbing.
And that is privilege, which comes in all sorts of forms.
I have been on line for over 15 years now and have discovered that those of us who came-out and transitioned young are in a distinct minority, that we are all too often shouted down by those who have come out in middle age and who often use rank earned before they came out as a cudgel of credibility while showing a lack of awareness of the role sexism and classism plays in denying those who come out young an equal rank.
The other thing that bothers me immensely is not only is Ashley young and getting hammered by some one who is both older and possessing of a bigger platform from which to do this bullying, but Ashley is a woman of color.
During an adult lifetime of knowing transsexual and transgender people I have seen transsexual and transgender women of color in about the same ratio to their cultures percentage in society, yet when it comes to leaders in Transgender Inc people of color are rare.
It seems like all too often the role of transsexual and transgender women of color, especially young sisters is that of martyr, to have one’s name read on the Day of Remembrance.
I apologize if I have rambled a bit in this post. I hate it when friends fight. I hate it when one throws away hard earned respect to engage in a public brawl. Most of all I hate bullying. Abusing someone because you don’t like how they said something in a huge public forum is taking what should have been a private matter and turning it into a lynch mob sort of action.