Friday, March 13, 2009

Case Studies

This, from 6/27/07. Puts me in mind of good old Thomas nee Tracy Beatie. Hot hot hot.


But let's be serious for a moment. I'll try to refrain from sarcasm -- from a lot of sarcasm. The first item is from the Boston federal court, where hundreds of hours of testimony from experts, paid tens of thousands of dollars, have been heard in a case to determine whether a murderer -- one "Michelle" nee Robert Kosilek, who is serving a life sentence for murder -- should have a sex change ... I mean a "sex change" operation at taxpayer expense. Inmates rights advocates ... inmates "rights" advocates maintain that such a procedure is a "medical necessity." (That last is a quote, not sarcasm.) Kosilek is suing on the grounds of "cruel and unusual punishment." (Quote.) So far the case has cost taxpayers some $52,000; the surgery would cost about $20,000.

Yeah, I'd do her.


Castration and having one's penis hollowed and turned inside-out, made into a sort of little pouch and stuffed into the lower abdominal cavity is a medical necessity, apparently. News to me. Some might think of it as, er, cruel and unusual punishment. I believe the scrotum would be reshaped into a sort of labia, but I might be imagining that. Mmmm. Ahem. Advocates "say in some cases -- such as that of Kosilek, who has twice attempted suicide -- sex-change surgery is as much a medical necessity as treatment for diabetes or high blood pressure." Well, erections are a sort of high blood pressure.

Kosilek strangled his wife some 17 years ago because she spilled boiling tea on her testicles Kosilek's testicles -- I'm a little confused about whether K was a woman back then. He claimed self-defense. Let me bludgeon the irony for a moment: he killed a woman because she spilled tea on his or her nuts, which he now wants cut off, so that she can be a "woman," like what he killed. If she'd spilled tea on his face, would he want a face lift? If a dog had bitten him, would he want to be a dog? I'm confused. There is a sort of logic to it, if only I could figure it the right way. Something to do with pronouns.

After receiving court-ordered female hormone treatments, laser hair removal and psychotherapy, Kosilek still testifies that "I would not want to continue existing like this" -- existing, that is, while possessing a complete array of male primary genitalia. I can sympathize. As I sometimes suggest, I have a serious problem with depression. It's been particularly acute recently. I can barely speak nowadays, and when I do it's pure acting. I was depressed Tuesday at the very moment I was engaged in grappling. I'd thought that was impossible. My deterioration is accelerating. I don't want to continue existing like this. But I will. So I understand, this living in a body you don't belong in. I love my penis, and my testicles are unmatched ... well, they're matched, don't get me wrong, relatively symmetrical and possessing the same weight and firmness -- I just mean that I'm pleased with them. They do a great job. Mine is more an existential dysphoria than a gender dysmorphia. I don't belong here.

It's a minor case. It hardly means anything. But when major news outlets refer to a castrated man as "she" -- or in this case, a man who simply anticipates castration -- we must have reached such a point of confusion that irrationality offers a sort of comfort. Logic as it has traditionally been understood hardly means anything. But I'll make one stab at it: it isn't about spending fifty thousand dollars to save twenty thousand dollars. If "sex change" becomes a right, how many hundreds or thousands of convicts will exercise that right? Unlikely, you say? I respond by asking if the prison population is likely to be what we straight squares call "well-adjusted". (Frankly, depressed and neurotic as I am, I'm not sure if those quotes are sarcastic or not.)

So that's one thing. The second item involves yesterday's Oklahoma execution of double-murder Jimmy Dale Bland, who had terminal cancer -- expected to be fatal within six months. "Death penalty opponents have called the execution ... pointless, while prosecutors have said Bland's health is no reason to show him mercy."

I'm sorry. I really don't get it. What would the fact that Bland might have died eventually from known causes have to do with his scheduled execution? Justice is not about convenience. Since we're all going to die, it might always be easier to wait for nature to take its course. This fact makes execution pointless? Such thinking misses the point of what execution is. It isn't about bloodless logic. It's about justice, which is sometimes bloody.

It comes back to the issue of axioms. Some start with the premise that all violence is wrong and immoral. War, and executions, and the coercive power of the state, and self-defense. Immoral. Others start with the premise that the same action can be right or wrong, depending on motives. Thus, to kill the brigand to protect one's family is a duty, not a crime. This is too basic to need to expand.

Mercy? Of course we need mercy. I've made the case before, and don't like to repeat specifics. The matter hinges on wisdom. Sometimes severity is wise. Sometimes gentleness is wise. Wisdom can discern between the two. It cannot be quantified. It's an intangible.

Well, enough. My work here is done. The theme of this piece is that there are certain actions that disqualify someone from getting what they want. Murdering people is one of those actions. After that, you should, generally, be executed. If mercy is extended, it should not include elective surgical mutilation of the genitals at taxpayer expense. Unhappiness is almost inevitable, it seems to me. That might just be my depression talking. But death is most certainly inevitable. The proper attitude when we receive mercy instead of justice, or happiness instead of anguish, or a penis complete with matched testicles instead of an unconvincing counterfeit and non-functional sac, is one of gratitude.

We should even be grateful when we are unhappy. Things can always get worse. We could be on death row. We could want to be castrated.


I no longer grapple, and the depression has subsided, for some reason. My testicles are working overtime, and I have mixed feelings about this. Maybe that tranny is on to something. I suppose I could sort of compromise, and have just one testicle removed. Make me more like ordinary men. As for my penis ... well, nothing. I just wanted to mention my penis.



Anonymous said...

Regarding depression:

Since accepting, as you say, the fact that pain is a necessary and integral part of adult life in this world, (increasing as more and more Robert Kosileks succeed in driving the news, it seems) the nature of my depressions seems to have changed.

I now welcome its arrival as an opportunity to master it through faith, and I am changed. Not that I am less depressed, but rather, that, as a consequence of successfully engaging, I deepen.

We Westerners have been deprived of the natural opportunities for the development of real character through suffering these days, (unless it involves having to tolerate the inmates running the asylum, that is) that those of us who recognize the situation must take our opportunities where we find them and make the most of them.

Jack H said...

I suppose pain is necessary in the sense that it is unavoidable.

But how insensitive of you -- it's *Michelle*, not "Robert." We must acknowledge these legalities, law abiding citizens that we are. The judiciary is after all the highest branch of government, as the ACLU has proven. Federalist Papers? What are the Federalist Papers?

I've held different positions about suffering. Yes, it is fertilizer for the soul. I can't bring myself to call it nutrition. But I can't recall any Psalm of thanksgiving, for suffering. Perhaps there is one, or more. *Thank You, O Lord, for mine affliction.* Psalms would stand for the emotional life, and caught up in the moment, what did David do but cry out in anguish, not in gratitude. Paul, a thousand years later, might thank God for his suffering, and for all things. I won't say he's wrong. But David is easier to relate to. It must be one of those wisdom things -- sometimes one, sometimes the other.

Depression is just a feeling. It's not suffering. We ride whatever beast we find ourselves upon, and try to go in the direction we think best. Some journeys are painful. So be it. That's not a reason to stay behind.