Bigmouth strikes again.
Where to begin.
It’s been all of ten days since Trump was elected president, and if you’ve made the mistake of being glued to social media like I have, you’ve seen the dozens upon dozens of thinkpieces trying to explain just why an Internet troll was chosen as the most powerful man in the world.
We’re not going to talk about that. We’re going to talk about Sohrab Ahmari, Open House, and how one tweet intended as a brutal takedown of PC culture became the best source of schadenfreude all year. (Well, the second best.) Read on, kids:
Ahmari is an editorial writer and columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He’s the type of conservative who has no problem bashing the alt-right (in the same breath as SJWs, of course), but who also believes that identity politics have essentially ruined art forever. In his words: “Mystery, individuality and beauty are out; radical feminism, racial grievance and queer theory are in.” Because no one would express their individuality/beauty through their race or gender, right?
And when Trump won the presidential race, Ahmari was mad. So mad, he went right after what he believed to be the source of the problem: college activists! Not Breitbart, not the majority of White America. Nope, in the week after the election, he used up his entire Twitter real estate blaming the flag-burning, rabble-rousing, millennial leftists for causing this mess, and in doing so pinned Wesleyan’s very own Open House as the epicenter. What an honor.
As soon as it was published, Ahmari’s attack on Wesleyan’s queer life housing received plenty of criticism, and initially I didn’t see any point in addressing it. After all, this isn’t the first time that Open House’s acronym and mission statement have gotten attention from conservative media. And more generally, Wesleyan’s housing policies involving gender-neutral bathrooms and free-spiritedness come under fire every few years, even if the facts tend to get skewed. (We actually do have single-gender housing. And WestCo was
disappointingly not much of a “Naked Dorm” when I lived there.) Ahmari isn’t breaking any new ground, he’s merely stoking the flames.
But the more I saw his tweet making the rounds, the more I realized just how weird it is. First off, what an odd way to present it. “Think the left didn’t go too far in catering to gender theory nonsense?” Who thinks that way? “Gee, these liberals have gone pretty far in their gender theory pronoun-obsessed bullshit…but not too far.” I’m nitpicking, but it’s a strange turn of phrase.
Another nitpick – but one that’s been the butt of the joke surrounding this tweet – is the fucking highlight. Aside from the unprofessionalism of not bothering to get rid of your Ctrl-F highlight before screenshotting, why is “lesbia” highlighted?? Not “lesbian,” “lesbia.” As though he couldn’t bring himself to type out the whole word.
Luckily, Ahmari explained, and self-owned even further:
Sir. If you knew it was called Open House, why didn’t you just search “Open House”??? In fact, why didn’t you just search “gay”? Surely you knew that part of the acronym, too. And “gay” is four fewer letters than “lesbian,” so maybe you could’ve typed out the whole word and gotten there faster.
(Sidenote: a lot of people replied to Ahmari’s original tweet asking what the term “genderfuck” meant. Another queer student informed me that it’s “an active rebellion against gender as a construct” – basically a more extreme version of “genderqueer” or “genderfluid.” And if you need to brush up on what those terms mean, I suggest you Google them, or take a look at the first few minutes of this video.)
But, as with all the sensational takes on O-Ho and other Wesleyan residential spaces, the biggest issue with this tweet is the fact that it cares solely about a years-old mission statement that was always kind of a joke to begin with, and not at all about the actual residents of the house or the activities they get up to. For that, we now turn to a couple of
lesbia O-Ho residents who offered to shed some light on their devious lifestyles:
the conservatives probs think that I forget to respond bc I was being A Deviant but rly I just drank tea/played the banjo/went to bed early
— Anna Fox (@annadaniellefox) November 16, 2016
Now, let’s hope that by the time Trump is sworn in, the StraightsTM will have had their priorities….sorted out.