Thursday, October 2, 2014

Conan O'Brien's Blatant Transphobia 10-1-14

Conan O'Brien - Wednesday 10/1/14
Nick Offerman, Jerrod Carmichael, and Comedian Pete Correale

TW: 'trans killer' + 'man in a dress' tropes + deadnaming

[Clip referenced below: 15:45 - 17:20]


     CONAN:
"If we tried to play this Aerosmith song without paying the band, my producers would be saying 'Dude, looks like a lawsuit.' - Gentlemen."
-Gestures at band, who then plays a song intro-

     CONAN:
"Oh my god that's awful.... Uh, uh what is uh sort of sound like?”

     CONTESTANT:
"Uh, maybe 'Dude Looks Like A Lady'?"

     CONAN:
"Okay! That sounds... that sounds like 'Dude Looks Like A Lady'; it's actually 'I Could Swear That Guy Was Female.' And here's that awful performer to sing it again. I hate this guy."

     SINGER:
"I could swear that guy was female
It was such an honest mistake.
And it was so dark in that car wash
Plus, lots of girls are named Greg."



     CONAN:
"Why do I keep bringing you back? You're awful."

     SINGER:
"I hang out at the DMV for simple human contact."

     CONAN:
"Alright, what do we have for my friend here, uh, Jeff?"

     ANDY RICHTER:

"Teach your kid the ABCs of murder with this
serial killer 'See & Say'!"
TOY: "Ed Gein says, 'I want to wear your skin!'"



DAMAGE ASSESSMENT AND RECAP:

This episode featured a parody song sung by a man in a wig making effeminate gestures written, performed, and intended for the purpose of comedy.

The lyrics to this parody song reinforce the idea that men who are sexually or romantically attracted to trans women should be ashamed and need to hide it (e.g., "I could swear that guy was female" is an excuse for what the person believes to be inexcusably poor behavior and justification for his "honest mistake." This is also established by the secretive and cheap carwash at night setting).

The lyrics to this parody feature the all too common "trap" characterization of trans women (e.g., "It was such an honest mistake"). This involves framing a trans women who does not disclose her trans status as deceitful, reinforcing the belief that everyone has 'a right to know.'

In turn, the lyrics to this parody are yet another example of how mainstream media attempts to normalize and provide justification for "trans panic," or acting in a state of violent temporary insanity' after someone discloses their trans status. This fear-based framing and negative representation of transgender people in mainstream media influences the way the public thinks. Justifying anger toward a trans person as a reaction to the disclosure of their trans status contributes to the high rates and graphic nature of murders perpetrated against trans women today.

The lyrics to this parody incorporate casual deadnaming (i.e. "Greg"), supporting the idea that this practice is acceptable.

The gift the contestant receives for accurately guessing the band's rendition of "Dude Looks Like a Lady" is a "serial killer 'See & Say,'" which reinforces the "transsexual killer" trope, fueling the irrational fear of trans people committing violent crimes against others. 

The 'See & Say' toy's reference to Ed Gein was no coincidence. Ed Gein was allegedly the cross-dressing serial killer that the fictional character Buffalo Bill was based on in the film 'Silence of the Lambs,' one of the most glaringly awful examples of the "scary transsexual" or "transsexual killer" trope in mainstream media.


CONCLUSION:

Conan O'Brien hasn't learned a damn thing since he apologized for his anti-trans joke in 2012.

The medicalization, sensationalization, and vilification MUST STOP. Mainstream media and law enforcement are failing to investigate the crimes against us, prosecute our perpetrators, and cover our murders (not to mention how they commonly misgender us in when our deaths are covered or publicized). We will not stand for the media continuously attributing comedic value to our appearance or existence. We will not stand for the media constantly instigating fear and anger in an uninformed public. And we will not stand for the media's erasure of the authenticity of our experience through our lack of representation.


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