The true intent was always oppression

The latest assault on the rights and dignity of trans people in Florida

The true intent was always oppression

Down below Patrick Kuklinski joins us to write about the latest assault on the rights and dignity of trans people in Florida.

"And now in a historic decision, the state of Florida is not only banning gender changes on driver’s licenses, they’re revoking previously issued licenses, and accusing those who hold them of fraud."

You'll have to be a paid subscriber to read the whole thing. Help pay for our great guest writers if you can please and thank you.

"Just gobsmacked," Senator Brian Schatz posted last night. He was talking about Republicans' redoubling opposition to Joe Biden's Republican border bill. "I’ve never seen anything like it. They literally demanded specific policy, got it, and then killed it."

You'll have to forgive Schatz because like most elected Democrats he slooshes out of one of those goo pods from the Matrix every morning and has to completely relearn how the world works by watching MSNBC. Most of the rest of us on the other hand saw this coming. I'm a guy who listens to Boston sports talk radio callers fighting about who the new Patriots offensive coordinator should be for four hours a day and even I called this pretty easily last week:

Figuring out exactly how racist and xenophobic he has to be to win over zero conservative voters who think he’s a kid sacrificing pervert all while alienating a couple million of his own ostensible voters.

Negotiating the mileage of razor wire the suffering will have to crawl through down to the inch to find the perfect sweet spot that will make no one happy.

Trump and other Republicans are of course saying fuck you we will not give Joe Biden the win on this. Even if he's trying to do something we actually want.

My guy Kelsey Atherton summarized how this all works and how this will always work pretty succinctly I thought:

"There is no amount of increasing border enforcement or deporting people that will ever make the American right wing believe the border is being properly handled by a Democratic president. Any compromise on this is just a signal that they can demand more and keep the issue live. Immoral, bad politics."

Speaking of borders they factor in to my new short story out later today at Flaming Hydra. It starts like so:

Flaming Hydra
a collective of 60 writers, on fire and hard to kill
It smelled like someone might have left the gas stove on so I muted the news and got up off of the couch and went into the kitchen to poke my snout around. 

Everything seemed to be switched off as best as I could tell. 

The bulldozers were breaking ground along the border they had been saying a minute ago. In a place a lot of people didn’t want them to be bulldozing. A place of some import. A consecrated place. I was only half paying attention but it seemed bad. A matter of something despoiled.

When I was done checking I got worried I had turned the stove back on somehow so I had to do the same routine over again in the exact same order. One more time again but no more after that. Controlled enough to not do it the third time. 

Kind of surprised myself by watching a lot of the Grammys the other night and being brought to tears multiple times. I guess things that bring me to tears isn't exactly a high bar to cross. This video package they played for Marcus Smart returning to the Boston Garden for the first time the other night had me weeping. Literally weeping. I'm not sure I cried that much when my father died.

Annie Lennox performing Nothing Compares 2 U was a highlight of course. Not least of which because she also – like Sinéad O’Connor would have done – was the only artist that night to call for a ceasefire.

That's a good enough excuse to re-share this brilliant piece we ran back when she died last year.

The Fury of Sinéad O’Connor
It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society

And much like everyone else I've had Fast Car stuck in my head since Tracy Chapman appeared for the first time in years to perform it alongside Luke Combs. But that's not the video I want to share here it's this one from 1988 from Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday tribute concert at Wembley Stadium. The then relatively unknown Chapman (WHO SPENT A LOT OF TIME IN BOSTON BY THE WAY SO WE COUNT HER AS OURS) was asked to go out and fill time because Stevie Wonder was experiencing technical difficulties and she did this. From 70,000 dumb shits doing soccer chants to silence in a matter of moments.

I'd also like to say congratulations to Alvvays who I didn't even realize had been nominated for a Grammy until I heard that they had lost so then I had something to be pissed off about that I didn't even think was possible five seconds earlier. They still do have the perhaps even more illustrious honor of being an epigraph in A Creature Wanting Form however.

They're saying he has the best taste of all time.

The great science fiction writer Christopher Priest has died. I can't recommend his books The Prestige and Inverted World enough. Here's how the latter starts. Now that is dropping you into a new world.

The also great Wayne Kramer of MC5 has died as well this week. Imaging seeing this in nineteen hundred and seventy? No wonder our parents and grandparents are all fucked in the head.

And of course the inimitable Carl Weathers also passed. It was funny the other day online when the news came out because the man was Apollo fucking Creed and in Predator and so much more but all anyone wanted to talk about was "baby you got a stew going!" I had no idea that the gag of Weathers being cheap on Arrested Development was actually his idea until I read this piece with the show's creator Mitch Hurwitz:

We’d previously talked about how Tobias spent money on Carl Weathers’s stage fighting class, so it seemed like we should get Carl Weathers on the show. I always liked adding stuff that made it look like this is a whole world, and there’s a history between these two guys. Then we had this great idea to do a parody of this very homoerotic scene in Rocky 3 of Carl and Sly Stallone running on the beach. There were shots of their crotches and this big finish to some imaginary race and they were jumping up and down in the water in slow motion. We gotta do this with Carl and Tobias! Then I needed to call Carl Weathers. There’s always [that thing when you’re making] fun of something until you realize, oh, right, it’s a human being.

“So I called Carl, and said, ‘Hey, I don’t know if you’ve seen the show but we wanna use you for it, and you’d be working with David Cross.’ And he goes, ‘Great, but let me ask you something. It’s not going to be just a bunch of Rocky jokes is it?’ I laughed, ‘No! No! Give me a little credit, Carl. Of course not! It’s a multidimensional character.’ And he was like, ‘Because I direct and I’m a funny guy and I don’t wanna just do a bunch of Rocky jokes. Nobody wants that. Maybe I could be really cheap or something?’ And I said, ‘Whaaaat?’ ‘Maybe I could be really cheap?’ ‘Really? You’d like to do that?’ ‘Oh, absolutely, that’s what I’m saying. I want to play someone funny, not just be a sight gag.’ It was so much better. I went back to the writers room and said, ‘You’re not going to believe this. Carl Weathers wants to be incredibly cheap.’ All credit to Carl on that.”

Ok now here's Patrick Kuklinski on Florida's new anti-trans ID rule. You'll have to be a paid subscriber to read the whole thing. Thanks for being here either way.

Photo by

An easy public enemy

by Patrick Kuklinski

For many trans people, changing the legal documents with remnants of their old identity can serve as a form of protection and comfort. Having legal recognition of your name and gender can make a world of difference for everything from employment to making a doctor’s appointment. Each state has different rules, and varying levels of difficulty accompany these changes of course. Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Montana all expressly forbid changing the gender marker on a birth certificate. And now, in a historic decision, the state of Florida is not only banning gender changes on driver’s licenses, they’re revoking previously issued licenses, and accusing those who hold them of fraud. 

While 2023 might not have been a great year for transgender Americans, with historic numbers of anti-trans bills becoming law, 2024 is already off to a terrible start.