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Saturday, Jan 01, 2022 - 21:26 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert

New Year, New Restarts

[N.B. She apparently identifies as Asian nowadays (I'm okay with that)]

How did they put it - older but no wiser? - as this rock makes another turn about the sun; but at least the hamster's certainly gotten plumper. As for resolutions, one can't promise not veering into topics considered controversial by at least some, since that kinda defeats the purpose of having an open society, but let's at least ease into it gradually. While grassroots sports remains somewhat stunted locally due to the overgrown pandemic, LKY has done it again for Singapore, in badminton this time. The 24 year-old Loh Kean Yew became the country's first world champion in the sport... for which he got literally nothing in monetary terms, from both the government and the BWF tournament organizers. I suppose all those kiasu parents steering their kids away from such pursuits did have a point.

Perhaps sadly, it's looking like many consumer sports are getting caught up in the Culture Wars these days, which appears reflected in a steep and ongoing decline in viewership (China's issues are... different). This, then, mirrors the decline in mainstream American comics - and the growing relative popularity of anime and manga in the West - as raised last October. I had been leaving the analysis on the difference in propaganda between West and East for the Cold War II series, but suffice to say for now that the attraction of having messages continually bludgeoned into one's face with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, might get old faster than the sponsors imagine.

As it happens, the issue of trans athletes - in particular, male-to-female ones - has returned to the fore after a couple of years, when it arguably last gained prominence due to New Zealander Laurel (formerly Gavin) Hubbard's bid to compete at the Olympics, as a female. This was due to a trans college swimmer completely owning her division after identifying as female from being a kinda-middling male athlete, which has had an official resign in protest, and her teammates mull a girlcott of a meet, since it wasn't like they had a chance to win anyway. But before continuing, some points might be established to try and avoid supposed-TERF J.K. Rowling's fate of cancellation:

  • People should be allowed to identify as whatever they want to be (extending to surgery towards that end), and not face discrimination for such
  • There are some pretty clear (and quite possibly insurmountable) differences in physical potential between the sexes (yes, this affirms they exist)

I believe there exists ample empirical evidence on that second point, from track and field events (where there appears a fairly consistent gap of about 10% in the times/distances between elite male and female athletes, in the same event - which might as well be an eternity), to more "complex" sports like tennis and football (where there is a fair argument to be made about the female world champion being about the level of a decent male on an average college team for the former, and regular reports of club youth academy boys' teams thrashing their senior national counterparts for the latter). Note that this is not to disparage the effort or dedication of the women involved; they can well hold their own in events not relying on raw physical ability (e.g. shooting, darts, chess, etc. - though one suspects there remains some distinction between the sexes, in the proportion of individuals mad enough to dedicate themselves to otherwise-pointless competition). The point, perhaps, is that having (pre-trans) males go up against females while holding such inborn advantages is simply, well, unsporting.

But if she says it's sporting, I ain't saying no
(Source: southparkstudios.com)

But actually, the accepted narrative seems to be that the science says that (even male-to-female) trans athletes do not in fact have an unfair advantage over their cis competitors in sports (though if one looks closely, there appears to remain a 12% advantage in speed even after hormone therapy, to which the response was to compare elite apples versus non-elite oranges). To this, the safest recourse appears to shrug one's shoulders - or, for the more trollish, to actively support the inclusion of yet more top-level MTF athletes in all sports. Then, if the not-unexpected happens, we may soon see brave transwomen dominate the major titles and claim all records, thus proving the superiority of transkind over ciskind.

But, more seriously, the obvious solution would seem to simply be the creation of separate categories, given that the mens' competition is technically an open competition in many sports. Indeed, I'd quite welcome more such restricted categories (analogous to weight classes in combat sports) being introduced (e.g. under-six-footers basketball), which would allow stars and styles that would otherwise not have seen the light of day. That said, there looks like very real gender discrimination going on in Singapore, with a young guy just arrested for his artistic (and lucrative) participation on OnlyFans, despite it not exactly being a huge secret that loads of girls are in on the gig. What can one say, life's unfair in different ways.

Returning to looking back on the last year or two, I suppose it could have gone more happily; I mean, it's not as if I don't know the "right" words to say, views to hold, or acts to put on, to be popular/clubbable/whatever. With apologies, all considered, it's simply still not worth it - especially in the current FAKE NEWS era, where what's printed often bears tenuous connection to reality. I consider myself fairly amenable to persuasion on my stands, e.g. on (legal vs. illegal) immigration, abortion (N.B. not supportive of overturning the current Roe v. Wade status quo), etc., and tend to be more than willing to argue the other side if need be for giggles and practice - but, just saying, there's generally a good reason why I'm for something or other. Readers are free to peruse my blog (or not) and agree (or not) as they please, and as to the correctness of my positions and accuracy of my predictions, I remain generally happy enough to let time be the judge of those.

Life becomes a lot simpler, with this attitude
(Source: manganelo.com)

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