Nearly two years ago, the Detroit Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists awarded me first place in health reporting for my coverage of the implosion of Beaumont Health, a once highly respected regional hospital system. The award isn’t as prestigious as a Pulitzer Prize, but it meant a lot to me. I was allowed to work in the U.S. and later become a citizen because the Detroit News in the 80s convinced the U.S. government that I was a reporter of unusual talent and ability who could make a meaningful contribution to Michigan journalism.
I’m forever driven to make good on that endorsement, hence my disproportionate focus on Michigan companies and politics.
If my award had been challenged or protested by other Detroit journalists under various pretenses such as I live in Los Angeles and therefore not technically a Motor City journalist, I would have returned the award as I’d no longer feel good about accepting it. An award is typically an acknowledgement of excellence from one’s peers, but if one’s peers call the excellence into question, the whole point of the award is undermined.
Reading about Lia Thomas, who was born male but identifies as female amid reports she still has a penis, I’ve wondered how Thomas could feel good accepting her mounting awards competing against women in swimming championships. When Thomas competed as a male in men’s swimming meets, he had an undistinguished record. Competing against women, she’s virtually unbeatable.
There are some, including my genuine liberal friend Allan, who say I’d be mistaken to return my Detroit journalism award simply because some reporters objected. He and others argue that if Thomas, whose birth name was William, should be allowed to compete as a woman if that’s how she identifies.
Fair enough, I understand that argument as well.
But after watching 12-time All-American swimmer Riley Gaines’ interview with Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson, it’s beyond me how anyone could argue that Thomas is representative of what was once known as good sportsmanship or serves as a positive role model for aspiring athletes, regardless of their gender identity.
Gaines shared during her Peterson interview that she once tied Thomas in a meet but was told there was only one trophy, and that it would go to Thomas. Gaines said she wasn’t given a reason why Thomas was deemed more worthy. Thomas gladly accepted the trophy, and then proudly posed for the media, which is overwhelmingly comprised of people who think it’s a sign of great progress that athletes can decide their own gender and compete in sports accordingly.
Peterson, a psychologist who previously taught at Harvard and later at the University of Toronto’s once prestigious psychology department, has repeatedly been embroiled in controversy, most notably for calling the transgender actor Elliot Page by his previous name, Ellen, and using the pronoun “her” in a subsequent reference. That’s his right, and I admire Peterson for refusing to bow to the cancel crowd mob, particularly living in Canada, where wokeness flows like Niagara.
True to form, Peterson refers to Thomas as William and uses the pronoun “he.” What interested me was Peterson’s psychological assessment of Thomas. Upon learning about Thomas being given the trophy for a competition in which she tied Gaines, here’s what Peterson said: (it can be viewed beginning at the 6:45 mark; I’ve slightly edited Peterson’s comments for readability):
If Leah Thomas was being a proper gentleman, he would have done one of two things. He would have said, “Well we have to flip a coin, or I won’t take the trophy.” Or he would have said, “I’m not going to take the trophy because it’s unfair that you give it to me under these circumstances.”
Yet he did neither. Instead, he took the trophy, and he went and posed for the damn photographs. It’s very difficult for me as a clinician to see anything in that other than all the hallmarks of extraordinarily narcissistic and entitled behavior because it is such a of violation of the minimum professional athletic standards. The fact that the NCAA would promote that kind of pathological narcissistic behavior is really quite the bloody miracle.
Listening to Gaines, who I mistakenly perceived as an entitled jock, I developed an understanding of the impact of letting transgender women athletes compete in women’s competitions. That the NCAA arbitrarily gave a trophy to Thomas when Gaines tied her suggests the organization prefers to celebrate transgender women athletes who compete against women rather than female-born athletes.
“This is not progress,” Gaines said.
Lack of sportsmanship, or sportspersonship if you prefer, is now celebrated even in high school sports.
At a California track & field competition this past Saturday, a female runner named Adeline Johnson was applauded for giving a very public thumbs down following a loss to trans athlete Athena Ryan. Conservative media and commentators interpreted Johnson’s gesture as a protest of Ryan’s victory, but the local Sonoma publication reported that Johnson was merely signaling disappointment to her parents in her own performance, not criticizing another athlete.
Regardless, making the gesture at an awards ceremony showed poor form. Ryan, the transgender runner, also is deserving of understanding and compassion given that she is only 16 years old and was subjected to considerable public rebuke.
What saddens me is that sports were once an enjoyable U.S. pastime that’s been so politicized that no one benefits. Much of the blame rests with the legacy media, which favors transgender persons in their own competitions.
The Pulitzer Prize for commentary this year was awarded to transgender woman Andrea Long Chu for her book reviews that have appeared in Vox Media-owned New York magazine and its site, Vulture. Some of Chu’s past writings don’t strike me as what I’d expect from a Pulitzer-prize winning author. Breitbart writer David Ng, formerly of the Los Angeles Times, characterized Chu’s writing as “often convoluted and abstruse, like a junior varsity version of Judith Butler but with a flare for cheap provocation.”
Ng said Chu received wide acclaim for her 2019 book Females in which she “delves into detail about what kinds of porn” Chu likes to masturbate to. One of Chu’s favorite genres is “sissy porn,” which involves men wearing women’s underwear and being forced into submissive or feminine roles.
“Sissy porn did make me trans,” Chu once wrote.
Let’s just say I’m not alone in questioning Chu’s Pulitzer Prize worthiness.
Meanwhile, the New York Post reported today that Bud Light is offering generous rebates from now through May 31 that potentially amounts to getting paid to drink the “beer” as parent Anheuser-Busch struggles to contain the significant sales decline in wake of choosing transgender TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney as a brand ambassador. Customers who purchase a 15-pack or larger of Bud Light, Budweiser, Budweiser Select or Budweiser Select 55 will receive a $15 rebate.
At this writing, a 15-pack of Bud Light is listed for $12.99 on Target’s website, meaning you can pocket $2 for yourself if you order a case of Bud Light from Target. If you don’t want to drink the swill, you can donate it to Kid Rock who can repurpose the stuff.
Me thinks that Bud Light and Target should run a joint promotion. Target recently introduced women’s style swimsuits that advertise “tuck-friendly construction” to hide male genitalia.
Target might also want to introduce the Dylan Mulvaney collection, featuring a display of its tuck friendly bathing suits, cases of Bud Light, and the bubble bath brand Mulvaney used for her infamous Bud Light bathtub photo shoot.
An undeniable truth about Mulvaney is that she is indeed an “influencer.” I will forever associate Bud Light with her luxuriating in a bubble bath featuring cans of the awful beer.
This post was updated on May 25 to reflect reporting by The (Sonoma) Press Democrat.