[Guest post by Eliza Gray]
The Monday after my cover story on transgender rights went to print, I was eagerly awaiting feedback on how it was received. I figured there would be positive and negative reactions. But I wasn't expecting the kind of feedback I got when, a few minutes after I sat down at my computer, a colleague plunked an issue of The Weekly Standard on my desk. On the last page of the issue, the magazine had simply reprinted TNR's cover, labeling it "Not A Parody"--the joke apparently being that the very notion of transgendered people deserving rights is inherently ludicrous, so much so that the argument in my piece does not require refutation.
I emailed Bill Kristol, the magazine's editor, thinking that perhaps he could tell me why the Standard found this particular human rights issue so hilarious. His response was terse and tepid: "I've found over the years that it's best not to try to explain jokes or parodies--and I think it makes sense to extend this rule to a 'not a parody.' It stands (or falls) on its own."
The Standard's view of these questions is well within the tradition of its position on sexual minorities of all kinds, exemplified by this August 2003 cover on gay marriage:
The lack of any argument whatsoever in the Standard's "parody" is telling. It's the "philosophy" of a junior high school bully, for whom pointing and laughing is the only argument required. The joke here is that political magazines are supposed to be able to make intellectual arguments.