Running from the Facts: "Muttering into a bullhorn" edition
As the self-contradictions and inadvertent giveaways pile up, more folks are seeing that the "inclusion" crowd is inherently fueled by personal grudges and psychopathology
I was thinking that this column would always be a weekend thing, and Monday is not a weekend day. But with the surprise arrival of Easter yesterday, I didn’t want to write anything that could possibly be construed as disrespectful; most of my believer-friends are Catholics, and I take great pains not to tread on the sensibilities of readers more broadly. The nice thing about Catholicism is that it essentially admits to its own sweeping fraudulence, more openly so as the years pass, which in 2021 counts as something of a moral boasting point.
Anyway, like I said last time, no more preambles, just the dump and review. Oh, one more thing—bear in mind that I rely heavily on tips for this, because while I can hold my nose and scan the usual running sites, I refuse to regularly patrol social media; I reckon that any cost to the quality of my output here is offset in triplicate by the benefit to my mental health.
“Running from the Facts,” though dedicated to covering the limitless amount of bad work being done by running-media folk, will also include instances of good work by writers offering rebuttals, indirect or otherwise, to the ugly stuff. One such example is Amby Burfoot’s March 24 guest editorial for Letsrun.com, “Transgender Athletes Update: Where Are We? Where Are We Headed?”
Burfoot, the 1968 Boston Marathon champion in a time exactly two minutes faster than my best on the same course (but with a PR of 2:14:28) and the former editor-in-chief of Runner’s World, sums up his position, and that of the competitive running community at large, with this paragraph:
The big decisions will probably be made, at least at first, by politicians more concerned with cultural tailwinds/headwinds than about biology or sport’s history and future. Then we’ll have to see how it goes, and if there is ever a time and place for more nuance.
What stands out most about this is that it is a passage perfectly suited for an editorial by a current representative of Runner’s World, where it is also among the least likely places anyone will see such an idea expressed. It would be fun to hear Burfoot’s unfiltered thoughts about the turn his former magazine has taken since his departure.
By way of obvious contrast, Women's Running leads the shambling pack this week with its posting of a one-stop propaganda-shop for anyone interested only in the “It’s only fair that girls with testes play on girls’ teams” side. This “guide,” not surprisingly, is by Erin Strout, a prolific and doggedly unethical mouthpiece for the various running-related media outlets that have embraced hypocrisy, social-media scuzzposting, and unapologetically bad journalism as virtues.
In ramping up her systematic attack against girls’ and women's running, Strout links, inevitably, to a piece I already mentioned by the blatant and beloved liar Lindsay “Men don’t pay attention to me, ergo they pay no attention to women’s sports” Crouse. She mentions a real pro-girls’ sports organization called the Women’s Sports Policy Working Group only because she must, painting it as an enemy of women’s running, when in fact that group is willing to make concessions that some girls’ and women’s sports advocacy organizations may not.
Strout is so used to presenting this and only this line of crap, and pretending that dissenters don’t exist, that she doesn’t even try to state the opposing argument accurately, or maybe she really is just clueless:
Proponents of the laws argue that transgender girls and women are stronger, faster, and bigger than those who are born female.
This is too uninformed to be properly called a straw person, but it’s not what actually forms the opposing argument. (The laws she mentions are those seeking to keep people with testes from competing as females.) Strout’s claim is easily disproven by the existence of men like, say, me, who at his fastest was in the uppermost 1 to 2 percent of male road-race entrants, but was never close to sniffing the jocks of the best women on the planet. Yet had I been allowed to race as a woman, I still would have held an unfair advantage over the entire field, including the tiny fraction who still beat me.
One of the results of misclassifying females as males is seeing really good and even great girls and women being beaten out for meaningful places and prizes by average or somewhat above-average biological boys and men—something that’s easy to overlook if you were never competitive on the track yourself. But the fundamental argument is scientific, not consequentialist, and no amount of shouting-and-hiding or rhetorical gymnastics can circumvent this reality.
These awful pieces are at root invariant: They pretend that trans girls lack the option of competing with boys, as if these kids have somehow wound up without sports teams they feel they can call home by cosmic accident, and they hammer away at the sad but unrelated-in-context issue of trans kids being singled out for abuse. In the screwed-up world the Wokish propose, only gender-confused teens have feelings that matter while the rest are real or potential bullies, when we* all know that basically all teenagers are off their rockers in some ways.
This is a truly fantastic editorial and business model: A publication called Women’s Running that’s heavy on man-hating prose and personalities, yet relies on male gonads to energetically subvert—what else?—women’s running, and, as if that’s not limiting enough, waves a middle finger at a large segment of the electorate. As someone who has never voted for a Republican in a major election, but understands reading and sports and the idea of magazines living up to their mission, I find this approach boggling in multiple ways.
I have stressed this before, but for what it’s worth, it’s not the advocacy for a stupid position that bothers me most here, but the absolutely shameless dishonesty used in service of that advocacy, and the using of others’ lies as cover for generating and spreading new ones. In the face of this, nothing I write about running’s Wokish can be too mean.
Nikki Hiltz, elite U.S. 1,500-meter runner and ersatz lesbian, "came out" as transgender/non-binary the other day. As far as I know, she still has ovaries, yet so far over 11,000 Instagrammers have cheered this revelation on.
First, I’m perplexed by the need for younger adults with by sort of public profile to operate en masse around some kind of carefully chiseled-out identity rather than simply experience the associated feelings, like this mass cosplay currently taking the form of "gender fluidity.” It's weird to see what's basically pathological anxiety being celebrated as "people being their truest selves.” But if it doesn't infringe on the rights of others, who cares? (I'm not discounting legitimate cases of gender dysphoria, but the point is that it should be treated like any other mental health condition, not transformed into an axe to chop up sensible societal norms.)
But the zigzag, inconsistent nature of the cosplay creates glaring and laughable inconsistencies in the "quit abusing trans kinds" crowd—inconsistencies observers like Strout and many others would have to immediately answer for if they could be held ethically accountable for the obvious double standard. Like this:
Hiltz will continue competing without controversy as a woman, even on days when, as she puts it, she wakes up feeling like a dude. (And what does that mean, exactly? She’s making things up. I can name five distinct sensations I can elicit in my body in the next 30 seconds that she has no hope of replicating in hers, ever, and that's just the surface, gross-but-hilarious stuff I can accomplish using simple rearrangements of my genital meat.) There will be no talk of how abusive it is to force her to compete against women when in reality her urges demand, per Wokism, that she be allowed to race men.
Yet in the other direction, requiring that boys deciding to be girls—be this decision transient (like most) or forever, compete with the boys, is called "abuse"—even when the "girls" have undergone zero hormonal treatment, as is usually the case in high school.
Thus, perhaps without meaning to, Hiltz is affirming what the, uh, “anti-trans bill” advocates have been insisting all along: That sex and gender can be and are distinct, and that the former is the only reliable guide to establishing sports rules.
I believe that Hiltz is absolutely genuine with everything she says, and I mean her no malice; she didn’t invent the framework within which her comments arose. But that isn’t the point, which is, emphatically, that if there isn't evidence of this double standard posted online yet from the usual suspects vis-à-vis Hiltz, there will be by the time my next weekly review is posted.
Speaking of my favorite narcissistic blogger with keys to the New York Times publishing kingdom, here’s the Crousism most often singled out for ridicule last week by brave Beck of the Pack readers:For every American obsessed with transgender athletes and the science around the threat they present to female athletes — here is a more dire threat.
Shannon Watts @shannonrwattsJust like the minimum drinking age, there’s a reason the minimum age to buy a gun should be 21: science and data. Because they lack a developed prefrontal cortex, people aged 18 to 20 year-old are offenders in gun homicides at a rate FOUR TIMES higher than adults 21 and older. https://t.co/xPeTGxDjk7
It’s unclear whether this is an admission that “anti-trans” types are on firm ground, but it’s obvious that it’s another non sequitur, one of the many kinds of rhetorical blunders Crouse makes every time she expresses a thought publicly. A fifth-grader, even the non-game-show-smart kind, knows that the existence of two threats posing unequal levels of harm does not leave the less harmful one inconsequential. Crouse is dumb, but this is a dummy not even trying.
Shannon Watts, by the way, is a “former communications executive” who has parlayed that career into Raising Awareness, and who, fittingly, decided to move to Boulder to make it happen. She was also named a “Badass Woman” by the distinguished social-sciences journal People.
I didn’t want to mention any of the reactions to the Boulder shooting, but since Crouse is an icon among running’s Wokish and immediately took to Twitter to rant about men with guns, it’s only fair to point out example of extreme irony from last Monday’s Fast Women newsletter:
It seems inconvenient that someone who constantly complains that more women are needed to get important, dirty-work things done in the running world wound up writing—if you’ll permit me to paraphrase—”I was paralyzed by inaction, but luckily a white Christian male stepped in and actually did something.” Ordinarily I wouldn’t even notice who did what when the thing done is an act of charity, but people like Wade have made it clear that keeping score is important. Otherwise, we* would have no idea how much they talk about wanting to do things and being glad, but not openly thankful, to see them get done by men.
On March 30, Dyestat published an undisguised hatchet job on a college coach in California by Elizabeth Carey. An athlete on the team was upset that her coach didn’t check in on her after the Boulder shooting—again, the athlete and her school are in California—she decided to unfurl a litany of complaints against the coach.
Carey reveals far more about herself and her concept of journalism than she does about the longtime coach:
I called and texted Guerrero, who has coached at LMU for 23 years, and requested an interview. I wanted to ask him whether he has any regrets about how he has treated athletes under his charge, particularly on the women’s cross country and track team. I wanted to ask: Are you open or willing to change? He declined my request.
I have a professional tip for Ms. Carey: The next time you plan to ask a bunch of leading questions based on foregone conclusions, not conduct an interview, don’t pout when your subject doesn’t do his part to facilitate his own canceling. Too many quiet parts out loud, gang!
This part is also a giveaway:
When she arrived at LMU, Cruz jumped from 30-35 miles per week in high school to 50-60 regularly, with hard workouts, doubles, and 100-minute runs. She has suffered two stress fractures, two stress reactions in her back and two bulging discs.
If you think 50 to 60 miles a week at a collegiate program is an unreasonable expectation, you’re not looking for equal treatment from a male coach; you’re looking for a bizarre form of chivalry. You can find plenty of that from Wokish fellows, but an NCAA varsity athletics program is a bad place to go hunting. For all the real abuse that goes on, the fact remains that distance running is a difficult sport, and even a lot of pretty good high-school athletes are dismally unprepared for the rigors of even an ideally conducted collegiate running program.
Carey wants you to know she’s not trying to hurt anyone with this stuff:
To be clear, not all abuse is sexual in nature or even illegal. But emotional and verbal abuse is detrimental. So is dismissing someone’s heartfelt concern.
Heartfelt concern. To be clear, this woman is a snowflake of the most polished caliber, a quivering little bag of opportunistic noise, but I am not denying her right to exist and be an idiot for Dyestat.
Any real complaints about malignant coaching are being completely swamped by the ongoing roll-call of guys who need to step aside and make room for the geniuses who know that requiring upward of 50 miles a week of an NCAA cross-country runner is not just unrealistic but sadistic.
I admit I didn’t read this one, for the same reason I’d be inclined to skip “Should I Pray for My Safety Twice Before Each Run, Or Is Once Enough?” But I always enjoy the unavoidable—and to me perfectly appropriate—juxtaposition of ads with competing messages on sites like Runner’s World, in this case leading me to wonder if Shrinking Florida Man might want some of his thighs back after consulting Science.
Finally, this video featuring transgender woman and physics teacher Debbie Hayton forms, along with Burfoot’s essay, a nice bookend to the garbage contained between them in this post.
Guyton made headlines in the U.K. when she wore a T-shirt with “TRANS WOMEN ARE MEN” printed on it, which fails to perfectly harmonize with the message emanating from the U.S. running media. If for no other reason that you will never see the perspective of a transgender woman with her opinions promoted by the running media, have a listen. Plus, British accents!
But if you’d rather read her ideas than listen to them, Guyton wrote an essay for The Economist three years ago dealing with the perils of treating facts as feelings in the context of the worldwide “identity” and self-labeling craze (liberals, remember when it was cool to tell religious conservatives that their feelings about evolution and same-sex marriage mattered not in the face of hard facts?).
Based on some of the chatter around the trans-sports bills making their way through various state congresses, folks may be starting to figure out that destruction of the entire status quo, not its negotiated improvement, is the real intent behind these pushes from the fascist, speech-suppressing, prevaricating far left. Even those who fail to properly discern the ill intent underlying Wokism are at least coming around to the idea damage is the result, and I think it’s becoming more clear that, at the level of individual agitators, the fuel is not a desire for inclusion in any useful sense, but really the opposite: This mass, screaming plea for society to accommodate the splatter of other people’s prickly psychological unrest has the underlying aim not of elevating oppressed groups, but of gaining higher status within the pool of individuals making all of the clamor.
If you ask me, and no one in their right mind ever does, women in running have never had it better than in this exact moment, at least the ones using running outlets, social media and personal Web platforms for purposes of self-glorification. While I will never be hurting for writing work, I’m confident no one would pay me or any white male week after week to write misinformed, one-sided, clueless and dishonest nonsense for a supposedly mainstream sports/fitness outlet, especially drivel powered mainly by an inability to tolerate what’s in the literal and figurative mirror. I bet every one of the ones playing this game despised Rush Limbaugh, who helped popularize the grisly tactics they have themselves embraced with orgiastic avidity, and who was last seen being sodomized by a barbed-phallus-wielding feminazi in downtown Hell’s preeminent sound studio.
Notice—and I should be stressing this point more, too—that none of the “pro-equality” jogger-writers, white or otherwise, ever seems to say anything about policies that would actually benefit people of color, especially women: Improved or simply assured access to abortion, an expanded American healthcare system, the buttressing of public education, organized opposition to war instead of occasional yelling about gun violence, real stewardship of the environment rather than quibbling about the ultimate ownership of U.S. land, labor unions and workers’ rights, fartless burritos. The bozos behind most of this avalanche of gibberish already have these things and don’t know what it’s like to be without—it’s not hard to find out where they went to school and where they live, mostly because they mention these details incessantly—and don't care about anything besides medicating their own neuroses, which they attempt chiefly by taking nonstop aim at men and language norms (their dutiful vibrator-polishers excepted).
I’m going with this hypothesis until someone else can better explain why so many people who consider themselves to be in the moral right would rally around so many lies and so much lying at the same time. No such behavior can be explained on the basis of making anything about society better, so it has to boil down to individual motivation. And as the title of this week’s column implies, I don’t think the particulars are a great mystery at all. People tell you who they are, and to expect them to suddenly embrace humility and a journalistic perspective when writing about Bad Men in Running is laughable beyond measure.
If the Wokish malcontents want an internal and unmoored verbal war instead of a battle with neoconservative politicians intended to actually change America for the better for those who feel they don’t have enough, so be it. I'm with 'em—forget everyone else, it’s about me alone! If, instead, this foolishness is as much a journalistic smash-and-grab as it is an airing of a million separate doses of personal unpleasantness, I’m confident the objectively lackluster booty the plunderers are now making off with won't prove worth the eventual punishment.