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A comedy of manners
It was no surprise to watch Dave Chappelle push the limits of American property in his latest Netflix special (Lexington, October 16). Flirting with inflammatory rhetoric is the hallmark of his work. So his special, “The Closer,” is peppered with the usual jokes thrown at African Americans, Chinese and Jews and, especially these days, trans people. What was surprising was his support for “the team TERF “, a derogatory term applying to those who argue that trans women are fundamentally not women. Some would call it gender realism. But for many trans people, being a “trans-exclusionist” is denying their right to be themselves, the very right to exist.
Declaring oneself as a trans-exclusive feminist is surely just another type of “group politics” that Lexington describes as “zero-sum and exclusion”. And it was clear who was excluded from Mr. Chappelle’s compassion. There was no punchline. If he was sarcastic, the point was lost. Standing ovations don’t make things good, fair, or fun.
Once upon a time, but not too long ago, a popular position on homosexuality was that same-sex attraction was biologically deviant, domestically pernicious, and deserved to be ridiculed. Discrimination against homosexuals is not extinct, but fortunately the culture has changed.
As a parent of a young trans adult and seeing with my own eyes the challenge and joy of seeing someone I love become more and more truly themselves, I watched “The Closer” with a mixture of understanding and dismay. I applauded the moving story of Mr. Chappelle of Daphne Dorman, a trans woman, and his friendship with her. But Sir Terry Pratchett, a more thoughtful and empathetic social observer, got it right when he said: “Satire is meant to ridicule power. If you make fun of people in pain, it’s not satire, it’s bullying.
I enjoyed Lexington’s perspective on Mr. Chappelle. As a liberal and socially progressive homosexual, I was impressed by The Economistlucid analysis of topics too hot to be covered in most other media, such as transgender rights versus women’s rights and the rise of the “illiberal left”. Mr Chappelle’s new show did not receive good reviews, which is surprising because, as the column pointed out, the waking left’s perspective on transgender issues is a marginal opinion. One wonders why these critics felt compelled to bow to this vocal bangs.
The Spanish right wing
Not once in your entire article on Isabel Díaz Ayuso (“Lady of Liberty”, October 23) did you mention that she could not have become president of the Madrid region without the support of Vox, an anti-feminist far-right party nostalgic for Franco. Ms. Ayuso cannot pass a budget or one of her initiatives without convincing Vox to lend her votes. She has expressed her comfort with Vox on several occasions and adopted his rhetoric.
Kings of the road
I invite all staff of The Economist come to my company and learn to drive a heavy truck (“Only the best”, October 9). We can’t ask people with lots of letters after their names or fancy degrees, but the job of being a heavyweight driver is a lifelong professional learning experience, requiring practical skills, strength of character, emotional intelligence and years of dedicated service. The task of piloting a 44 ton fully loaded heavyweight on UK roads comes a huge responsibility for personal and public safety. A momentary lack of concentration can have fatal consequences. Drivers are responsible for every minute of their workday under an authoritative regulatory and compliance system.
I wonder how many unmistakably qualified writers of your article could pass the test as easily as your article suggests?
Bacton transport services
Voters versus Greens
Ordinary consumers were mostly excluded from Schumpeter’s analysis of introducing a carbon tax to pay for emissions (October 9). Looking at the negative consumer reaction to rising fuel prices in Europe and North America, I wonder to what extent carbon taxes will be sustained as they move from a political concept to a pocket reality. . Consumers are voters too. How will they react when carbon taxes make it harder to travel and enjoy many other things we take for granted today?
Schumpeter believes consumers will adapt their behavior. But governments are doing nothing to educate and prepare them for these future changes. I would expect to see a lot of questioning and challenges regarding carbon taxes, whatever the merits of such an emissions reduction policy.
“Treedemic” (October 9) reported on how the global tree trade is spreading tree diseases in Britain. Attention in Britain has rightly focused on the threat that infected nursery stock poses to forest biosecurity. In fact, treedemic is a global public good dilemma. Without collective action, it will jeopardize society’s best efforts to sequester carbon through forest conservation and initiatives to plant billions of trees.
In the United States alone, the annual loss of biomass due to the destruction of trees easily matches what is lost by fire. Meanwhile, treedemics are poorly studied in the developing world, where more people directly depend on forest resources for their livelihoods and survival. World Trade Organization rules protect against economic protectionism, but do not help protect forest ecosystems from the plagues of trees. As new agreements emerge, scientists must ensure they give climate action a bite by empowering partners to protect forest biosecurity.
Coordinator of the international sentinel network
we Forest service
Your article leaves a particular feeling of sorrow for the lost trees: “the tree”
I noticed that your auction of a non-fungible token for a recent cover raised $ 420,000 for charity (“How our TVN auction ”, October 30). At much less, I acquired my own TVN of The EconomistThe rabbit hole cover of: a frameless tear.
This article appeared in the Letters section of the print edition under the title “On Dave Chappelle, Spain, Truck Drivers, Carbon Taxes, Trees, Our NFT Auction”