January 25, 2014

Time for a Bonfire of the Insensitivities

Some entries on Wikipedia are too long-form for 2014 sensibilities. For example: 
Twentieth Century Motor Car Corporation

Not to be confused with the "Twentieth Century Motor Company", a fictional corporation in "Atlas Shrugged". 
Founded 1974
Defunct 1978

Key people Dale Clifft 
Geraldine Elizabeth Carmichael

The Twentieth Century Motor Car Corporation was an automobile company started by entrepreneur Geraldine Elizabeth Carmichael in 1974. The company's flagship vehicle was the Dale, a prototype three-wheeled two-seater sports car designed and built by Dale Clifft. It was powered by an 850 cc air-cooled engine and featured a claimed 70 mpg-US (3.4 L/100 km; 84 mpg-imp) fuel economy and a $2,000 (in 1974 US dollars) price, which were popular specifications during the mid 1970's US fuel crisis.[1] 
Carmichael, 37 in 1974, claimed to be the widow of a NASA structural engineer, a mother of five, and a farm girl from Indiana.[2] ...
... Speaking to the Chicago Sun-Times in November 1974, Carmichael said she was on the way to taking on General Motors or any other car manufacturer for that matter.[2] She said she had millions of dollars in backing "from private parties", and also talked of a 150,000 sq ft (14,000 m2) assembly plant in Burbank, California and over 100 employees on the rolls.[2] 
The Dale was also marketed as being high-tech, lightweight, yet safer than any existing car at the time.[1] "By eliminating a wheel in the rear, we saved 300 pounds and knocked more than $300 from the car's price. The Dale is 190 inches long, 51 inches high, and weighs less than 1,000 pounds", said Carmichael. She maintained that the car's lightness did not affect its stability or safety. The low center of gravity always remained inside the triangle of the three wheels making it nearly impossible for it to tip over.[2] She also went on record to say that she drove it into a wall at 30 miles per hour (48 km/h) and there was no structural damage to the car (or her). ... 

That's all very fine, but what could possibly justify the following paragraphs in Wikipedia's Liz Carmichael entry?
After having received money from investors, purportedly for the development and marketing of the Dale car, Carmichael disappeared and the funds were unaccounted for. She was charged with grand theft, fraud, and securities violations. During her trial, Clifft stated that he still believed in Carmichael and expected large royalties once the car would go into production. In fact, he received only $1001 and a bad check. 
Following her arrest, it was discovered that Carmichael's given birth name was Jerry Dean Michael, which was still her legal name, and that she was initially identified as a male. He married the former Vivian Barrett while still living as a man and they were the parents of five children. Michael stated he had undergone hormone therapy and was in the process of completing sex reassignment. Michael had previously been charged by the FBI (when living as a male) for alleged involvement in a counterfeiting operation; he had been released on bail and never appeared for trial. 
After his arrest related to the Dale car, Michael's bail was paid by a news station that was guaranteed the rights to his story. He subsequently jumped bail and remained at large until the airing of an Unsolved Mysteries episode in 1989. The episode revealed that Michael had been working as a flower vendor in Dale, Texas by the name of Kathryn Elizabeth Johnson. 
Isn't it scandalous that back then, people believed in outmoded concepts like the Public's Right to Know? (Apparently, a few people today still think that way today. Time to get 'em.)

For example, here's a 1975 People magazine article. All existing copies of this monumentally insensitive article should be publicly burned:
April 28, 1975 Vol. 3 No. 16 
She Really Is a He: The Bizarre Liz Carmichael Auto Caper

When dream-car hypester Liz Carmichael went on the lam charged with defrauding her investors, police were puzzled to discover wigs, hair remover and well-padded bras in the abandoned $100,000 home the self-styled "widow" had shared with five children in Dallas (PEOPLE, March 10).  
Now the mystery has been dramatically cleared up. Liz was nabbed by the FBI climbing through the window of a rented Miami house clad in a pink checked pants suit. The fingerprints clinched it: she was a he. Liz was disclosed to be one Jerry Dean Michael, 47, a fugitive from justice since 1961.  
Many of the details of the masquerade remain murky, but apparently the 6', 175-pound Michael passed himself off as Liz Carmichael for 13 years. He evidently derived as much pleasure from his tightrope walk between sexual identities as from his numerous scams to relieve the public of loose cash—most recently as head of the Twentieth Century Motor Corp.  
As Liz Carmichael, Michael often boasted that he would "rule the auto industry like a queen" with a cheap, gas-economizing car called the Dale. Now he is wanted for questioning in connection with phony real estate sales, counterfeiting and gun running—not to mention the dream car.  
What about the five kids? Jerry Michael owns up to fathering them all. Vivian Barrett Michael—the woman Jerry married in 1959 and whom "Liz" was in the habit of introducing as her secretary—is the mother of the brood. "We love her just as much as we loved him. The children call her Mother Liz and me just plain Mother," attests Vivian of her husband, who last week said he is a transsexual who has had a sex change operation. Upon capture Jerry Michael insisted that for all the misadventures he is accused of, the dream car can live up to its 70 mpg claim. "I believe 100 percent in this car," claims the 50 percent man. 

And if public article and book-burnings a la Savonarola's Bonfire of the Vanities aren't enough to get the message across, a few public reporter-burnings pour encourager le autres should do the trick.

It's the least we can do for the poor, oppressed Liz Carmichaels of this world. As you know, the most important social justice project of the 21st Century is the War on Noticing, because noticing can interfere with America's most important human rights issue: that conmen sorry, con artists be wholly unimpeded in getting away with their diversity-related cons.


Anonymous said...

If a longform piece on Dr. V had avoided the scandalous stuff while a shortform piece on him had included the scandalous stuff, PC would have attacked shortform for not offering sufficient context to explain V's behavior.

Anonymous said...

If PC stuff was written with pen and anti-PC stuff was written with pencil, pencil would be blamed.

Anonymous said...

I just shake my head and what has become of a great nation and, for that matter, the West.

I'm beginning to feel like Dennis Miller has it right in this regard. After the reelection of the Kenyan Kid, he rhetorically shrugged. We're headed to hell in a handbasket and dwelling on such things only takes away from the great joys of life. Live out your days avoiding people who talk of transphobia and World War G/T. It's not worth it. We've lost.

kh123 said...

What with all the talk of trannies, journalism and con-artistry, was wondering when you'd get to this.

Anonymous said...

Off topic but apropos of your commentary on the "greed is good" era:


Anonymous said...

Memories of Leon.

Noob Saibot said...

"We're headed to hell in a handbasket and dwelling on such things only takes away from the great joys of life. Live out your days avoiding people who talk of transphobia and World War G/T. It's not worth it. We've lost."

LOL, do you guys actually hear yourselves talking?

Norman Bates said...

I was also a bit misunderstood, when ya think about it

never let a Chrysler go to waste said...

American auto industry has always been kind of a mad scientist's laboratory of democracy.

Godwin singularity said...

Only problem with that Daily Mail headline is they call it an "article" when it's a letter to the editor. Read that section over any given week, you'll detect a relish for letters that make the writer appear foolish (assuming the copy editors are faithfully parsing them).

Whiskey said...

Shark Jumping, Fridge Nuking, Peak, Bubble reaching moments of excess. When people go nuts over stuff like that, you can bet the moral panic is ending.

Which ironically is the point the South Park guys make over and over again in their show. My guess is they got a good dose of moral panics in the late 80's and early 90's and got sick of it, and get only sicker getting it in Entertainment.

About half to three quarters of South Park shows are the same formula: Parents get involved in some idiot moral crusade, things go to icky and funny excess, Kyle and Stan make a stand to stop it while Cartman sides with idiocy for "funny" reasons (greed, duplicitous nature, etc.) and a crisis brings the town/parents to their senses.

This is about like the episode where the family moves to San Francisco and everyone bends over to smell their own farts.

And the ending is likely when the moral panic ends up hitting someone powerful.

The Salem Witch trials just STOPPED dead bang when the girls accused the wife of the Governor of witchcraft. Its all fun and games until someone POWERFUL gets hurt.

And that makes Scandinavian/Puritan/New England culture far different than say, Italian or French culture. It is taken for granted in Italy that any moral crusade is something aimed at separating the gullible from their money. No one trusts anyone and least of all the authorities (who here lead moral crusades). In Italy any kind of moralism on TV and in print would have people wondering who got paid off and what the scam was.

The moral crusades are an inherent side effect of high trust. Don't worry -- that will go away too soon.

Anon87 said...

Steve, you shouldn't have noticed this Wikipedia entry!

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised a homo would name the car "Dale".

SMERSH said...

"Live out your days avoiding people who talk of transphobia and World War G/T. It's not worth it. We've lost."

We're still here and the left is running out of victim groups to liberate.

Trannies are like 0.2% of the population or something, they're scraping the bottom of the barrel here.

What comes after they run out of groups to liberate?

ben tillman said...

Yeah, those pictures very obviously depict man.

Anonymous said...

"Trannies are like 0.2% of the population or something, they're scraping the bottom of the barrel here.

What comes after they run out of groups to liberate?"

But that's just it. They never run out of people to liberate. In order to win elections, they trot out some soft focus story about some marginalized group mistreated or forgotten - see 30 year old Georgetown Law students who need subsidized birth control.

30 years ago, heck 30 months ago, did anyone think transphobia was a thing? They never stop. Ever. They're like sharks. And they always win.

Low information voters succumb to arguments like - Republicans want to put transgender black Inuit little people back on the street - because we live in an age of Buzzfeed and Upworthy driven information gathering.

Anonymous said...

Without going into detail, the remote rural part of Scotland in which I live contained precisely one M2F transgendered person.

That person is now in prison for a violent crime.

Perhaps some help other than a sex change would be better for all concerned.

Mind you I'll bet he/she is popular in prison.


Anonymous said...

Reserve your own 3 wheeler before they are all sold out.

American Made - Eco-Friendly

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Anonymous said...

Liz Car[Michael] for the auto company--wonder if there was a Liz Timeshare[Michael] for the real estate scams. And naming the car The Dale, after the poor engineer sap. Reality really is more shameless than the corniest shlock screenwriter.

ben tillman said...

30 years ago, heck 30 months ago, did anyone think transphobia was a thing? They never stop. Ever. They're like sharks. And they always win.

That is because they're organized, and we're not. And the glue that holds them together is an intelligent, wealthy, organized ethnic community.