Transgender Activist Not Sure About Life Of Brian Sketch
John Man has recently been won over to the transgender cause. Though not transgender himself, he did watch every episode of that great new show Transparent and found that he had a lot of empathy for Jeffrey Tambor’s subtle and nuanced performance as a transgender MtF coming out to his three adult children.
“Transgender rights are the latest front in the ongoing battle for equality,” he said. “That’s my most popular tweet by far.”
Last week he had something of a spiritual crisis as he watched the classic comedy, Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Early in the film, one of the characters expresses his desire to make the transition from a man to a woman, but is roundly scorned by his colleague John Cleese from the People’s Front of Judea.
“I laughed at the joke just as I always have,” said Man, “but then I felt kind of weird about it. What if instead of Eric Idle saying he wanted to be a woman it was actually Jeffrey Tambor? Would I have laughed then? I’m not so sure.”
Man gradually realised that, though hilarious, the scene treats transgender rights as an obvious joke. “On one hand it does rely on exactly the sort of outdated and offensive gender identity politics that my generation keenly abhors,” he said. “But on the other hand, it is pretty funny when John Cleese gets all angry and says ‘where is your baby going to gestate? In a box?’ Brilliant.”
Sally McNally, local talker, also thinks the scene is funny because she watched it as a teenager. “It’s not offensive for me to laugh at it,” she said. “I mean, I refer to myself as cisgendered so, you know, I understand. Plus it’s so funny when John Cleese gets all upset and says ‘what’s the point?’ Classic.”
After much consideration, Man decided that it couldn’t possibly be a bad thing to laugh at a joke that he has already enjoyed harmlessly for so many years. “It’s not prejudice if it’s the sort of thing you grew up with,” he said. “It’s only prejudice if it’s the sort of thing your parents grew up with. Plus, it’s so funny when John Cleese is all like ‘it’s a symbol of his struggle against reality.’ Hahaha. That’s so timeless to me right now.”