Clay Travis is using a school shooting to promote transphobia

Clay Travis is using a school shooting to promote transphobia

The reality of this world is that everyone with influence is not going to treat it with the respect that they should. Influence is a form of power. Of the many lessons I’ve learned in ⅓ of a century on this planet is that when people finally grasp a bit of power, many of them have only two goals: To wield it, and to acquire more. It’s why separation of powers is a major theme in the United States Constitution. The Founding Fathers were a hugely flawed group, but at least they were self-aware enough to know that they should not be allowed to operate without checks and balances. They knew that in a world that can produce people like Clay Travis, power heavily concentrated in one place can prove disastrous.

As far as I know, Travis, a right-wing nutjob, doesn’t own any slaves so that is certainly an advantage that he has over the Founding Fathers. He is also not a raging dictator like Vladimir Putin who has helped to destabilize the world economy by invading a neighboring country. Travis’ power is his influence. He is a well-known media personality, who is also a huckster. What his disingenuousness does have in common though with the Founding Fathers and Putin is that he does cause real harm.

Some of Travis’ antics are simple hating. Like many media outlets, his company created a bracket to go along with the March Madness that fans can vote on — possibly for the last time because Elon Musk’s latest eyes-closed haymaker is to only allow blue-check subscribers to interact with the polls. The bracket Travis’ outlet chose to put together is “wokest” media member. Because of course critical thinking, empathy, and self-awareness are poor qualities in a mass communication professional.

That bracket is pathetic but what he has done lately is sickening, albeit on brand. In the wake of the massacre at The Covenant School in Nashville, it was discovered that the shooter — Aidan Hale, a trans man, who was ID’d by the police as Audrey Hale — was assigned female at birth and used “male pronouns” on social media, police told CNN. (A source told the Daily Beast that Hale announced she was transgender, identifying as he/him.”)

[Editor’s note: Here’s some news about the church attached to the school.]

On Thursday, he tweeted out a clip of White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre answering a question about the governor of Kentucky vetoing a bill that would have restricted gender affirming-care and bathroom usage — sans the question of course. The clip Travis sent out ends with Pierre saying “It is disturbing. And our hearts go out to those — the trans community who are under attack right now.”

On-brand response

Travis quote tweeted the clip with the response, “A trans person killed six people at a religious school in Nashville. Now KJP says it’s shameful that trans people are under attack. If the narrative doesn’t fit them, they just lie.

Earlier in the week Travis discussed the shooting on his radio program in which he referenced President Joe Biden talking about restoring the soul of a nation.

“Wouldn’t that include talking about crazy trans people who are attacking religious people?” this asshole pondered.

Yes, Travis was so proud of that hateful transphobic sewage that he put art behind it.

If a crime is committed by someone from a group of people that his audience is against, then all of a sudden the fact that the crime was committed by someone other than a cisgender white person needs to be highlighted. I don’t know how many transgender people have committed mass murder. I do know, however, that per a UCLA study, transgender people are four times as likely to be the victim of a violent crime than cisgender people. Also, a record 57 transgender or gender nonconforming people were shot to death in 2021.

Every single mass shooting has one obvious and significant similarity: A firearm was used to kill all of those people.

But when Beto O’Rourke confronted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott following the massacre in Uvalde about the state’s lax gun laws, Travis called him an embarrassment. Someone who is transgender shoots up a school and Travis says “crazy trans people” are a problem that deserves attention from the federal government. Gun violence is the leading cause of death among young people in America, but addressing that point is playing politics.

This alt-right troll voted Democrat until Orange Man

These are the types of viewpoints that come from a person who doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously. He makes all of the typical far right-wing arguments, but he never even voted Republican until 2020 and voted for Obama twice.

In 2016 he was critical of Chris Broussard’s comments when former NBA Jason Collins came out. For those of you evangelical folks who might enjoy Travis’ viewpoints on Fox News, he wrote in that piece: “Odds are a hundred years from now, many churches will finally apologize for their stance on homosexuality, rendering Broussard’s blind faith in their present position completely and totally obsolete.”

Travis has a law degree from Vanderbilt. His first job out of school was with a law firm in the Virgin Islands. While there, he was upset that he couldn’t access NFL Sunday Ticket. As a form of protest, he vowed to eat only pudding snacks until he could watch the former DirecTV service. It didn’t work but he received national attention and jump-started his sports media career.

He would later stop practicing law, go back to Vanderbilt, and earn an MFA in writing. Travis would go on to write a few books. Dixieland Delight was his first. It was about a season in which he followed the Tennessee Volunteers football team with no tickets or hotel reservations. It received a positive review from Dan Wetzel. His second book was titled Man: The Book. It’s supposed to be humorous. All of the jokes are about how women are useless except for sex, and how fun it is to be mean to them.

“191. A woman’s self-esteem is like a roller coaster: the faster it drops, the more fun you have. “

“184. Libraries and hospitals are the two hardest places to pick up chicks. This is because women are usually sober and/or dying. At a library, wait in the self-help aisle until a hot chick walks by and then cry while you read some book called What She Really Means: Understanding Women and Their Mangled Vaginas. At a hospital, go straight for the rape victims and offer your protection. Cha-ching.”

“227. If you first see her in a bathing suit at a water park with her family, she is too young … so you probably don’t need a condom.”

Maybe most of the quips were satirical comments from an unfunny young man in the aughts, but in his late 30s he did say on CNN in 2017 that he believes “in only two things completely, the First Amendment and boobs.”

Very little Travis’ from Travis’ career has provided reason to take him seriously on topics that involve life and death. The pudding thing was mildly amusing, but his sense of humor is that of a 13-year-old in 1992. His social commentary is disingenuous at best and incendiary at worst.

He is the worst possible person with a platform. Someone with influence and no desire to do anything but snort it. This is a highly educated man who has gone from publishing hate in a way he would consider “in jest” to letting it fly in real-time from his lips and fingers.

Travis is out here grifting on serious issues. There is a crisis in the country of children dying at the hands of firearms and he is out here shifting the blame to a group of people who already have to fear for their safety far more than Travis ever will. He will continue to hurl straw men and red herrings all day from his ivory tower, and then if one of his fans hurts someone he will go straight to the Pontius Pilate playbook.

Being alive is not easy. Self-preservation is an instinct that humans need just as much of as lions and gazelles. We all either have to look out for ourselves, or be fortunate enough to have someone in our lives who can handle that job for two people.

What we don’t have to do is instigate and manipulate, but those talents come naturally to some people. A couple of skills that will always keep someone well fed, and the power of influence in the wrong hands.

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.