Jokes expose underlying truths about identity politics.

I’ll stipulate that comedian Sebastian Maniscalco’s story about a kindergartener who identifies as a lion is likely not true, but the exaggeration provides a useful framing, nonetheless:

AleksDjuricic: Speaking of comedy to move the masses. Sebastian Maniscalco comments on the kid that identifies as a lion in his child’s class.

One of the kill-move cheats of progressives is to pose the question, of these identity politics instances, “How does it affect you?”  Appealing to Americans’ live-and-let-live sensibility, that theme arguably won the day for the same-sex marriage movement.

It’s psychological manipulation and a rhetorical trick, though, because it holds things at a superficial and momentary level.  If this particular lion is disrupting class, then he simply has to be tamed; it can’t be taken (advocates would say) as a condemnation of all human-lions.  If other students are distracted simply by the fact of the presence of a lion-identifier, then they simply have to get over it.  If all students begin insisting that they are their favorite animals, then the adults simply should accept that there’s no harm in that.

Even these silly arguments are a distraction, though.  If a kindergartener’s classmate can identify as a lion, with everybody required to play along, it becomes impossible to teach unequivocally that lions are dangerous, and there’s sometimes justification for shooting them.  To be sure, American kindergarteners are exceedingly unlikely to encounter a real lion that can reach them, but the point is that we make distinctions for important reasons, even if the average person can’t articulate them on the spot.

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