The Breasted Gent and what to call him

The pseudosex delusion of transgenderism, and public deference toward it, is a symptom of the opium den contemporary popular culture has become. We live with simulation in so many aspect of our lives, from politics to entertainment. Fake realities become ever more seductive. Illustrating the simplest level of purchased fantasy, Omaha’s Lied Jungle, an artificial indoor rain forest, passes as the real thing.

The New York Botanical Gardens hired a set designer to “reimagine” Frida Kahlo’s Mexican garden. Visitors can masquerade with a “Frida Selfie.” The painter’s relationship with Trotsky is more instructive than her plants. But people come for spectacle, not understanding. A product of expanding publicity over the last twenty-five years, Fridamania sells.

Our era’s tilt toward unreality is fueled by increasing layers of illusion: virtual identities, cyber-selves, video gaming, all-enveloping multi-modal simulation. The production of experiences — sensory and psychic immersion in invented realities — keeps customers coming. Even The Weather Channel offers users the means to create their “personal weather experience.”