How to criticize Caitlyn Jenner fairly — and oh, there's a lot to criticize.

A simple tip for tough discussions and disagreements.

Caitlyn Jenner has history of giving troubling sound bites.

In the wake of a shooting attack on Republican members of Congress, Jenner "joked" that "liberals can't even shoot straight." She once told BuzzFeed that, "the hardest part about being a woman is figuring out what to wear." During the 2016 election she said she wanted to be the "trans ambassador" for vehemently anti-LGBTQ politician Ted Cruz.

Take into account her public transition and her connection to the Kardashian family, there's no shortage of people ready and eager to call her out for comments like those.


I'm no fan of her, either. Trust me. Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.

Though we can't know for sure Jenner's intent, her status as a public figure and her habit of saying offensive, inappropriate, and ill-informed things makes life for trans people like me that much harder. She wants to speak for my demographic, and yet, when she opens her mouth, she often says things I vehemently disagree with.

It's embarrassing. It's exhausting.

Also exhausting, however, is the reaction I see play out every time Jenner says something problematic.

For every on-point criticism of whatever it is Jenner said, there are waves of people who respond with transphobic comments and "jokes" that misgender her and refer to her by her old name.

It certainly seems as though many people feel that Jenner saying or doing something awful gives them the green light to let out some general anti-trans feelings on the world — even if by accident.

While those sorts of comments may be directed at her, they send a really unfortunate message to all trans people, implying that being called the correct name and pronoun is a privilege to be "earned" and that can later be revoked in the case of bad behavior.

Those types of comments suggest that the person making them is merely humoring trans people when using our correct pronouns and names instead of taking us at our word when it comes to who we are.

The bottom line is this: Calling Caitlyn Jenner a "man" or using her old name doesn't really address what makes her so objectionable.

There's a name for this kind of bad argument.

It's called "ad hominem," and it's basically when someone comes to an argument to insult someone's character or body as opposed to their ideas. It's a pretty weak way to make a point, and honestly, it often affects more than the intended target.

Calling her a "man" sends a pretty rough message to other trans people. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

So how can you criticize Caitlyn Jenner without being transphobic? Simple: Avoid ad hominem.

After Jenner's comments about the congressional shooting began circulating, here's an exchange I saw take place on Twitter:

One person posted a link to the recent story about her "liberals can't even shoot straight" comments. Out of nowhere, people replied to that tweet calling her a man, saying things about how her "real name" was "Bruce," and lots of stuff that had nothing to do with the stupid thing that she actually said.

A better way to respond would be to criticize her comments as being offensive or inappropriate in the wake of the tragedy she was talking about.

What if you just won't be satisfied unless you can crack a joke? LGBTQ activist Dan Savage pretty much nailed it with his response to her comments: "The liberal black lesbian married cop who took out the shooter got the job done."

Boom. Critical. Funny. Most importantly, not-transphobic.

There's nothing wrong with criticizing Caitlyn Jenner — whether the person doing the criticizing is trans or not.

Just because ad hominem attacks aren't OK doesn't mean Jenner gets some sort of "free pass" to say troubling things unchecked. It doesn't mean she shouldn't be held accountable for her words or that she shouldn't be criticized for her views or politics.

If people feel the need to criticize her for her political views, her charmed reality TV life, or her actions, they absolutely should do that. Believe me, there is plenty there to address.

There's just no need to bring transphobia into it.

Clarification 6/20/2017: A previous version of this post stated Jenner means well with her comments; it was updated to reflect that we don't know her intent.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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