The Cult of Caitlyn Jenner
By Mark Judge in Accultureated
The transformation is not about the victim. It’s about us, the watchers.
That was one of the most poignant moments in the novel The Exorcist, William Blatty’s masterpiece of horror. The two priests who are performing the rite of exorcism are exhausted, and during a break one asks the other: Why? Why does the diabolical horrify us by mongrelizing a beautiful person?
The point, the elder priest replies, is not about the person possessed—it’s about us, the onlookers. It’s to convince us that we are animalistic and not worthy of God’s love. It has very little to do with the possessed girl. This scene taps into an explanation for the phenomenon that is Caitlyn Jenner.
Homosexuals and transgendered people are nothing new. One of my favorite books when I was in college in the 1980s was The Naked Civil Servant, the autobiography of Quentin Crisp, a British man who dared to be a Caitlyn as early as the 1920s. In the 1970s there was Renée Richards, like Jenner a male athlete who transitioned to female.
No, this stuff is not new. What is new is the reaction of the onlookers. As with the witnesses in The Exorcist, we are judging ourselves, and being judged by others, depending on our reaction to the transformation we are witnessing—in this case the transformation of a former Olympic gold medal athlete into a sixty-five year-old woman in a corset. Either we celebrate the new female Jenner—ambivalence is not acceptable, one must praise—or we reject that this man is now a woman, and thus cast ourselves out of polite society, making ourselves unworthy of the love of the modern religion of narcissistic liberalism. Liberalism, particularly liberalism of the sexual revolution variety, is a religion, and the Jenner event is the equivalent of an apparition in the Catholic Church. Either we see and believe and are holy ourselves, or we are doubters, skeptics, heretics outside the circle of divine love.
This religious aspect is what makes the disciples of Caitlyn Jenner and the new cult of mutable sexuality so obnoxious—and dangerous. Journalist Brendan O’Neill touched on it in a column about Jenner in The Spectator:
The [Vanity Fair] photo [of Jenner] is indeed iconic. And not just in the shallow celeb meaning of that word. It’s iconic in the traditional sense, too, in that it’s being venerated as an actual icon, a devotional image of an apparently holy human. It’s an image we’re all expected to bow down to, whose essential truth we must imbibe; an image you question or ridicule at your peril, with those who refuse to genuflect before it facing excommunication from polite society. Yesterday’s Jennermania confirms how weirdly authoritarian, even idolatrous, trans politics has become.
Bingo. The most dangerous political movements, from the occult influence of the Third Reich to messianic Marxism, always have a scaffolding of religious self-righteousness supporting them. It’s not enough to demand tolerance and equal treatment before the law; others must be converted and heretics must be shamed. When Jenner’s wife Kris expresses shock that her husband is now a woman, she is savaged in the comments section of a popular magazine. (Of course, it’s hard to pity Kris Jenner, who has made millions of dollars airing the Kardashian family laundry in public). A twitter bot is automatically changing Jenner’s pronoun from “he” to “she.” The pagan unbelievers must be cleansed. This is not unlike orthodox Christian preachers balking at any mention of God as a female.
I will not be calling Caitlyn Jenner a woman. Not because I don’t sympathize with Jenner’s struggle or think he’s not a nice guy—in fact, he seems much less bullying than his supporters. I will look on him as the priests looked upon Regan, the poor possessed girl in The Exorcist. No matter what the demonic legion in the media says about it, or demands that I say about it, I will not bow to the Cult of Caitlyn. Because Caitlyn Jenner is not a god. He is a man.