This week, we take a focused look at how the West’s most destructive superstition can grip the mind of even the most strident “rationalist,” and what that means for those of us who don’t partake in the séance.
Penn Jillette, the tall half of the hugely successful magician duo Penn & Teller, is one of the entertainment industry’s most outspoken atheists. For decades, Jillette has smugly condemned all manner of religious, psychic, and pseudoscientific irrationality. He also has a fan base on the right, because as a self-described libertarian, Jillette’s often mused about how “taxation is theft” and government compulsion is bad.
Penn Jillette: a man with no gods, including government. A man who falls for no (to use the title of his Showtime series) “bullshit.”
Then his teenage daughter decided that she’s a man. And the world witnessed how quickly the “smug” vanishes from the rationalist when the bullshit hits too close to home.
About a year or so ago, Jillette’s daughter, Moxie Crimefighter (yes, that’s her name), decided that she’d been “assigned the wrong sex at birth.” And she demanded that her parents no longer use female pronouns for her, like, ever.
Back in 2014, Jillette bragged on his podcast about how he’d raised Moxie to “laugh at God.”
There’s an old saying I just coined: “When you laugh at God, He laughs back and best.” Because now Jillette—Mr. “no pseudoscience,” Mr. “no cults or flimflam”—has become the spokesperson for the biggest pseudoscientific cultlike flimflam of the 21st century. The guy who’s spent a career deconstructing magic (“no, the bouquet of flowers didn’t actually become a rabbit; it was sleight of hand”) is now a true believer that a girl can actually become a boy overnight, by the sheer power of mentalism!
In theory, none of this is our concern. What transpires in the Jillette household is solely the business of the Jillettes.
But Penn makes it our business.
As part of Jillette’s conversion to spiritualist, he’s publicly renounced his libertarianism (on CNN, no less!), he’s embraced burdensome government, and he’s thrown his support full-throttle behind Joe Biden and Gavin Newsom as they promote policies that strong-arm us to “see” Jillette’s spooks and spirits (Newsom in particular is arguably the most “compulsory” politico in the country when it comes to forcing people to accept tranny theology). Jillette supports politicians who want to force girls to shower, change, and go to the bathroom alongside biological boys. Those same politicians have eliminated cervical cancer smear test outreaches to women (because it’s a hate crime to say that only women have a cervix), and the Mayo Clinic—joining the madness—has scrubbed its cervical cancer awareness page of any mention of women.
To be clear, women will die from the elimination of targeted cervical cancer outreach, and girls will be, and have been, raped by boys playing tranny to infiltrate the girls’ bathroom. Jillette used to be a campaigner against “psychic surgeon” frauds who endanger people by pretending to cure their disease, thus prompting them to neglect legitimate treatment. Yet now he supports politicians who put women at risk because of a belief system no less irrational than psychic healing.
Jillette’s also pledged to ban gender pronouns from his CW series Fool Us:
I have tried to eliminate all gender pronouns from our show. That’s very difficult for me, because I’m uneducated. I have that autodidact, irritating quality of reading old grammar books. So it’s very difficult for me to use third-person plural as third-person singular, but I’ve done it. I used to say he or she a lot, but I learned the binary gender thing was impolite and inconsiderate.
Dude’s apologizing for being erudite (he literally says being well versed in grammar means being “uneducated”).
Jillette’s also stopped using the term “female magicians” in favor of “people who self-identify as women in magic” (that’s not even remotely cumbersome). And most batshit of all, he supports the use of “gender-free playing cards,” in which king, queen, and jack are replaced by “gold, silver, and bronze.” It’s not even clear to me why a tranny would be disturbed by a face card; if boys who think they’re girls really are girls, and if girls who think they’re boys really are boys, then what’s offensive about seeing a female queen and a male king? They can identify with whichever one they feel like that day.
Yet Jillette asks no such questions (the “man of logic” is long gone). It’s not possible to overstate the magnitude of the “genderless deck” thing. Here’s a fella who’s devoted his life to magic, not just as a practitioner, but a historian. And yet he favors altering something that’s not only fundamental to his field but historical.
This is cultlike behavior; there’s no other way to put it. He’s obviously a loving father, but in his desire to support his daughter, he’s undergone a personality change. That’s not being a supportive dad; that’s being brainwashed.
Jillette’s podcast, titled Sunday School to mock Christians, has ironically become an actual pulpit, a place where he can preach tranny theology and flagellate himself as a sinner. “Our dinner table conversation is I would say at least one-quarter correcting pronouns,” Jillette revealed on a recent episode, castigating himself for still occasionally calling Moxie “she.” When his cohost responded, “Well, at least it sounds like your children respect the effort,” Jillette, reproaching himself for his failures, bitterly replied, “Maybe I should just do it fuckin’ right.”
Jillette also apologized for having trouble with the proper pronouns for Moxie’s friends, who “have they, him, her, and it and some of them change day by day.” That’s a startling admission (though Jillette’s too blind to understand why): How committed to the bit are these kids if they “change day by day”? It’s one thing to claim that a girl suddenly discovers the boy living within. That’s nutty enough. But changing “day by day” suggests unseriousness. Yet Jillette supports authoritarian politicians who want to remake society based purely on the “day by day” whims of children.
It’s instructive to recall that six years ago I interviewed a trans activist I’d known since childhood, and I reminded her about a dear mutual friend who was almost raped in the girls’ bathroom at our school. The rape was interrupted by a teacher who saw the rapist enter and ran over to enforce the school’s “no boys in the girls’ room” policy. With boys now welcome in whatever bathroom they “identify” with, I asked the activist, “What’s going to stop assaults like the one our friend endured?”
Her response? “It’s not like suddenly a child is going to school all boy, masculine, maybe even in sports, and then comes to school in a dress declaring they are now a girl. When a child is trans, they know from the get-go. These are not just any boys who declare, ‘I’m a girl now!’”
I knew that answer was bullshit, and Jillette inadvertently confirms that with his “day by day” observation.
On another podcast episode, Jillette condemned Moxie’s grandma for “fucking up the pronouns,” and he called himself “stupid as soil samples” for committing similar infractions.
Tell me that’s not cultish. Cults are all about making you condemn yourself (for your old sinful ways), your family, and your profession. Cults are about forcing renunciation and rebirth. It’s what authors Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman call “snapping.”
Here’s an example of the extent to which Jillette has “snapped”:
In 2014, he was called out by a Muslim journalist for trolling the musician formerly known as Cat Stevens on Twitter, purposely using his “dead name” and not his Muslim name (Yusuf Islam). I’m no fan of Muslims, but to be fair the guy’s been Yusuf Islam since 1977, and Cat Stevens was a stage name anyway.
“Would be nice if you called him by the name he wants to be called,” journalist Shakeel Hashim tweeted to Jillette.
“I think it’s funny to use that name. I do not respect this decision in any way,” Jillette replied.
Jillette basically said, “I do not respect this person’s choice to change his name and identity. In fact, I find it funny.”
But that was back when Jillette was a “skeptic.” Before the cult got him. Indeed, I’d argue that the tranny cult is worse than any religious cult, because it lacks the concept of a loving God. There’s no hope of redemption; only the promise of more haranguing and correction.
As Conway and Siegelman point out, most people “snap” because an emotional weakness is exploited, or because something happens in their life that “disrupts continuity.” The tranny cult got to Jillette through his child, through his obvious love for her, and through the continuity break that occurred when the girl he raised declared she’s not a girl. That’s how they hooked an otherwise intelligent 66-year-old man. But the cult demands more than that he just accept and love his daughter; he needs to cleanse himself of disbelief, and he needs to back politicians who strive to cleanse us.
Many on the right tend to think that the tranny cult targets kids in order to estrange them from their families. And in many cases, that’s true. But as the Jillette example starkly illustrates, hooking the kids can be an effective way to hook the parents. Brainwashing can flow upstream. A loving parent (like Jillette) accepts pseudoscience (a person can think themselves into changing their biological sex). In accepting this as truth, it logically follows that those who disagree—those who see childish fad and body dysmorphia, not “assigned sex vs. willed sex”—are harmful to “trans” children. So they must be stopped.
And that’s how you pull off the magic trick of turning a cynical libertarian into a woke social justice true believer who supports politicians who use all manner of force and coercion in the name of enforcing tranny dogma.
Several weeks ago in a Twitter thread discussing my column (and hey, follow me on Twitter before I get banned!), I was reminded that in Psychopathology of Everyday Life, Freud observed that social pressure to avoid saying something can lead to people no longer thinking the thing they’re not supposed to say. In other words, the mind conforms to the boundaries. We simply stop thinking things we know we can’t speak aloud.
The self-washing brain.
Parents seeking to patronize a child immersed in tranny faddism will soon stop thinking what they’re not allowed to say. Privately harbored skepticism will vanish the longer it isn’t allowed to be verbalized. And soon enough, you have converts. Old knowledge of gender reality is lost, replaced by the cult’s redefinition.
On Fool Us, Penn & Teller award a trophy to any magician who can fool them.
Penn deserves the biggest trophy of all…the dude literally fooled himself.
An impressive achievement, and one that certainly excites those who wish to remake America…just as it depresses the remaining anti-cult holdouts who still cling to the term “rationalist” like it means something.
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