Abbott and Costello Meet Gender Confusion

Who’s on first, but who’s minding the schools?

William Kilpatrick is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.  His books include Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West (Ignatius Press), What Catholics Need to Know About Islam (Sophia Press), and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Jihad.

A Wisconsin school district has charged a 13-year-old boy with sexual harassment for using the wrong pronoun when addressing a trans student.

Coincidentally, I recently came across an old Abbott and Costello skit that seems apropos of the situation. Unfortunately, the skit was cancelled by the duo’s producers because they considered it too absurd. Here’s the text:

ABBOTT: Did you see this story in the paper about the boy who was charged with sexual harassment?

COSTELLO: What did he do?

ABBOTT: He used the wrong pronoun.

COSTELLO: What d’ya mean?

ABBOTT: I mean he called a boy “him.”

COSTELLO: But “him”’s the right pronoun.

ABBOTT: Nah. The other boy was a girl.

COSTELLO: I thought you said he was a boy.

ABBOTT: He used to be a boy, but now he’s a girl.

COSTELLO: Jeez! How did he do that?

ABBOTT: He says he feels like a girl, so now he’s a girl. So, he has a right to be called “her.”

COSTELLO: What’s her name?

ABBOTT: Sam.

COSTELLO: But I thought he was a girl?

ABBOTT: Sam is her old name. Now he wants to be called Samantha. So, if the other boy doesn’t call him, “her,” he’s guilty of misgendering.

COSTELLO: Wait a minute. Who’s Miss Gendering? You never mentioned her before.

ABBOTT: What’s the matter with you? Don’t you keep up with the news? “Misgendering” is when you use the wrong pronoun. It’s a crime.

COSTELLO: What’s the name of the boy who committed the crime?

ABBOTT: His name is Leslie.

COSTELLO: But Leslie is a girl’s name.

ABBOTT: Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t.

COSTELLO: You mean when Leslie feels like a girl you have to call him Leslie and when he feels like a boy you have to call him Leslie?

ABBOTT: Of course.

COSTELLO: Oh brother! This is confusing.

ABBOTT: It’s just a matter of keeping your pronouns straight. When Leslie feels like a girl you have to call him “her,” and when he feels like a boy you have to call her “him.” Got it?

COSTELLO: Who’s “it”?

ABBOTT: “It” is the pronoun you use when Leslie thinks he’s a mail box.

COSTELLO: But what if he thinks he’s a female box?

ABBOTT: What are you? A wise guy? This is serious stuff. If Leslie uses the wrong pronoun, he can be expelled from junior high.

COSTELLO: You mean if he uses the right pronoun, he gets expelled?

ABBOTT: That’s right, because the right pronoun is the wrong pronoun.

COSTELLO: What does Leslie’s mother say?

ABBOTT: She’s going to sue the school for making her son use the wrong pronoun.

COSTELLO: What’s her name?

ABBOTT: Sue.

COSTELLO: Wait—a—minute!  You mean Sue is going to sue because Leslie called Samantha, Sam, and the school wants Leslie to call Sam, Samantha because Miss Gendering might get upset if he uses the right pronoun?

ABBOTT: No. Only if he uses the wrong pronoun. The right pronoun is the wrong pronoun. See?

COSTELLO: Sheesh! This hurts my head. Who can figure it out?

ABBOTT: No, he can’t. Who’s on first. He’s too busy keeping the drag queens from stealing all the bases.

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