On stories, and being different

Nanette – by Hannah Gadsby. Selected bits from the transcript.

“[D]o you understand what self-deprecation means when it comes from  somebody who already exists in the margins? It’s not humility. It’s humiliation. I put myself down in order to speak, in order to seek permission… to speak. And I simply will not do that anymore. Not to myself or anybody who identifies with me.”

“you do not get to just flick a switch on that. No, what you do is you internalize … and you learn to hate yourself. Hate yourself to the core. I sat soaking in shame… in the closet, for ten years. Because the closet can only stop you from being seen. It is not shame-proof. When you soak a child in shame, they cannot develop the neurological pathways that carry thought… you know, carry thoughts of self-worth. They can’t do that. Self-hatred is only ever a seed planted from outside in. But when you do that to a child, it becomes a weed so thick, and it grows so fast, the child doesn’t know any different. It becomes… as natural as gravity.”

“And this is bigger… than homosexuality. This is about how we conduct debate in public about sensitive things. It’s toxic, it’s juvenile, it’s destructive. We think it’s more important to be right than it is to appeal to the humanity of people we disagree with. Ignorance will always walk amongst us because we will never know all of the things.”

“Do you know what should be the target of our jokes at the moment? Our obsession with reputation. We’re obsessed. We think reputation is more important than anything else, including humanity. “

“”We only care about a man’s reputation.” What about his humanity? These men control our stories! And yet they have a diminishing connection to their own humanity, and we don’t seem to mind so long as they get to hold onto their precious reputation. Fuck reputation. Hindsight is a gift. Stop wasting my time!”

“I didn’t… report that to the police, and I did not take myself to hospital, and I should have. And you know why I didn’t? It’s because I thought that was all I was worth. And that is what happens when you soak one child in shame and give permission to another to hate. And that was not homophobia, pure and simple, people. That was gendered. If I’d been feminine, that would not have happened. I am incorrectly female. I am incorrect, and that is a punishable offense. And this tension, it’s yours. I am not helping you anymore. You need to learn what this feels like because this… this tension is what not-normals carry inside of them all of the time because it is dangerous to be different!

“I believe women are just as corruptible by power as men, because you know what, fellas, you don’t have a monopoly on the human condition, you arrogant fucks. But the story is as you have told it. Power belongs to you. And if you can’t handle criticism, take a joke, or deal with your own tension without violence, you have to wonder if you are up to the task of being in charge.”

“To be rendered powerless does not destroy your humanity. Your resilience is your humanity. The only people who lose their humanity are those who believe they have the right to render another human being powerless. They are the weak. To yield and not break, that is incredible strength. You destroy the woman, you destroy the past she represents. I will not allow my story… to be destroyed.”

“Difference is a teacher. Fear difference, you learn nothing.”

“Laughter is not our medicine. Stories hold our cure. Laughter is just the honey that sweetens the bitter medicine.”

“Do you know why we have the sunflowers? It’s not because Vincent van Gogh suffered. It’s because Vincent van Gogh had a brother who loved him. Through all the pain, he had a tether, a connection to the world. And that… is the focus of the story we need. Connection.

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