May 2021: Something That May Shock and Discredit You by Daniel Mallory Ortberg

Something That May Shock and Discredit You, Daniel Mallory Ortberg

The magic of the human experience can be found in so many places, but one that I am constantly reminded of is how we can connect with and relate to each other through our stories and experiences.

Whilst we all live wildly different lives in our own worlds compared to either your next-door neighbour or someone in a country halfway across the world from us, we have the ability to relate to each other, even if at first it does not seem so. We all found at least one thing each of us could connect with in this collection of essays during May.

Life is hard, that’s a certainty, and Daniel Mallory Ortberg gives us a small slice of his life’s hardships (albeit it served up on a humorous platter of laughter and flippancy) in Something That May Shock and Discredit You. His essays range from diary excerpts about various gender crises to a series of retellings-cum-Cliffs Notes on the Bible and other famous works of literature throughout time.

The Chaotic energy of this work is something few of us had previously encountered. The whole book channels a literary trans-boi-trash-meme current throughout, and it works immensely well. Ortberg’s in-your-face discussions on the shittiness and brilliance of transition seem – at first – quite unusual; until one realises that not every transgender memoir needs to be a proud Bildungsroman with an inspirational “Being/Finding/Redefining/Becoming Me” title. As well as these, we can also have punchy essays on why Gomez and Morticia Addams are Trans4Trans and why William Shatner’s Captain Kirk is a beautiful lesbian, followed by a description of the soul-crushing weight of dysphoria and how to avoid doing the washing up because of it.

It’s okay, we’re all trashbois here. And if you can’t relate to that, you haven’t read the book.