Norm Rilke, a 39-year-old Women's Studies PhD candidate who is
constantly reminding himself to check his privilege, has
accomplished something far outside his field of study.
For months he has suffered extreme guilt over the fact that, as an
impressionable 15-year-old, he had spent three weeks of one lonely
summer pouring over the Nebula Award winning classic Ender's
Since it has subsequently emerged that author Orson Scott Card
opposes gay marriage, Rilkes has experienced no shortage of guilt
over his love of the novel or that he was once a card-carrying
member in the Card fanclub.
While obviously denying any affinity for Card while attending
anti-Ender's Game protests, at the salons he attends, and in
in-class discussions, Rilke has found it impossible to quell his
internal guilt, and finds he has encountered a privilege, the
privilege of a straight white male who enjoyed an excellent piece
of science fiction in 1988, that he simply cannot check.
While building a time machine was considerably outside Rilke's
area of expertise as a person who studies primarily
privilege-checking, sometimes a fiery ideological passion overcomes
When he finally emerged from his time-pod in 1988, both his
parents and his 15-year-old self had plenty of questions, largely
irrelevant, like, "How does time travel work?" "Is the future as
great as we imagined?" and "Do you own a flying car?"
But Rilke would hear none of it. He grabbed his 15-year-old self
by the shoulders and said, "Listen young man, you don't know it,
but this very summer you will commit an act of intolerance that is
on par with the genocide of the American Indian or the imprisonment
of Japanese workers during World War 2 right here in Canada."
"Oh my God, what will I do?" asked his younger self.
"You will enjoy an anti-war novel by a man who will eventually
take a strong stand against gay marriage."
Since the majority of people in 1988 did not yet universally
support gay marriage, Rilke's parents and young Rilke himself
responded with a lot of shoulder shrugging and confused eye
"So…" young Rilke eventually said.
"Well, in 2013 that won't be allowed."
The older Rilke, devoid of all but this last bit or privilege,
then took the paperback of the page-turning classic and tried to
ceremonially burn it, but it didn't really catch fire, and he ended
up just kind of diva-ishly throwing it out the back door.
At which point his father called him a "fag" and Rilke remembered
why he went into women's studies in the first place and how much
inherited privilege he'd really had to check.
Unfortunately, he'd gotten the settings on his time pod wrong and
was returned to the year 2091, in which a totalitarian leftist
regime was so concerned about privileges going unchecked that the
common man like Rilke wasn't allowed to leave his jail-like 3 x 4
foot space cube.