Interlude II

"What's wrong with you?! Why are you doing this?!" screamed Alexa. "It's like you've been possessed by a Nazi ghost."

"I'm sorry," said Mark. "I'm not sure if this will make sense to you, but I'm thinking of it as playing DEFECT against trans women—I genuinely regret that part and I'd be grateful if you could tell me if there's anything I can do to make it up to you-all collectively—in exchange for being able to DEFECT against the victimhood identity-politics mind-virus, to COOPERATE with closeted TERFy women who don't want people like me in their bathrooms but are too scared to say so out loud and might reward AGP males who say it for them with sex and intimacy, and—most importantly of all—to tell the truth about the beautiful feeling at the center of my life that has shaped me more than almost anything else. This is just too good of a deal for me to refuse unless it means literal physical violence or poverty."

"What?!"

"Oh! I get it! I shouldn't have said that last part, because that creates an incentive for powerful people being controlled by the victimhood identity-politics mind-virus to threaten me with literal physical violence or poverty after I blog a dramatization of this conversation. What I should have said was, 'This is just too good of a deal for me to refuse, full stop.' Except I'm really bad at lying. So maybe I should just trust that my friends—well, what's left of them when this is over—the police, my savings, and my programming skills are altogether enough to keep me safe and happy."