Meet Mal Ortberg
February 28, 2018 8:26 PM   Subscribe

Wow, that came up fast -- he was buying a binder, like two months ago? You go Mal! Welcome to the gender and congrats on the journey.
posted by wires at 8:31 PM on February 28 [5 favorites]

fuck yes my gender gets Ortberg

how many draft picks did we give up for this
posted by allegedly at 8:38 PM on February 28 [198 favorites]

I kind of suspected this was coming after the binder thing.

Rock on, Mal.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:42 PM on February 28 [3 favorites]

I just feel like quoting "oh brave new world, to have such people in it"--such people, so amazing to live in a time that they can understand themselves. What a duty the rest of the world owes them.

Also, that book looks awesome!
posted by crush at 8:58 PM on February 28 [5 favorites]

Good for him!
posted by zeusianfog at 9:30 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]

I kind of suspected this was coming after the binder thing.

I feel like I missed this, is there a link?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:30 PM on February 28

It's the second previously.
posted by ODiV at 9:33 PM on February 28

"malortbert"--hmm, may want to fix that tag.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:37 PM on February 28 [3 favorites]

Malortbert sounds like a minor knight in a medieval French chronicle. Or Q*bert's evil twin.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:44 PM on February 28 [37 favorites]


Well I fixed it, but now it’s “malortberg” which sounds like very weird cocktail.
posted by Grandysaur at 9:45 PM on February 28 [25 favorites]

I assume Jeppson's first name is Bert, as in Jeppson's Malört Bert.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 9:46 PM on February 28 [9 favorites]

he hasn't picked a name yet right? but Nicole is using "Mal"! I'm really happy for him, that he's on the cusp of being his real self. The one lamentation I share with a few others is that "Mallory Ortberg" used to brighten up my day when mentioned on the interwebs, but in time I'll just have to learn to feel the same for [new name] Ortberg.
posted by numaner at 10:02 PM on February 28 [6 favorites]

I remember being surprised seeing some pictures of him maybe about a year and a half ago (?--whenever he came back on twitter), thinking, "Huh, I didn't think she [as he identified at the time] was into such a boyish/dandyish sort of look." So I guess I'm not all that surprised. Good luck to him; I hope it all goes smoothly with the religious family and so forth.
posted by praemunire at 10:20 PM on February 28 [4 favorites]

Well, that explains all the barely incomprehensible insider chatter I saw on Twitter tonight. Cheers for the clarification!
posted by Samizdata at 10:30 PM on February 28

Go Mal! Welcome to the club!
posted by spinifex23 at 10:45 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]

There was a point today where my Twitter timeline consisted entirely of really really insane US politics news interspersed between Mal and Nicole being positively awesome with this news, and it was such a weird contrast, and I guess maybe there is some hope in this country after all is all I'm saying.
posted by zachlipton at 10:54 PM on February 28 [14 favorites]

that was also my feed! but I chose to put the right kind of hope into the universe and celebrated their wonderful friendship.
posted by numaner at 11:00 PM on February 28

I've always liked his style. Doing all the hardest things you can think of at once? Yeah, that rules.
posted by limeonaire at 11:27 PM on February 28 [10 favorites]

Mal was a guest of the Thirst Aid podcast recently, where Bim & Nicole referred to Mal as “They/Them” on a recent episode. That was when Lexica turned to me and wondered if this was where things were going.

Good on ya, Mal.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 12:46 AM on March 1 [3 favorites]

Mr. Ortberg is, and always has been, a treasure.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:44 AM on March 1 [7 favorites]

I like this alot.
posted by yhbc at 4:05 AM on March 1

Mal links his instagram in the FPP link, and wow. Mostly I think about this paragraph from the essay about binders: "I cannot promise this will happen for you, but here is what happened for me: I put on a shirt over the binder and I saw a look on my own face I had never seen before. There was joy in it, and amazement, and utter delight. There were other things, too, that I do not yet have words for. I felt, at thirty years of age, a wholly new feeling about my own appearance that I had not known it was possible to experience, and that is worth something, in my opinion." You can see that shine in every photo on that instagram and it's really, really something to watch. Good luck, Mal. <3.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 4:38 AM on March 1 [42 favorites]

My cousin is a trans man and having seen how his transition changed him into the delightful, precious, lightning spark of a man he is today fills me with joy and hope for Mal.
posted by Annika Cicada at 5:07 AM on March 1 [23 favorites]

That Autostraddle piece does a nice deft job of using no pronouns at all for Ortberg (see, like that) and not being awkward about it.
posted by clavicle at 5:23 AM on March 1 [23 favorites]

Go Mal!
posted by Navelgazer at 5:46 AM on March 1

I wish him best of luck with what must be a trying experience even when you know it's right for you but mostly I want to complain that now I have "Meet James Ensor" stuck in my head and blame metafilter.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 5:50 AM on March 1 [5 favorites]

also, can I mention that he's knocking it out of the park in the March 1 Dear Prudence? Trust fund child of the 1% writes in to say that it hurts their feelings when coworkers complain about the idle rich (in fairness, trust fund child sounds like a decent enough person) and does he temporize and say that we should all be nice about the 1%? He does not! "This may make you uncomfortable but it's not harm or discrimination! Being made uncomfortable by the fact that your wealth comes from others' poverty is something you'll just have to deal with! Don't assume that you're better than your poorer peers because you could be managing a hedge fund but have chosen nonprofit work - you're doing the same job they are!" (I paraphrase.) I don't think I've ever seen an advice column so frankly left wing as today's.

Anyway, that's cool and "Mal" is one of my favorite names.
posted by Frowner at 5:56 AM on March 1 [37 favorites]

Awesome! Yay Mal!
posted by zarq at 5:58 AM on March 1

Hooray for Mal!
posted by xingcat at 6:02 AM on March 1

I'm planning to try to see Ortberg read from the new book in DC later this month; he's been one of my favorite writers and thinkers in basically any context since the Toast's early days

and even if I weren't such a fan, it's always lovely to see someone confident enough to publicly explore and discover pieces of their identity in a world that can make that process painful and confusing whether public or private. (and confident enough to admit they're scared! that's important, too!)
posted by Kybard at 6:05 AM on March 1 [5 favorites]

Ortberg isn't a writer I follow other than the frequent FPPs here, but it's always happy news to hear of someone attaining their more ideal self. Congratulations to him, and I'm looking forward to many more FPPs in the future.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:18 AM on March 1 [2 favorites]

Yay, Ortberg!

Also, I am so excited about Mal's new book!
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 6:38 AM on March 1

just as I was lamenting that I didn't have any podcast episodes left to listen to at work today, this comes out and now I have something like 10 episodes of Mz. Ortberg to listen to (Radio Drama Revival where they talk about white supremacy in The Handmaid's Tale, Hannah and Matt Know It All where they talk about advice columns, Thirst Aid where they talk about the first time they fell in love with a book, and all the Dear Prudences)

also - is Ortberg adopting he/him/his pronouns in public settings yet? re: our usage, would the use of he/him/his be alienating?
posted by runt at 6:54 AM on March 1 [1 favorite]

also - is Ortberg adopting he/him/his pronouns in public settings yet? re: our usage, would the use of he/him/his be alienating?

I've been following Nicole Cliffe's lead on this, since I assume she knows what Mal wants; Nicole used he/him/his pronouns (and had previously been using they/them/their).
posted by damayanti at 6:58 AM on March 1 [10 favorites]

The autostraddle article does specifically say that Ortberg is now publicly using male pronouns.
posted by Ipsifendus at 7:00 AM on March 1

Go Mal! You da man!
posted by whuppy at 7:04 AM on March 1

Good for him ! I like Mal as a name too.
posted by motdiem2 at 7:11 AM on March 1

Book Tour, March 10-23, LA, Berkeley, Berkeley, Portland, Manhattan, Cambridge. ha ha, Berkeley wins.
posted by Zed at 7:23 AM on March 1 [3 favorites]

Things are in an in between space right now (which I personally love bc we so often see coming out as a step instead of a process) - I can't search twitter right now, but Nicole has said she has been calling Ortberg Mal before she know about the transition and Mal says we'll get the new name soon enough (and that it has already been chosen).
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 7:27 AM on March 1 [4 favorites]

The autostraddle article does specifically say that Ortberg is now publicly using male pronouns.

does it?
Within a few months, Ortberg plans to start using a male name and pronouns publicly. - Feb 28, 2018
I'm fine with taking the lead from Nicole - if her public use of he/him/his is weird for Mal then I'm pretty sure she's down for stopping it and explaining why. thanks!
posted by runt at 7:27 AM on March 1 [1 favorite]

I wonder when Slate will change the photo on Dear Prudence. Mal still has long hair in that one and basically reads as femme.
posted by matildaben at 7:29 AM on March 1 [1 favorite]

Mal is a good name but I can't hear it without thinking about Firefly.

Can we call him Cap'n Tightpants?
posted by elsietheeel at 7:30 AM on March 1 [14 favorites]

Not to be confused with Malort Berg, a frozen cocktail popular in Chicago.
posted by exogenous at 7:40 AM on March 1 [15 favorites]

I look forward to the book and am so glad he has come out to such a wave of support.
posted by Kitteh at 7:41 AM on March 1

This makes me even happier than I thought it would. Mal Ortberg is a treasure and deserves all good things in life.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:46 AM on March 1 [3 favorites]

This is just great. I'm so happy for him, and - if I can be gender-selfish for a second - these days we can use all the awesome dudes we can get, and Mal is the awesomest.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:51 AM on March 1 [3 favorites]

I sort of swung back into the Ortberg-Cliffe orbit pretty recently via Dear Prudence and watching this transition become public has been fascinating. There's an episode of the podcast where a question is basically "I know I am a trans man but my husband won't hear a word of it and he'll take my kids from me if I press the issue" and Mal's response is just so incredibly full of empathy - he doesn't quite start sobbing but it's close. (Also, I was talking to my wife about this a bit ago and said "Well, I guess I'll still use female pronouns for Mal, because I haven't seen an announcement and the Dear Prudence bio still does" and a week later the bio was edited to use no pronouns at all, which made me feel like I had spotted a Clue.)

Also, Mal's glam-partyboy look is successful as hell. I am not as far to that end of the gender spectrum as he is (and some of those button-downs would require surgery for me, there's not a binder in the world that would do it) but I am jealous.
posted by restless_nomad at 8:18 AM on March 1 [8 favorites]

My read from Twitter is more or less "Mal isn't my permanent new name but it's what I'm happy with right now as a transitional measure", FWIW. Whatever the name, I'm delighted for him and wish him the best. (And also, my eternal thanks for bringing me together with a lot of the best people in my life via The Toast.)
posted by Stacey at 8:22 AM on March 1 [5 favorites]

Thanks OP for your title which put "Meet George Jetson!" in my head yesterday and it's still there today -- JUST THAT ONE MEASURE OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND

The important part is Yay Mal! But

posted by tzikeh at 8:48 AM on March 1 [6 favorites]

I can't figure out if my envy at how cute he looks in comparison to me is because of a) my own sort of mild dysphoria where I have never cared for how boy-me looks, b) he does look really good in part because he's further along transition (in the opposite direction from me, but still (so i guess i'm part of the trade)), or c) he does actually look better than me in general.

So I'm just gonna channel that into being a little peeved at him instead, which is easier. (Also, super happy for him.)
posted by anem0ne at 8:48 AM on March 1 [2 favorites]

I like this alot.

I submit that you have confused Ortberg with alternate Mefi favorite Allie Brosh.

posted by mudpuppie at 8:54 AM on March 1 [15 favorites]

I must admit my primary awareness of Mal is that he replaced the previous Prudie who gave horrifically biphobic advice. Good luck to him.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 9:10 AM on March 1 [3 favorites]

Totally making Malortbergs tonight to celebrate.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:10 AM on March 1 [6 favorites]

So is a Malort Berg just malort with a big fancy ice cube or what? Someone needs to come up with a recipe.
posted by Grandysaur at 10:16 AM on March 1 [2 favorites]

Dammit, I was *just* in Chicago. I wonder if we could even find Malort here.
posted by restless_nomad at 11:14 AM on March 1

Aw, yay.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:21 AM on March 1

"I can call you Betty, and Betty, when you call me, you can call me Mal."
posted by straight at 11:24 AM on March 1 [4 favorites]

It feels kind of good and funny in a good way that a lot of AFAB people I've encountered seem to be having this same or a similar realization lately, or maybe it's just that I'm noticing it because *I* had that realization recently (genderqueer, but still) but it's just nice, the recognition of experience and the community and all of that. This explains a lot about why Mal's writing has spoken to me with such force before, maybe, other than Ortberg just also being an excellent writer.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:36 AM on March 1 [5 favorites]

So is a Malort Berg just malort with a big fancy ice cube or what? Someone needs to come up with a recipe.

I gave up alcohol for Lent, so I can't test this any time soon, but I would try making a granita with Stiegl Radler: pour 1 can of Radler + 1 shot of Malört + plus an as yet undetermined volume of simple syrup into a metal pan; chill mixture in the freezer; break up ice crystals every half hour by raking with a fork; remove when firm and granular; pile into a cocktail glass. (The better Malört cocktails tend to key off its citrus notes as a way of taming the petroleum burn; grapefuit is generally the best pairing, whether in juice, soda, or liqueur form, followed by lime.)

Also: I'm super excited for him!
posted by Iridic at 11:43 AM on March 1 [5 favorites]

So is a Malort Berg just malort with a big fancy ice cube or what? Someone needs to come up with a recipe.

I suppose since I offered up the name I should make up a recipe...

The Malort Berg
pour 2 ounces of tonic water over a Big Fancy Ice Cube
add 2 ounces of Malort, 3/4 oz. of simple syrup, and two dashes of your favorite bitters

NOTE: I have not actually made this and furthermore I have never even tried the main spirit in the drink, so it's probably not very good. Sorry! If anyone else can come up with something better, I hereby relinquish all naming rights.
posted by exogenous at 11:44 AM on March 1 [3 favorites]

I am pleased and excited about all of this news!
posted by sarcasticah at 11:44 AM on March 1

Aw h*ck, it’s no fair that Team Male picks up M. Ortberg right after I transfer out. Timing never was my forte, though. :)
posted by nicepersonality at 1:42 PM on March 1 [8 favorites]

Funny, I'm having almost the opposite reaction—Holy h*ck, you mean I get to trade genders with Mal H*ckin' ORTBERG? I must have the best timing ever!
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 4:16 PM on March 1 [13 favorites]

I've been a longtime fan and started creeping extra hard on his instagram after the binder piece. His obvious-to-those-who-know-what's-what social media transition has been giving me no end of proud and happy feelings for the past few months. Also our faces have done similar things on T, which makes me feel some sort of ridiculous kinship. What a gem.
posted by libraritarian at 4:21 PM on March 1 [7 favorites]

Btw, I get his email thing, and it sounds like the name he has picked is "Daniel." Unless this was some oblique joke.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:15 PM on March 9 [3 favorites]

Not a joke! He's going with Daniel! But never Dan.
posted by numaner at 4:18 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]

That's a wonderful interview, infinitewindow.
posted by exogenous at 11:33 AM on March 13

It's weird how so many people, ciswomen & AFABs, feel more comfortable in a binder. Almost like having breasts under patriarchy is uncomfortable or something.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 2:50 PM on March 14

Never Dan, but Danny is ok! (inquiry by Metafilter's own Linda Holmes)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:17 AM on March 15

Oh good so Danny could also be from an eighties sitcom, like Mallory (Family Ties): DeVito (Taxi) or Tanner (Full House)
posted by Pronoiac at 12:34 PM on March 15

the book tour is here tomorrow night! but i have a concert! argh!
posted by numaner at 3:37 PM on March 19

Ok so I totally skipped the concert and went to the book signing because it's rainy here and I didn't wanna wait in line outside the concert hall, but the bookstore had just enough room for me to squeeze in!
posted by numaner at 5:15 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]

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