Friday, July 20, 2007

I Hate Chinks

Now, now, now. Shame on you guys. I mean I do hate chinks, but not Chinks. I hate chinks (weak spots) that leave me vulnerable….And now on to my post.

Dawn wrote this in one of her entries:
”….I think most people are annoying and that keytars are fucking gay.”

A homosexual blogger named Jester took issue with her use of the word ‘gay.’
”I know it wasn’t meant to be offensive to me or any other gay people, but the fact remains that using a word that defines a major part of my self-identity to mean ‘lame’ or ‘unworthy’ or ‘stupid’ really does offend me.’

There’s been much written in the comments and main portions of both blogs. In the end, Jester has told her to fuck off.

MY TAKE
Words have multiple definitions. Words shift meaning and acquire new meanings all the time. The word ‘gay’ has not always meant homosexual, just like the word fag or fairy or queen have not. And just because a word isn’t defined in mainstream dictionaries a certain way, doesn’t mean it isn’t used as such or recognized by many to mean something not yet formally defined.

I wonder of the good Queen of England is offended by the use of the word ‘queen’ to refer to select male homosexuals. If Tinkerbell were real, do you think she’d take issue with the use of the word ‘fairy’ to refer to male homosexuals? And I wonder if cigarette manufacturers, smokers, and stick bundlers around the world were offended when the words ‘fag’ or ‘faggot’ morphed to homosexual references.

I consider myself to be a pretty happy guy. Anyone who knows me would agree. A synonym of happy is ‘gay.’ That being the case, am I therefore justified in being offended every time I hear someone use the word ‘gay’ to refer to something as stupid? The logic in that simply does not compute.

Now, if someone used the word ‘beaner’ or ‘spic’ or ‘taco bender’ to refer to something stupid, I might think about letting it bother me because I’m half Mexican; but then my self esteem is such that, unless words are used directly at me in a manner to provoke or incite, I let it roll right off my back. You know, that "sticks and stones" thing.

Perhaps Dawn’s use of the word ‘gay’ to refer to keytars as stupid is just a microcosm of the evolution of the word as it shifts to acquire a new definition -- Kinda like it did during its journey to eventually being used to refer to homosexuals.

Etymology is fascinating. Read this. Hurry though, because it won't be long before something new is added by a rogue and daring etymologist.

Post Script
I don’t mind that homosexuals call people like me breeders, or even that ‘breeder’ isn’t defined by Merriam Webster as a heterosexual. And breeding (or feigning such these days) is even a major part of my identity ;-)

15 comments:

Jester said...

One major point you are missing in this post is that I didn't award Webmiztris the Flaming Fuck You badge until AFTER she posted a second post in which she was CLEARLY being bigoted and homophobic.

Your comparison of Tinkerbell and stick bundlers is absurd. I doubt the Queen of England has anything to say about the usage of the word "queen" (which by the way, unless you are referring to a DRAG queen is also offensive).

You're right... the logic in your being offended by "gay" as a "happy guy" does not compute. If you were gay, you would most likely find the equation of "gay" to "lame" offensive. If someone said, "stop being such a fucking mexican" you would rightly be offended. It's exactly the same. Really.

I have no problems with my self esteem. I felt offended by someone who I liked and respected who used a term that disparaged me. Plain and simple.

There's a major difference between the evolution of the word "gay" to mean homosexual, and its "shift" to mean stupid and/or lame... stupid and lame are negative uses, completely perpetuating an oppressive atmosphere.

Carlos said...

One major point you are missing in this post is that I didn't award Webmiztris the Flaming Fuck You badge until AFTER she posted a second post in which she was CLEARLY being bigoted and homophobic.
Understood, but I’m more interested in the use of the word ‘gay.’ I suppose I should have omitted the ‘fuck you’ reference.

Your comparison of Tinkerbell and stick bundlers is absurd. I doubt the Queen of England has anything to say about the usage of the word "queen" (which by the way, unless you are referring to a DRAG queen is also offensive).
The absurdity of the analogies was intended. The Queen of England and Tinkerbell never had exclusive “ownership” of the words ‘queen’ and ‘fairy,’ nor does anyone or any group “own” the word ‘gay.’

You're right... the logic in your being offended by "gay" as a "happy guy" does not compute.
And why might it be unacceptable for a gay (happy) person to be offended by the use of the word ‘gay’ in a negative context, but acceptable for a homosexual person to be offended?

Of course, the usage of the word ‘gay’ to mean happy is way colloquial, but the absurdity was intended to make a point.

If you were gay, you would most likely find the equation of "gay" to "lame" offensive. If someone said, "stop being such a fucking mexican" you would rightly be offended. It's exactly the same. Really.
Probably not, but it would depend on context, and who was saying it. Words seldom offend me. That’s just the way I’m wired. Mexican is a proper noun, by the way. Being half Mexican, I’m half offended by your use of it as a common noun. ;-)

I have no problems with my self esteem. I felt offended by someone who I liked and respected who used a term that disparaged me. Plain and simple.
Point taken. Personally, I would’ve sent her a personal note.

There's a major difference between the evolution of the word "gay" to mean homosexual, and its "shift" to mean stupid and/or lame... stupid and lame are negative uses, completely perpetuating an oppressive atmosphere.
My point is that the word is evolving. Whether it is offensive or not is irrelevant. Language evolves emotionlessly, and there are no rules governing the evolution of language. It simply happens. Whether that evolution is good or bad, offensive or accepted, is subjective and dependent on the person or persons doing the opining.

The bottom line is that the usage of the word has evolved, and is used by a section of our society in a way other than it is currently defined. That is exactly what happened in the years leading up to the word becoming synonymous with ‘homosexual.’

And I’m not convinced that using ‘gay’ as a synonym for ‘lame’ or ‘stupid’ qualifies as oppression. Look it up.

PS
I’d like to hear your take on the word ‘queer,’ which is used prolifically, with benign intent, by many homosexuals, despite its negative connotations.

DiamondFistWerny said...

This may help:

http://www.gurl.com/findout/label/pages/0,,667671,00.html

Jester said...

Carlos - I think the argument can be made that since by whatever means "gay" has come to describe a select group of people, there is some ownership to the word. Just like the Black community took "ownership" of "nigger" and Latinos took "beaner." The only difference is that the words "nigger" and "beaner" were originally intended to be disparaging. It's important to me that the word "gay" not become synonymous with other negative adjectives.

Using the word "gay" to describe yourself brings with it connotations of enduring discrimination and oppression and prejudices based on your sexuality. If you're describing your happy-go-lucky nature as "gay" that's great, but it doesn't carry the same gravity.

I was using "mexican" in a similar way that "gay" was being used in the post that started this whole mess. If I change the word to become more of a negative adjective, as "gay" has been, doesn't that make you stop and think about it? If I excuse your laziness or need to stuff 15 family members into a pickup truck by explaining to others, "He's mexican." Doesn't that make your blood boil? If not, can you see how it could? If someone pulls you aside and says, "You know that Jester guy, he's a GAY" does that not give you the impression that there is some judgement or some negative value attached to the word?

We are in the position of being able to guide the evolution of the words we use. A civilized community can agree to prevent epithets and condescending or disparaging remarks from coming into common usage. We have historically been able to do this with other minorities via reclamation.

Making the term "gay" synonymous with "lame," "annoying," or "stupid" is a very subversive form of oppression. It could even be viewed as subliminal.

As for the word "queer," I personally love the word for its original meaning. I also understand the idea of reclamation, where a disparaging term is embraced by the group that was once described negatively by the term. Here's the description from dictionary.com:

//Usage Note: A reclaimed word is a word that was formerly used solely as a slur but that has been semantically overturned by members of the maligned group, who use it as a term of defiant pride. Queer is an example of a word undergoing this process. For decades queer was used solely as a derogatory adjective for gays and lesbians, but in the 1980s the term began to be used by gay and lesbian activists as a term of self-identification. Eventually, it came to be used as an umbrella term that included gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people. Nevertheless, a sizable percentage of people to whom this term might apply still hold queer to be a hateful insult, and its use by heterosexuals is often considered offensive. Similarly, other reclaimed words are usually offensive to the in-group when used by outsiders, so extreme caution must be taken concerning their use when one is not a member of the group.//

By the way, thank you for carrying on a rational discussion of this issue and not resorting to name calling and insults and gay bashing as what is happening at other sites.

Sheila said...

I hate to shift the focus of this discussion, but what are "keytars"?

December 4th, 1964 - in a hospital, somewhere in the Texas Panhandle, a girl is born - her parents name her Donna Gay Davis.

December 7th, 1964, in a hospital, somewhere in the Texas Panhandle, a girl is born - her parents name her Ronda Gay Brooks.

The parents of these two girls were, and still are, very close friends. They didn't discuss ahead of time what they planned to name their child. They just LIKED the names and that was that.

BTW, Ronda and Donna wreaked havoc upon the world.

I know it is because their middle name is Gay.

Carlos said...

Jester: Thank you for the civil discussion, information, and your opinions. I take differing opinions as learning experiences, regardless of whether or not I ultimately subscribe to them, or compromise in their direction.

Sheila Baby: What the fuck is going on up there in North Texas? You chicks (and that one in NM) have nearly totally dropped off the radar. Hope all is well. And here’s a Keytar.

Boobless Brigade Master said...

Oh good golly, I had no idea what a keytar was either...and I kind of still don't. Other than what looks like a new age, glorified 'Addicited To Love Girl'??? At which point I lose interest. LOL.

Anyhoo, I'm like you Carlos, words tend to buzz right past me...when the words are about me.
What's that old saying? Something about, "People can only make you feel badly about yourself...if you let them."???

Yeah. That's me. Call me whatever you want. Once someone gets derogatory about me, I lose interest as well. Bottom line is, you cannot have a rational argument with an irrational person. Bigots, racists and those of the like...are irrantional. My breath, effort and time is better spent being happy with or making someone else happy, instead of dealing with what I would consider an idiot.

Having said all that,if someone says or writes something derogatory about someone I care about...well, at that point, it gets very difficult to restrain myself from arguing with an irrational person and/or wanting to beat the carp outta them.

But ya gotta find the silver lining. Sucks that someone you liked and respected turned out to not be worthy of your respect...but I wouldn't have otherwise found your blog Jester!
As long as you are a good person, with a good heart...that's what is important;)

Arlene said...

Wow, did you just really want to jump on the be pissed at me band wagon or what?? ;-)
I'm sure I'll catch hell for this, but I'm just not that easily offended. My family is from the south. So we're rednecks and/or white trash. Fine. I'm white, so my family probably had slaves. Fine. Whatever. I'm a mom. So I'm sure I've contributed to our worlds over population. Again, I don't care. I don't care what others think or say, and I refuse to stoop to their level to debate such things. I know what I believe, and I know who I am. I don't need validation from others to make it true.
And Jesus H Christ, hasn't anyone ever heard of a fucking joke, or a figure of speech???? Ya ya, I know, add that to my list, uses his name in vain and adds a middle initial. I'm content with my condo in hell already being reserved!
And great post BTW!
Oh, and the keytar, had never heard of it. Got to say, you picked a hot model of it!

Webmiztris said...

jester is an idiot. what else can I say? saying that our band would look like a bunch of 'fag hags' if we got some girly dude singer to sing all of my kelly clarkson, avril, joan jett, pink, hole, etc.... IT'S THE TRUTH!

living in bumfuck nowhere, you just can't do it. It wouldn't fly. and I'm doing this band thing to have fun - NOT for some 'gay pride' purpose where I'm trying to bring diversity to this shithole or whatever.

If that's Jester's bag, that's fine with me. If I band like that would fly in his area, I think that's great. But I know how things work in this area and we WOULD appear to be 'fag hags' and KNOWING that doesn't mean I'M a bigot.

Also, black hip-hop bands don't fly in many places around here. Does that mean I don't like black bands because I acknowledge they don't 'work' in this area? NO. It's just the truth and I happen to LOVE the hip-hop bands.

FUCK OFF, JESTER!

Jester said...

Thanks, Dawn. You have in a few short words here proved my assertion that you are indeed an offensive bigot.

Bravo.

Bunny ~N~ Early said...

Great post on a subject that obviously needs to be addressed.
I'm with Arlene all the way, I couldn't have said it better myself. That being said, I'm going to go call my "beaner" grandma up and tell her how my "hillbilly" ass has been doing lately. Does that make me a bigot or someone that has better things to do than cry about what someone might call a word that may at some point in history be used as a word to describe me or a family member?It's a word. So fucking what.

Margaret said...

Wow, what a Lame Flamin' Hoddie Toddie.

Fuck Political Correctness - that's so gay and niggardly. Can't nobody be funny anymore, cause some stupid shit gets their panties in a wad.

Sudiegirl said...

AAAHHH...I was going to ask what a "keytar" was too, but now I know.

It's a girl in a black body suit.

Who knew?

The_Gator said...

and not wearing panties...i think i want a keytar now.

Margaret said...

I forgot about this "flame war." (Pun intended)

I bet Jester is one of the Gay-tards who bullied around Kosmo Kramer in that Seinfeld episode with the Armore.

Whoops! I said Gay-tard - guess that puts me in double trouble. =O)