“That’s gay” Part 2

So after a hearty round of “gay/not-gay”, Pinko Punko dropped the following seriousness bomb, and revealed a thoughtfulness of which I had never before suspected him:

In the self referential blogworld place, it seems quite common to use language in a meta-insulting way. I’m talking about the un-PC use of derogatory terms against adeversaries that might find the terms particularly insulting, and this goes beyond embracing the language to diffuse its stigma.

I am talking about the use of insults against the wingies, that they must be “gay” or the rampant “repressed homosexuality” on the right side of internet and society. This is not to say that it repressed homosexuality isn’t rampant as evidenced by the seemingly unstoppable torrent or stories about hypocritical or repressed Conservative personalities. What I am referring to is the use of gay language as a form of battery against these individuals. One form of this is evidenced by The Rude Pundit, who gets a pass, because in this case the language is used as metaphor for exploitation and does not really seem to be gay or straight, and such use has its antecedents in several ancient cultures, see poems of Catullus for examples, or ancient Roman graffiti.

What I really mean is giggle filled discussions about Powerline, specifically John Hinderaker (“Hindrocket”) and the other guy (“Big Trunk”). It is all well and good to discuss possibility unintended meanings of their ridiculous names, but it usually comes down to the fact that “they are sooo gay” in langauge that suggests that there is something very negative about that, even when it comes from gay people.

The worst examples are the stuff that Andrew Sullivan and Michelle Malkin have to put up with. Sullivan does write irrationally, he contradicts himself, and can be emotional. This is always used as evidence for “what a drama Queen” he is, capital Q. While it is possible he is subscribing himself to a stereotype, he is constantly being described as an effeminate, hysterical gay male, and language is used that insinuates that things both gay and female are negative. Malkin constantly receives female and ethnic insults, and Ann Coulter receives female insults. I realize it is because they are horrible, horrible people and we cannot literally think of anything worse to say to them.

Many times the insults come from gay, female or ethnic minorities themselves, because these are the very people that know how hurtful these insults can be or people think that calling someone something that they would personally hate would be a most effective insult. To make a long story short, calling some homophobe a faggot might be fun, and might even be true in the sense that they might very well be gay, doesn’t do anyone any favors, because you are reinforcing the fact that the word “gay” or whatever can be an insult even if it isn’t to the person using it. Using someone’s self-hatred against them might only serve to legitimaize the hatred in their minds, and if they never get over it, they might just spread it instead.

For the most part, I agree. I am, however, wary of getting too sunday-school about the language we use around sexuality. Maybe that’s because my friends and I toss around words like “queen” and “bitch” so much. It may not make nice liberal folks happy, and I know it’s a complicated and politically ambigous discourse at best, but it’s a definite element of gay male culture, and I’d hate to lose that.

Anyway, I have a few more thoughts about this. But right now, I need to water my plants. So…



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