I recently did some math and realized two things:
1. I’ve been blogging since April 7, 2006.
B. On January 1, 2012, I had two followers.
III. There are a ton of posts you haven’t seen.
4. It’s fun to drag up old posts, edit, and re-post.
Keep something in mind before reading this. I am not a bigot. I am not a homophobe, even though most people misuse the term. I am not anti-gay. I have gay friends, and I would just as easily embrace everything about my own kids if one of them were gay. Got that? Good.
(pssst. if you want to save time, there’s a video at the end that basically sums up everything i’m writing. take your pick, or both)
I pay a lot of attention to words, and I’m guessing that so do you or you wouldn’t be reading this. There are lots of acceptable and unacceptable words, and there are also some debatable words. Some words you’ll hear on The Simpsons but you won’t hear them on the nightly news, and sometimes that’s reversed. On personal levels, acceptable and unacceptable is flexible. My ex-wife has no trouble cursing in front of my kids, and she has no trouble with the kids using those same curses. In my home, I don’t curse in front of the kids, and they know it’s not acceptable for them to use profanity. The worst thing I’ve ever heard them say is “What the H?” And she pronounced the letter “H.” That isn’t my way of editing the word “hell.”
When it comes to the debatable words, there are various ways of referring to them, such as the “F” word, the “N” word, the “S” word. We call people “B” instead of bitch. The “N” word (I don’t prefer to say or write it) is not a curse, but it’s used in rap music in an altered form. So although it’s not really a curse, it is morally wrong, but now the debatable curses are debatable as to why they’re debatable. We have all kinds of words that are bleeped and/or inappropriate, but I heard something recently that I just have trouble accepting.
About five years ago, an actor named Isaiah Washington was fired from Grey’s Anatomy for calling someone a faggot. Shortly after, I was listening to a great radio show out of Philadelphia on a rock station, WMMR. The show is called “Preston and Steve.” As Preston was talking about the firing of the actor, he referred to the incident as “using the 6-letter F word.” I almost crashed.
Are you shitting me? We have to say “the 6-letter F word”? The host of the show wasn’t calling anyone “faggot.” He was just referring to the fact that someone else called someone “faggot.” In that context, there’s nothing wrong with saying “faggot.” Of course, if the actor had called someone a “fucking faggot,” then I totally expect the news reader to say, “f-ing faggot.” I do not expect a news guy to say, “f-ing six-letter f-word.”
I”m not going to attempt to defend the idea of calling someone “faggot.” I’m not going to try explaining that it’s okay to call someone “faggot” because it is not okay. However, I do need to explain my reaction because I’m sure there are many people who feel that there is NO occasion in which “faggot” is acceptable. It’s possible that some people wouldn’t even want me to say “faggot” even if I were saying that the word “faggot” is the most horrible word ever. Even then, they’d still want me to avoid saying it. But I still need to explain something.
When I grew up in the 70’s, and nobody had ever put “politically” and “correct” together, “Fag” was an everyday word, but “fag” – TO US – had nothing to do with “gay.” “Fag” meant someone who wasn’t cool in some way. It was someone who did something that was wrong, something that they should have known not to do. If someone told the teacher that you were cheating on a test, they were a fag. If you couldn’t stay out past 9 on a weekend, you were a fag. If you wore “slacks” to school instead of jeans, you were a fag. We were not at all thinking about the concept of gay or people who were gay. In fact, I’m positive that I had already been using the term “fag” well before I even knew that there were gay people out there.
Please keep in mind that I didn’t even know anything about heterosexual sex until about 6th or 7th grade. It was not a concept I had a reason to think about. I specifically remember the exact moment I started thinking about the concept of sex. I was walking to school and passed a house with its garage door open. Inside was a giant poster of a woman in a bright yellow bikini leaning over a car. That image burned itself into my head, and thus began my investigation to learn why I couldn’t shake that image. Based on the logic of kids and my friends at that time, they would have had the right to say that, on the topic of sex, I was a “fag” because I didn’t know anything about it.
But back to the gays. I know now that the word “fag” is too closely tied to “gay,” and I know that it’s negative. I know now that if I call someone “fag,” I’m going to be accused of subconsciously saying that being gay is not cool, but that was never what we meant. We didn’t care if people were gay. We didn’t think about people being gay. We didn’t think of the possibility that someone might go through the following thought process: Hmmm. That boy just called something “faggy.” And that something that he called “faggy” is something he doesn’t like. That means he doesn’t like people who are gay. And I’m gay, and now that boy has insulted and hurt me.
I’m aware of that now, and I’m working on it now. For example, there are times when I let the dog out in the yard, and then I want him to get back in the house but she’s just sitting there looking at me. And occasionally I’ll say, “Hey, faggot, get back in the house.” Right after I say it, I know it’s wrong, and I know I have to work on it.
I know it’s not “right,” but I was brought up to believe that being a “fag” has nothing to do with being gay. Before you yell at me for being hateful, read this other post from a while back in which I defend and support gay marriage.