Thursday, January 18, 2007

Never think it can't get worse ...

It can. This furor over Isaiah Washington and "Grey's Anatomy" has reached what I'm tempted to call the all-time low in the field of Stupid Public Obeisances to Political Correctness. In an episode of "The Jeffersons," Helen Willis once said to George "I might say that was the stupidest thing you'll ever say. But I know that you'll come up with something stupider tomorrow." It's like that.

Washington apparently has been denounced by ABC (where is that corporate conservatism when you need it) and forced into an abject apology ... for SAYING the word "faggot" in the context of denying that he had used it. I. Am. Not. Kidding.
the network rebuked co-star Isaiah Washington for an anti-gay comment and Washington issued a lengthy apology.
"We are greatly dismayed that Mr. Washington chose to use such inappropriate language at the Golden Globes, language that he himself deemed 'unfortunate' in his previous public apology," the network said in a statement.
During a backstage interview Monday at the Globes gala, Washington denied involvement in a heated on-set incident in October during which an anti-gay remark was reportedly uttered.
"No, I did not call (co-star) T.R. (Knight) a faggot," Washington told reporters. "Never happened, never happened."
In his apology Thursday, Washington acknowledged "repeating the word Monday night."
"I apologize to T.R., my colleagues, the fans of the show and especially the lesbian and gay community for using a word that is unacceptable in any context or circumstance. I marred what should have been a perfect night for everyone who works on 'Grey's Anatomy.' I can neither defend nor explain my behavior. I can also no longer deny to myself that there are issues I obviously need to examine within my own soul, and I've asked for help."
Now of course, calling somebody, particularly a co-worker, a "faggot" (or "nigger" or "heeb" or any such slur) is unacceptable, and if Washington said it in the first place (which he denies), some sort of amends are necessary.

But since when has using a word in quotation marks meant anything whatsoever. This is to give to words or sounds a magic quality they simply do not have. Do not have. Period. To quote a word is not necessarily to "use" it. If any and every use of the word "faggot" (and this principle is generalizable) is unacceptable regardless of context, then what does that make of this, from later in the AP story?:
"He referred to me as a faggot," Knight said [on the Ellen DeGeneres show] of the October incident. "Everyone heard it."
And what does it make of Neil Giuliano of GLAAD doing exactly the same?:
Isaiah Washington [is] apologizing for his use of the word "faggot" on the set of Grey's Anatomy in October 2006 and at the 64th Annual Golden Globe® Awards on Jan. 15, 2007: (love that ® ... and I hesitate to point out that Mr. Giuliano is being disingenuous ... Washington's attached statement never says he used it on the set in October)
Knight and Giuliano are using the word in exactly the same sense that Washington was -- as a quotation/citation, in a context and construction that did not grant approval to the term. So are TR Knight and Neil Giuliano homophobes as well as homosexuals? I know the gay-activist crowd thinks of me as a self-hating homo, so I'm glad for the company.

What does this absurd standard do to discourse? How can there be serious study of the history of homosexuality? Do we now have to dance around language, even in pro-gay or neutral contexts, daintily saying "the f-word" as if this was the OJ Simpson trial, or we're dowagers in the 1950s whispering the word "cancer" so as not to give anyone the vapors? BTW, I think the fucking term "the f-word" is taken already.

I generally have no patience for comparisons of US institutions and totalitarian regimes, but there is something in Washington's statement -- the abject, self-abasing quality -- that reminds one of nothing more than the victims of Maoist re-education or of 1984's Big Brother and badthought. Note the use throughout of "the word" instead of ... well, this was how this latest round started. It reads also like the text of a public confession, the blasphemer begging forgiveness, promising to do penance, amend his life and sin no more. That is, for GLAAD and similar groups, the gay lifestyle truly is a religion. Now, in that context (and in private) such a tone would be fine -- except that the homosexualists pride themselves as having freed themselves of oppressive religion (so they can oppress others with their religion, I guess) and the religious and being oh-so-tolerant of difference (some differences, I guess).

But stay tuned. There's always tomorrow for this totalitarianism to get worse.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Holidays are over

Hooray. And bah, humbug.

If I may say it bluntly, I truly hate the holiday season. And not because I'm one of these "keep the Christ in Christmas"- or "Jesus is the reason for the season"-types who gets disgusted with all the consumerism, etc.

No ... it's simply that the holiday season is depressing. It's the time of the year when the loneliness truly HITS me. I'm not close to my birth family (though I haven't been disowned or anything like that). I do not have a family of my own and have no prospect of that changing ever. Other people generally have both, nearly everybody has one.

Now, you might say that "it's a time of happiness" and how everybody's in high spirits and whatnot. That's exactly the problem. It's a happiness surrounding things from which I'm fundamentally alienated. It's like being a lactose-intolerant person at a cheese feast. A blind man at a film festival. A deaf man at a symphony. Looking at the world through jail bars.

So it's fundamentally a depressing time of year, and (I acknowledge) compounded by my personality. I am not gregarious by nature, do not like to impose myself on people and despise mandatory displays of unfelt comity toward strangers (hate the Sign of Peace ... check; avoid parishes where they do the opening handshake ... double check). So if I'm blue, my attitude is usually "don't try to cheer me up; I don't want your pity." I'll just curl up in a ball at home instead.

And that's my good reaction. One recent December, I twice bought male prostitutes (one of them on New Year's Eve, no less). In the middle of the next January, I spent several hours in the hospital emergency room with what turned out to be anal gonorrhea. To be honest, if I weren't handcuffed by porn filters, I'd probably be doing that right now.