Well, this is something that I clearly shouldn’t mention, now or in the future; in print, online, or in a small voice in a crowded bar to my parole officer; in a box, with a fox, in a house, or even with a mouse. It is the purview of the media to address issues such as this, issues that were, back in my day, not-discussed and discussed-around in college classrooms that I may or may not have been sleeping in.
The issue, of course, is that kind of lazy, centralized hatred termed racism or homophobia or anti-Semitism, depending on which group has chosen you as your own particular hatred-totem. I’m thinking of this now, as yesterday I had the opportunity (opportunity? Nay, gift! … I have no television of my own, you see) to watch Paula Zahn beat her gums pointlessly over whether We As a Society should stop using the En Word and the Eff Word (and by this I mean—to steal a term from a blogger I read and love—Gentlemen Who Can’t Catch, not that other Eff Word, which apparently is fine with Ms. Zahn) and possibly other words that I didn’t see discussed, having by that point in the show been driven out of the bar by a fellow who had applied his cologne that morning with a hose and a bucket.
Just in case there was any confusion, I am conservative in some matters.
The main issues being discussed in Ms. Zahn’s report were (1) a small town in the ______-ern
This is, apparently, what’s happening in
You don’t get to say it.
You shouldn’t want to say it.
There are many other words that you can say, most of which you probably haven’t heard of.
Which kind of leads into my next point, which is that, except for what I certainly hope is a small, exclusive crowd of out-and-out hatemongers, skinheads, and (let’s face it) my grandma, most people who insult others by using racial slurs and the like don’t really hate the person they’re insulting because of his race, religion, or sexual identity. Isaiah Washington—who has graciously offered up himself as the example of What Not To Do—called T.R. Knight the Eff Word, but—I believe, anyway, being the astute observer of human nature that I am—really found him offensive because he’s (having seen the show a few times, I assume) an annoying, gape-mouthed whiner. Or something. Point is, unless you’re one of those people who simply writes off large sections of humanity because one of their defining external characteristics is unacceptable to you, it’s just really lazy to insult someone with this kind of language. Frankly, it’s the kind of thinking that one would expect from a Finn, and I think we can all agree that that’s just not cool.
In the name of full disclosure, I should admit that I do have my own prejudices, which include, but are not limited to, the following:
The strange thing is, once you get to know them on an individual basis, they’re not all bad people, really. Surely most of them are—I mean, stereotypes gotta come from somewhere, right?—but surprisingly, some of them are actually almost like normal people. And the best part is, now that you’ve taken the time to get to know that corn-toothed Mitch Albom fan from Amsterdam, you’ve got a lot more ammunition when it’s time to hurl cutting (and creative!) insults at her.