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Wednesday 14 April 2010

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The Gay Blade

16th September 2009

That’s so Jewish?

Posted by: Michael Stevens

That’s so Jewish!? Yeah, well I wouldn’t say that or even think it, because it’s offensive.

In New Zealand, why hasn’t “That’s so Maori” as a term taken off?  Or “That’s so Samoan”? In the States, why haven’t for example,  “That’s so Black” or “That’s so Latino” to equal  “That’s so lame” become popular? Does anyone in the UK go “That’s so Paki!” ? Maybe because people would find those terms just a little offensive and you’d get your head kicked in if you tried it?

So why do more and more people think it’s fine to say “That’s so gay!”? I’ve heard the argument that “gay” used this way has nothing to do with me as a gay man - but that’s deceitful self-serving bullshit. It does, and it’s oppressive and insulting. What people do, when they use the word in this way, is take a word that is associated with a minority group in society, a group that has regularly and continues to be targetted, beaten up, murdered and have their basic rights denied, and then use it “jokingly” as a term for lame or poor quality. Well, fuck you.

It does seem most popular among younger people. Ah, young people these days. But not among all young people, some I know consciously avoid it. Some think it’s fun to be offensive a bit, and push the boundaries. Do they go and make Auschwitz jokes to their Jewish friends I wonder? Or would that be going too far? Probably.

But it’s ok to make fun of gays, and then claim you’re not, because, well, we don’t count.  The simple fact that they don’t make use of terms such as ”Jewish” or “Black” in the same way shows just where we rank as a group. If we object, if we complain,  we’re being kill-joys, we’re not seeing the joke, no sense of humour, not moving with the times. Yeah, right. Those were the approaches used years ago to justify racial jokes and other forms of subtle, snide oppression. They were seen for what they were then - why is it so hard to see them for what they are now?

This use of the term gay as an insult shows minds that have no political awareness. They have never fought for anything in their lives, except for Daddy to pay their bills usually. With no understanding of the political fights that have gone before, of the sacrifices made and hard work that it took to get us to this point, they feel free to trample over us, and then claim they didn’t. Hypocrisy, ignorance, laziness and a sense of entitlement reek from those who use these words so blithely.

I’ve been told I have “no right” to censure their free speech. I disagree. I have every right, and will express it. They tend to think, when they do think, that they are entitled to say and do anything they like, so long as no one says or does anything that hurts them. Their own pompous outrage when criticised or mocked is often comical to see. Perhaps it comes from years of schooling where they’ve always been told how special they are, and how clever, even when most of them are, in fact, decidely average.

What about the argument that we “stole” gay in the first place? Actually, it had a history in slang for quite a while meaning queers and those on the edge of society for quite a while before Gay Liberation took it over in the 60s. And there was a clear political reason behind our use of it, just as there was a clear political reason behind the use of “Black” rather than “Negro” or “Coloured” in the same era.

We were, in fact, reclaiming words that had been used to attack us, words used to put us down and keep us in our place.

I do not, and will not accept that using “Gay” to mean stupid or lame is acceptable. I am a gay man. We didn’t spend years fighting for the few rights we now have to have it all subverted and be put back in our place by this casual form of linguistic insult.

Words matter. Words are powerful. Words can hurt, and words do have a political and social message attached to them.

Tags: General

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mauri // Sep 19, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    well said mate

  • 2 Coco La Biche // Sep 19, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Teenagers say it - so what?

    Re: “That’s so Maori” “That’s so Samoan”? “That’s so Black” or “That’s so Latino” “That’s so Paki!” ?

    DON’T BE RIDICULOUS. Plenty of Maori, Latino, ‘Pakis’, blacks and samoans are actually gay (or queer etc) - so when ‘that’s so gay’ is recited - their not talking about race/culture. They’re most likely not aware of it relating to the act of male to male sodomy - which is what Im assuming your objecting to re discrimination from kids when it comes down to it? Do you see being ‘gay’ as you call it - as an ethnicity?

  • 3 Coco La Biche // Sep 19, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    PS. What a drrraaaaaama QUEEN

  • 4 Coco La Biche // Sep 19, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    PS 2. DEATH TO THE ZIONIST FACIST INSECT!

  • 5 Bantam70 // Sep 19, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Thanks Michael for making such a good point. It is weird that stuff like “That’s so Maori” etc haven’t become the fashion. There’s nothing lame about being Gay!

    Oi Coco, calm the **** down. It’s a blog, he can say what he wants, then again, so can you. No need to be abusive!

  • 6 shockboylady // Sep 20, 2009 at 12:34 am

    Re:”That’s so Jewish!? Yeah, well I wouldn’t say that or even think it, because it’s offensive.”

    You just did mate.

    If you had used “That’s so European!?” maybe you wouldn’t sound like such a tool to some.

  • 7 AJ // Sep 20, 2009 at 5:30 am

    At first when I saw this title, I thought “not another piece on this topic”, but there are some new and fresh ideas in here and I am glad to have read it. Perhaps were I to read it a few more times later, I could find some fault, but I am happy with what I have read.
    Colo la Biche raises a point that I have seen by several internalised-homophobic LGBT folk in an effort to seem less gay, so as to appear more “normal” to straights, and that is that we are gay, so what?, it is a small part of our lives, etc. I personally see being gay as just as equal to my ethnicity. My argument to anyone who questions why I and others see our sexuality as being so distinctive a part of ourselves is to ask them how sexuality differs from ethnicity in importance.

  • 8 darian zam // Sep 21, 2009 at 3:12 am

    I wrote a similar piece on my blog discussing the same idea after hearing some scum saying it loudly several times within earshot of ecveryone. It makes me ropeable and you’re absolutely right. If someone replaced the word gay with nigger, they would end up in intensive care.
    And Coco, you’re a dumbfuck.

  • 9 Papa Bear // Sep 22, 2009 at 12:47 am

    Great Points made here Michael.
    Maybe we should Flash Mob A few Religious institutions and shout out “Thats soo Catholic or Jewish” to empower ourselves and make their leaders “THINK” . But as we know from history that’s So unlikely.
    ;-)

  • 10 Tuffgirlie // Sep 23, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Right on Michael! I had a slightly testy conversation with a straight friend of mine the other day about exactly this when she used the word gay to disparage her car! As for Coco….words fail me….

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