IN MY OPINION
Books Read in 2007
(part 3 of 3)
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STICKS AND STONES
28 January 2007
We're told, when we are growing up, that "sticks and stones may break your bones but names can never hurt us."
What idiot decided that? Sticks and stones cause wounds which can usually be healed, names often last with you forever.
I still cringe when I remember the times my grammar school classmates called me "fat." It still hurts. It hurts now that it's true, it hurt in the few years when it wasn't true.
I still remember the nun who told me I was a hypocrite when I was in 4th grade. That false accusation still hurts. I still want to say "But! But! It wasn't me!"
Names hurt us a lot, as we have seen in the media recently.
The predictable Mel Gibson headed off scandal season with his diatribe against Jewish people, using every stereotype in the book in his drunken accusations.
Michael Richards' career may never get back on track again after his melt-down with comedy club hecklers. The phrase "the 'n' word" has become almost as offensive as "the n-word" itself. Is there anybody who doesn't immediately think of the actual word when they hear someone says "the 'n' word"?
"Grey's Anatomy" star Isaiah Washington has apologized to co-star T.R. Knight for the use of a gay slur, not once but twice, once at the Golden Globes, denying that he'd said it in the first place.
An article I read which explains the apology words it like this: "the Grey's Anatomy star appears to be getting off with a public mea culpa in the wake of an ABC statement Thursday calling out the actor for his use of the word 'faggot' backstage at the Golden Globes Monday."
It's a curious thing. Gay people find the word "faggot" highly offensive, and Knight has struggled with the whole issue, with his forced "outing" and with attention paid to this situation, yet, in the article, the word "faggot" is used openly. If the situation had been reversed and it had been Knight speaking a slur about Washington, would the media been as comfortable with using the word "nigger" in its article?
I don't think so.
Somehow our discomfort with some words seems to be arbitrary. It's OK to report that Washington was ill advised for calling Knight a "faggot," but when we speak of Michael Richards, he was ill advised to use "the n-word." In showing the videotapes of both incidents, the "n-word" is bleeped out in news broadcasts, but "faggot" is not.
The new "in" thing is to enter rehab. When the noose got tighter and tighter and he could no longer deny the accusations, Mark Foley claimed all sorts of reasons for his trysts with gay partners — alcoholism, drug abuse, childhood molestation — and fled into rehab. Presumably he met Ted Haggard there, another one who claimed that his homosexual adventures were the result of substance abuse.
Mel Gibson entered rehab to deal with alcoholism and his anger management issues, followed closely by Michael Richards to deal with his own anger management issues.
To my knowledge Isaiah Washington has not claimed drugs or alcohol made him attack a fellow cast member with a bad word, but he, too, has entered rehab. I didn't realize there was a "homophobes anonymous" out there. Perhaps we should alert Jerry Falwell, Fred Phelps and the whole Phelps clan.
("Hi...I'm Isaiah Washington and I hate queers...")
I'm trying to imagine what a Homophobes Anonymous meeting would be like. Fortunately this blogger has already done it for me.
I wish Isaiah well. I like Grey's Anatomy too much to demand that anybody leave the show and who knows....if the rehab program works, maybe Homophobes Anonymous can begin to have the kind of success rate that you find at the Betty Ford Clinic.
(disclaimer: There isn't really a homophobes anonymous, as far as I know, but I'd love to know exactly what sort of program one enters when one is caught uttering an anti-gay slur.)
Be nice to each other, children. You can usually recover from
sticks and stones, but those names will stick with you forever.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
(Sigh ... there are times when I wish we weren't quite so
This is entry #2495