Friday, May 15, 2009

IDAHO: not just potatoes

I turned on the TV in my room last night and discovered I had BBC World News. At first, I was rather excited that I had another option besides CNN, but that quickly turned to confusion and anger when I watched the first story presented.

A BBC reporter was in Moscow, where the Eurovision final is to be held on Saturday night. A gay rights activist had petitioned the city council for permission to hold a gay pride march, but had been denied (every application since the first in 2006 has been turned down by the mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, who describes the parades as ‘satanic’). However, the council is allowing “hardcore nationalists and religious groups to stage a counter-demonstration on the same day.”

Being gay is apparently not illegal in Russia, but there are many cases of gay and lesbians being the victim of violence from “neo-Nazis, ultra-Nationalists and Christian fundamentalists.” Including British activist Peter Tatchell, who was badly beaten in Moscow two years ago, and Irina Fedotova, one half of the first lesbian couple to seek a marriage certificate in Russia (they were denied), who says she has been beaten twice by extremists. While I was watching the story, she intimated that many gay people in Russia have to hide their sexuality for fear of violence against them, and that anti-gay activists will wait outside gay clubs to bash people leaving them.

Indeed, Mikhail Nalimov, leader of the United Orthodox Youth, has said there will be “a very tough reaction from a lot of [their] activists” and claims gay activists are “spiritual terrorists” and that the “aim of the gay movement is to destabilise the country and society.” Of course, it’s not possible that the aim of the gay movement is simply to allow gay people to have the same basic human rights as everyone else.

I am completely baffled by opinions such as this. I just don’t understand what people have against homosexuality. What does it matter what two consenting adults do in their private life? How on earth does it impact on anyone else? Why do religious people get their knickers in such a twist about it (such as the ‘God Hates Fags’ group in the US)? And not just religious people, but anyone? Why? I’ve heard of some people who are against homosexuality, and in particular same-sex marriage, bring up paedophilia as an argument, and say society makes it their business to prevent that sort of perverse behaviour, and claim that it’s no different to homosexuality. But that’s bullshit. Paedophilia is not between two consenting people, because one of the parties involved is a minor and unable to give consent. There is also the ridiculous argument that if we allow same-sex people to marry, what’s to stop someone from marrying their dog in the future? For the same reason – the dog can’t consent.

While I was watching the report, and listening to Nalimov say the church and his activists will continue to fight against gay activists (and putting aside the very important issues that those who call themselves Christians are hardly acting like Christians when they bash other people and act with such intolerance), I just kept repeating to myself, “But why? Why do you care if these people are gay? How is it affecting you?” Sure, you might think homosexual acts damn the soul and what not, but what does it matter to you if someone else is doing it? I hardly think bashing someone up is going to endear you to god, even if said person is doing something you think god doesn’t approve of. Two wrongs don’t make a right and all of that. Not to mention, Jesus doesn't say anything about homosexuality in the New Testament of the Bible. You’d think if it was really that important, he might have mentioned it once or twice.

I really don’t understand homosexual-hate. Anyone have a clue?

P.S. May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), so I thought this was a fitting topic.


Lewd Bob said...

I don't get it either, Puss. What really pissed me off about the Howard government stance on this topic - among many, many other things - was when they claimed that homosexual unions corrupted the sanctity of marriage.

Oh! You mean the Christian institution of marriage John? But if they're not Christian, then so fucking what? No harm done to anybody!

Janette: Oh John, do that thing to me.

John: What thing Mrs Howard?

Janette: You know that thing Mr Prime Minister. That I really, really like.

John: Oh! That thing!

Janette: Yes!

John: I can't do that anymore because I feel that it's directly related to the institution of marriage and even the thought that one day 2 poofs or lezzos can get married completely demeans the sanctity of what we've got going here.

Janette: Fuck you, you soft cock. Looks like I'll have to crack out the vibe...again!

Perseus said...

The homophobes I have known come from one or more of the following places:

1. A religious background. These are the hardest to deal with because they will stick to their guns no matter what.

2. An uneducated or disadvantaged background. Because of their struggles to be successful, they tend to blame or resent 'others', which is quite often gays, or Jews, or Americans, or whatever.

3. An insular place (whether emotionally, geographically or socially) where 'others' are looked upon with suspicion. This third group are usually the easiest to transform. Typical example is a kid from a country town who's never met a gay person, but if they spend some time in a less insular place, and they can reason for themselves, they'll end up dropping the prejudice.

There's also the much noted 'repressed gay' condition that is for psychologists to explain, but I have seen it in real life. A guy I knew who hated gays as a teenager and talked about it non-stop, turned out to be gay.

But I do suggest that homophobia is, anecdotally, in the western world anyway, a dying prejudice. I have faith that over time, the conditions will just get better and better, and eventually, it'll just be religion hanging in there, and even they will one day have to drop it.

wari lasi said...

You beat me to it with the religious stuff Perseus. After hundreds of hours of debate with zealots I've gotten nowhere. I take the stance that any position based on religion has no credibility whatsoever.

And here was me thinking that Russia was moving along. Oh well.

Off topic, but I do like to let you people know what's going on in the Third World Backwater that is your nearest neighbour. I'm having lunch with Max Walker today. Well he's the guest speaker at a function I'm going to, but I'm sat at his table, so technically I'm having lunch with him. I'll let you know how it goes, whether you like it or not.

Perseus said...

Ask him about his 83 not out!

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

and putting aside the very important issues that those who call themselves Christians are hardly acting like Christians when they bash other people and act with such intolerance

Actually, they're acting exactly like Christians.

wari lasi said...

I rekon he'll mention that in his speech Perseus. I can't wait to call him Mike though, and ask what he thinks of the Billy Birmingham stuff.

Ramon - Hear Hear. I never let any Christians forget the thousands upon thousands of people they burnt alive at the stake. It's quite a feat to hear them actually try to justify it.

Mr E Discharge said...

I just spent a week in San Francisco en-route to a conference in Houston. And in that greatest bastion of the Godless Sodomite, I saw little evidence of Gods vengeful rath, no earthquakes, plague, pestulence or famine. Instead the people seemed happy , relaxed, educated, articulate, well dressed, well fed and enjoying life. "Odd" I thought, Could the Christian Right have gotten this wrong?

catlick said...

Perseus that is a concise and comprehensive summary, and I applaud your insights. I wonder.. do violent people become haters to identify a potential victim, or are the haters, at their core, already violent?

Wari, "that was a different administration" is my favourite justification.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

The Pope has apologised for all that unpleasantness.

Pope: "Hey, you know that thing about the centuries of murder and persecution?"

The Jewish Community: "Yes?"

Pope: "Well, we're very, very sorry about that.


The Jewish Community: "Gosh.


Perseus said...

Thank you Catlick, but as to your philosophical question.. I dunno either. Cause and effect have always confused me.

Mr. E - did any of your fellow delegates say "Houston, we have a problem" at the conference? If so, how did you resist the urge to punch them?

Mr E Discharge said...

Mr. E - did any of your fellow delegates say "Houston, we have a problem" at the conference? If so, how did you resist the urge to punch them?PQ:
Only every five fucking minutes.

I tended to channel my hatred towards the city, the traffic, the climate,the food and my hotel.

Lewd Bob said...

I tended to channel my hatred towards the city, the traffic, the climate,the food and my hotel.I think we did the same anger management course Mr E. Take it out on inanimate objects.

Ebony McKenna. said...

I'm with Perseus. I just don't get the hate. But then, I'm a fairly happy person, content with my life, happy in who I am etc. Live and let live and 'why can't we all get along' etc.

But when people's lives aren't going so great, they look for someone to blame. Blaming gays is just as irrational as blaming any other group.

The people who say gay marriage somehow 'damages' the sanctity of marriage. Um WTF? Marriage is where two people commit to each other for the rest of their lives, whatever life brings.

If you don't like gay marriage, don't have one. Simple really.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Take it out on inanimate objects.

Take it out on owls, take it out on owls!

squib said...

Thanks Lewd. I was enjoying my coffee

patchouligirl said...

I'm all for equal rights and its high time gay couples at least have the same legal rights as heterosexual couples. Acceptance is a two way street though. I have known lesbians who were man haters - an attitude that would adversely effect their children. Gay people often appear to want to be in some kind of exclusive club and at the same time demand inclusion into the rest of society. I'm not sure that approach will ever work.

Anonymous said...

People I have know who have actually tried to explain their homophobia to me fall into two main groups.

1) Younger people who seem to think that if homosexuals were around them, they would have to be continually fighting of their sexual advances.

2) Older people who genuinely believe that homosexuals are 'responsible' for HIV.

There's also a third group of people that I have come across who don't seem to have a problem with homosexuality but can't stand being around people who are 'overly camp'.

My best guess at the origin of homophobia is that in olden times, producing children was something your family demanded of you and the possible 'spread' of homosexuality was perceived as a threat to family lineage. People can have funny reactions to grandchildren, and the lack thereof, even in this day and age.

Desci said...

Gay people often appear to want to be in some kind of exclusive club and at the same time demand inclusion into the rest of societyPatch, it's called 'fuck you; if you won't include us in your club we'll make our own'. Reactions like this are directly because of the exclusion people feel when they're out.

And the 'man hater' thing is... tentative, at best. Sure, there are lesbians who hate men. There are also white people who hate asian people. But the vast majority of white people don't, it's just the few ignorant cunts, etc, etc.

Perseus said...

Yes to what Desci says. I lived in Kensington for a few years where 'Somali gangs' roam. Yes, it was a bit scary at times, but I also saw why these Somali boys roamed as they did, because isolated, they were excluded from the rest of us. It was very much as Desci put it: "...if you won't include us in your club we'll make our own".

I'll say this about the much reported 'Somali Gangs' - they rarely left the housing commission flats. It was safer for them in there. Their English wasn't so crash hot anyway, and can you imagine if, say, ten Somali boys who escaped from civil war with limited English walked into your local pub or the restaurant you're dining at or the office in which you sit? They would be stared at, and largely ostracised. Hence, they form gangs.

What was my point? Ah yes, gay people prima facie sometimes do the same thing for the same reason - eg: gay pubs. Safety in numbers, with the added advantage of a place where people share similar interests, just like people who like playing footy can join a footy club. Heterosexuals sometimes complain they are not welcome at a gay pub, which to me is like a butterfly collector complaining he wasn't welcome on the field during the footy match.

patchouligirl said...

No its not the same thing. If the butterfly collector was not welcome in the football club would be more similar. Or for a gay person to not be welcome in a regular pub - that would the similar. And neither of those examples are any more acceptable than a straight person being unwelcome in a gay bar.

Melba said...

I don't get it either. I lump homophobes in a group with other types of bigoted people who I just can't be bothered with. It's not my job to try to teach them what idiots they are, and you know they'll never listen.

And hey. The government has decided to call a gay couple a legitimate couple in terms of Centrelink and benefits.

But not allow marriage.

This stinks of hypocrisy, doesn't it?

Lewd Bob said...

Melba, Perseus may pounce on your 'in terms of'. Just a warning.

Perseus said...

What Bob said.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Melba, Centrelink is the Commonwealth Government.

Marriage Acts are State legislation.

Melba said...

He can bring it on Bob. I can get a little lazy if I want. No, Perseus is nice to me. I'm not trying to date him.

Also, thanks Ramon for that clarification. So nothing at all to do with the money they'll save by making couples officially couples even if gay? Just a level of government thing?

Desci said...

Respectfully, Patch, yours is a very superficial view that disregards decades of history. When this shit (the banning, etc) happened in a more literal sense. It's still rife in a more subtle way, too, without the use of NO GAYS ALLOWED signs in pubs.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Different governments, Melba.

Melba said...

Ramon I get it. I'm not being clear with what I'm asking.

The Federal Government, then, would allow same-sex marriage to be legislated if it were in its jurisdiction? Or that's just a completely irrelevant question considering it just doesn't work like that? Put it this way. If welfare were a state-governed issue, would gay couples be acknowledged?

You know, I was wondering whether even to pursue this? I shouldn't have, should I?

Sorry. Go and drink beer.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Thank you, Melba.

I shall.

Desci said...

Meanwhile it's CBFF and I want someone to entertain me.

Someone get on a table and dance, for fuck's.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Someone get on a table and dance, for fuck's

How do you know I'm not, comrade?

Desci said...

Because, as they say in the 4chan classics, PICS OR IT DIDN'T HAPPEN.

Anonymous said...

can you imagine if, say, ten Somali boys who escaped from civil war with limited English walked into your local pub or the restaurant you're dining at or the office in which you sit? They would be stared at, and largely ostracised. Hence, they form gangs.

I think people are naturally cautious of anything that they're not familiar with. I imagine you would get the same thing if you replaced the 10 Somalis with a horribly disfigured person or if you had 10 white boys walk into a pub in Somalia. The problem comes when people decide that difference = threat. Then you get vilification.

Safety in numbers, with the added advantage of a place where people share similar interests, just like people who like playing footy can join a footy club. Heterosexuals sometimes complain they are not welcome at a gay pub, which to me is like a butterfly collector complaining he wasn't welcome on the field during the footy match.

I don't think I fully follow your analogy. I understand people who feel persecuted wanting to join groups, but are you saying that then gives people a good reason to be antagonistic toward those who aren't part of that group? Doesn't this just perpetuate the problem.

I lump homophobes in a group with other types of bigoted people who I just can't be bothered with. It's not my job to try to teach them what idiots they are, and you know they'll never listen.

This can be quite difficult when almost everyone you know holds some form of prejudice. The sad part is that many bigots don't seem to be particularly malicious. Just ignorant and fearful.

Perseus said...

No, not antaganistic. A footy player doesn't have to hate the butterfly collector, or feel ill towards butterfly collectors as a group, but he can say, "Mate, we're playing footy here, do you mind?"

So gay people open pubs and Somalis form gangs, and just because a white man or a straight man can't join, doesn't mean one group should hate the other.

It shits me when people say, "Oh, these Somali gangs are racist towards other people," because that over-simplifies the situation.

patchouligirl said...

I hear ya Desci and you are right. Still, its nice to dream that it could be that simple. Its not that long ago women and aboriginals could be banned from the public bars or for that matter voting and they didn't tackle the system by polarising themselves further from society.

Someone said to me once that no one goes through life without a homosexual thought. I've often wondered if the homophobes are in some kind of denial - whether they are straight or gay - because they had that thought and it scared them.

Melba said...

Alex, I agree, everyone has prejudices. I was just talking about the people who make theirs apparent, and it's uncomfortable to even hear their views. I was talking about the "extremists" not the "everyday."

Fad MD said...

or if you had 10 white boys walk into a pub in Somalia.As part of my work, I go to far flung places and interview people about various things, and rocking up unannounced to some of these places as a white guy can result in some tense situations.

Luckily at the moment I just need to say I love Manny Pacquiao and the tension drops a little. It rises again if you are invited to Videoke though... song selection can be fatal here.

Anonymous said...

So gay people open pubs and Somalis form gangs, and just because a white man or a straight man can't join, doesn't mean one group should hate the other.

So, exclusion is alright, so long as it's done in a friendly way? Would it be okay for a white heterosexual man to form a club that didn't allow homosexuals, women or people of colour - as long as they weren't being hateful about it? I'm not trying to be an arse here, I'm just trying to follow the logic.

It shits me when people say, "Oh, these Somali gangs are racist towards other people," because that over-simplifies the situation.

I think most social problems have a substantial amount of complexity to them. People have to be responsible for their own actions for society to function, but on the other hand, everyone is a victim of their own circumstances. I would guess that there is probably a fair amount of racism amongst Somalis, as I'm yet to find a single group of people that isn't rife with it. The thing that shits me most is when people use the word 'gang' to specifically describe a group of three or more non-whites.

Its not that long ago women and aboriginals could be banned from the public bars

I'm surprised by how many elderly people (both men and women) have told me that pubs were ruined when they started letting both sexes drink at the same bar.

Mr E Discharge said...

Some observatioms:

1: Long ago I had a hifi shop with a large gay clientele and a deeply gay business partner. Friday nights were a social scene at the shop and many friends,customers and reps would stop in for drinks.One particular rep, let's call her Bev Hooper, who we kept as our pet bigot, a rabid Liberal voter, bought up on her fathers sheep property was a regular guest. Bev was forthright in her views on homosexuals. "They're sick." "We should put them all on an island." One night she was recounting a tale about her life on the farm and her encounter with a nasty rooster when she posed a question to the crowd, half of which was overtly gay, "Have you ever seen a big angry Cock?",and then kept on talking ,oblivious to the spray of a fruity unwooded Chardonay from the nostrils of all present. She would often comment that she always enjoyed our friday night because of the "nice friendly people" she met there. A rabid homophobe who couldn't spot a poofter if her life depended on it.

2: Gays have to accept some responsibility for the level of hostility directed toward them. If they were as dull, repressed,boring and miserible
as the rest of us, they'd go largely un-noticed. Bob Brown has struck the right balance.

3: I'm sure most Gay Bashers would rather be bashing women ,were it not for the fact that:

a: It is Illegal.
b: They don't know any.

Hell's T-shirts nailed it recently with a shirt reading "It's not Gay if you beat them up afterwards."

4: The denial of rights to and the demonisation of the homosexual community is the "poliics of division".

Perseus said...


1. If there was a club called Heterosexuals R Us and a homosexual asked if he could join, they should be able to say no. It's not necessarily prejudice, or anti-gay to do so (though of course it often is, because Heterosexuals R Us is also known as Catholic Holy Communion or The Seventh Day Adventist Church). Same goes for a gay pub. It's for gay people, and just because they don't want straights in there, it doesn't mean they are anti-straight.

2. They can't legally deny straight people from entering gay pubs anyway. Interestingly, churches can ban gays from holding office and governments can ban gays from getting married.

3. I refuse to let you say that what is good for the goose is good for the gander. It is a LOT different when a straight person says, "You bloody poofter", than when a gay person says, "You bloody heterosexual!" and you know it. Likewise, saying "Fucking nigger," is much worse than saying "Fucking whitey." Because of history. Allowances need to be made.

Mr.E - We should be allowed to keep pet bigots, as long as we have them registered with the council.

Anonymous said...


Yes, there is history. Many people have had their beliefs shaped by discrimination they have personally suffered and many bigots have had their bigotry drummed into them from an early age (I'm glad you mentioned churches). Quite a few people fit into both categories. But history is unchangeable. If you use it to make allowances for behaviour rather than asking people to take personal responsibility for their actions, I don't really see how you expect to make progress. What I'm trying to get at is that I can understand how a persons bigotry can be explained by history but I don't think it should be used to try and justify it.

Anonymous said...

If there was a club called Heterosexuals R Us and a homosexual asked if he could join, they should be able to say no.

No, they shouldn't. It's not like you're making a Ducati-fanciers club and excluding a Yamaha-rider, you know.

Likewise, saying "Fucking nigger," is much worse than saying "Fucking whitey." Because of history. Allowances need to be made.

Fucking bullshit. It's intolerance and hate-mongering from both sides, and should not be allowed to pass just because of a matter of scale, or history.

Perseus said...

I disagree with you Boogeyman.

Language is power, as the po-mo crew say.

I happen to think that history plays a large part in these things.

Gay people don't go 'straight bashing' but straight people have gone 'gay bashing', and so "fucking poofter" carries with it a lot more punch than "fucking straighty".

Anonymous said...

Indeed, language is power. Just what sentiment do you think phrases like 'fucking whitey' or 'fucking hetero cunt' would be intended to convey, if not an incitement to hatred?

If anything, you'd think that being the victim of prejudicial hatred would open one's eyes to not repeating that mistake with others, but I guess stupidity knows no boundaries of race, gender or sexual preference.

I'm pretty equitable in my hatred for hatred - I dislike misandrists as much as misogynists, hetero- and homo- phobes equally, and racial h8trs of any colour can go fuck themselves.

Nor do I feel it is remotely acceptable for anyone to vilify another just because that person, through no fault of their own bar an accident of birth, happens to share physical characteristics of an historical tormentor.

Melba said...

Calling someone "fucking whitey" or "fucking hetero cunt" would be in part defined by an absence of skin pigment, and an absence of homosexuality. It's not a response to the presence of certain characteristics. If it existed seriously, as an expression of bigotry, it would be an echo taunt from black and gay people, a pay-back. I can't imagine them saying such things, had they not been vilified first. If it's become part of the patois in those cultural groups, it's just a response isn't it? To the mainstream?

So, it's not equal in that way, and Perseus is correct. History is involved, and power relations. It's a matter of power imbalance - who is perceived to be more powerful in the aforesaid relations? Whites over black and hetero over homo ('majority' over 'minority'). So you can't equate it in terms of hatred. A black dude calling a white dude whitey has nowhere near the loadedness of a white dude calling a black dude nigger.

To say that you hate heterophobes as much as homophobes is implausible to me, Boogeyman, unless you have some sort of personal experience with it. Logically, it doesn't make sense. Show me the heterophobes? Are they out bashing straight people? Do they snigger about the metro-sexual's choice of linen slacks?

Anonymous said...

I hardly think it's widespread, Melba, but that doesn't excuse it, nor does your claim that if it occurred, historical precedent would justify it. You can't continue spreading hatred under the banner of "but they started it first".

Calling someone 'whitey cunt' would not defining them by their absence of black colour, it would be positively identifying them with a racial group you were wanting to vilify. Just because the vilifier belongs to a minority and the vilified a majority doesn't make it any more right than if the situations were reversed.

And I would define a hetero-phobe as anyone who seriously maligns heterosexuals. Do I think such people really exist? No. Most homosexual people I know are too sensible for that. But as a thought exercise I would hate both equally. Likewise there are some foolish women that believe misandry is a valid reaction to centuries of misogyny, but fortunately most are too smart to fall into that trap.

But having said that, there are significant racial tensions around the world between many colours and nations, so 'whitey' is as potentially racially inflammatory as 'nigger', and I particularly dislike those idiots that are merely reactive to their cultural prejudices and don't have the wherewithall to step back and break that cycle.

If historical vilification of a group was any kind of justification for retaliating in kind to a stereotypical group of your past tormentors, I'm guessing that Israelites and Palestinians should just keep blowing each other up for a few more centuries, ditto the Catholics and Protestants in Ireland, because in each of these situations, "the other side started it and we'll be damned if we'll be the first to stop it."

Perseus said...

Man: I want to rape that woman.


Woman: I want to rape that man.


See that one comment is much, much worse than the other, and you may see what Melba and I are trying to say.

Anonymous said...

In the little town where I went to high school there were two very large sisters who would catch young men coming home drunk on Friday nights and sexually assault them. If they resisted, they would punch the shit out of them. Everyone knew everyone. Victims were given no sympathy. They were ridiculed with taunts like 'stop wingin', you enjoyed it ya sick fuck'. I don't see much of a difference.

eat my shorts said...

Man: I want to rape that woman.


Woman: I want to rape that man.


See that one comment is much, much worse than the other, and you may see what Melba and I are trying to say.
I wholeheartedly disagree, Pers. In both cases someone is expressing the fact that they want to violate another human being. It doesn't matter that one is a woman directing the comment at a man and the other is a man directing the comment at a woman.

I'm with Boogs and Alex on this one.

Hatred is hatred and rape is rape no matter who is the perpetrator and who is the victim. There's no lesser evil in those equations if you ask me.

Perseus said...

Yes EMS, but it is far more likely that the man will rape the woman than the other way around. It is probably 99.9% more likely.

Likewise, "Fucking poofter" is far more likely to hurt, and is far more likely to lead to violence and upheaval.

Though I was once a Buddhist monk, I don't go for the Buddhist axiom that the morality of an act is in its intention. I believe the act itself must also be judged.

Melba said...

Woah guys. I wasn't suggesting there were excuses or justifications for ANY type of vilification. I wasn't suggesting that tit-for-tat is ok because "they started it first." I agree with you Boogeyman on those points unreservedly.

And theoretically, Boogeyman, I agree with you about the rest of it. There SHOULDN'T be a difference between how a person derides a black person OR a white person. But there is. We should be equally damning of all types of vilification, but we aren't. "Nigger" is so loaded in a way that "whitey" isn't. Not saying it's good, just that's how it is. And the reasons for that are as Perseus says.

But yes, hatred is hatred. That can't be dissected any further I don't think.

As for the rape example, I'm uncomfortable with that one.

Anonymous said...

Man: I want to rape that woman.


Woman: I want to rape that man.


See that one comment is much, much worse than the other, and you may see what Melba and I are trying to say.

You idiot. They are equally heinous. Just because the former is more common doesn't make the latter any less of a crime.

The point I'm trying to make is that as long as vilified groups continue to re-act with more vilification, especially against innocent individuals of the target group, they continue to be marginalised in the eyes of those who might be sympathetic, AND continue a cycle of hatred and violence, the effects of which can be clearly seen in the Middle East.

As for words like 'whitey' vs 'nigger', 'hetero cunt' vs 'homo cunt', it's all in the context of which they are said. Being called 'whitey' as a prelude to having the crap beaten out of someone by a gang of blacks, would give no comfort to the receiver to think that "it's not as bad as being called nigger, and after all they only did that as a reaction to centuries of repression, and not because these particular individuals are a bunch of violent, mindless thugs."

Lewd Bob said...

Jesus this got interesting.

As a white, heterosexual man (could you tell?) I would in no way be offended if I got called 'whitey' or 'hetero'. In no way. Even if it was said with venom. It's ridiculous to think I would be. I might be scared that I was about to be beaten if it was said in a violent way, but the terms themselves would be barely noticed.

But if I called someone 'nigger' or 'poofter' I would expect them to be offended because that would have been my intention and they are historically offensive terms. And everyone knows that. People who are black or gay have been discriminated against by whites and straights since time immemorial, in many many countries and regularly to the point of violence and genocide.

The history is absolutely relevant.

Lewd Bob said...

However I agree that the 2 rape comments are equally offensive and disturbing. Woman often may not have the physical strength to carry out the threat, but clearly, according to Alex's story, and others I've heard over the years, it does happen.

Anonymous said...

I think that if you start trying to work out who finds a particular term more offensive in a particular context, you start to lose sight of the issue.

I don't see how saying

"All poofters are sub-human filth."

is any worse than saying

"All homosexuals are sub-human filth."

And I don't find either of them less acceptable than saying

"All hererosexuals are sub-human filth."

Perseus, are you saying that if all three statements were made with equal conviction and intent, you would have to look not only at the background of the person making the statement, but at the broader historical context of the relationship between homo and hetero sexuals (a context which the person making the statement may or may not be fully aware of) in order to decide how acceptable each one is?

I agree that history can tell you why a person acts the way they do. I cannot agree that it creates a scale of acceptability.

Perseus said...

Man 1 gets a call from his wife. She says, "What time will you be home? I've made dinner for you." Man 1, who has a history of violence towards his wife and is a large burly man, says in reply, "None of your business bitch, but when I do get home I'm going to hit you."

Man 2, who has never been violent in his life and is small and weedy, gets a call from his wife who says, "I just fucked the next door neighbour, I've stolen all your money and I'm leaving you, but first I'll kill your dog" and he says, "I am going to hit you."

Man 2 is still wrong, but Man 1 is clearly worse.

But in Boogey and Alex's pooncy, anal-retentive, pedantic nerd la-la land (run by IT-logical automatons), statements and acts are only judged on intention and take no account of history, potential to harm, effects and any other stimulus, and so both of these men would be arrested for threatening to harm and get equal sentences.

Thank god Alex and Boogey are not judges.

"Fucking poofter" is worse than "fucking straighty" and I stand by this.

Anonymous said...

You've had a day and a half to think about this and the best you could come back with was a tenuous hypothetical and a bit of name calling? Piss-weak.

I can see that you inhabit a quaint world where men are real men and give their little ladies a taste of the back of their hand if they burn the dinner or get too lippy, while the ladies are all timid and never initiate violence; gays are campy hairdressers with nice cologne and the victims, but never the perpetrators, of violence; and blacks are a couple of steps removed from house negros and kanakas being kept down by old whitey.

In the real world, of course, if one was walking through Fortitude Valley one night and some burly bears started shouting "fucking hetero cunt" at them they best be quite alert and keep walking; if you were strolling through Musgrave Park during broad daylight and a group of Aboriginals started shouting out "fucking whitey' at you I'd suggest you be pretty alarmed, and start running; and if my ex wife told me she was going to kill my dog, I'd be going straight to the police, not wasting time threatening to hit her, because if that psycho plans on killing the dog I wouldn't want to be coming within shotgun distance of her.

You'll notice I never said that the factors of a judicial case should not take into account all factors in a case. But perhaps I as an IT worker lack your accountant's superb grasp of Criminal Law, because whereas I see that the severity and punishment of a crime is determined by a criminal act along with a criminal intent - you see the incidental factors as primary. What a fine judge you'll make.

But then again in Perseus-land that man with the dog-killing wife should have been a real man and given that bitch a couple of black eyes, before getting a slap on the wrist by a judge for not having the 'history, potential to harm, effects and any other stimulus' that big burly wife-beater #1 had.

ps. God thanks you for invoking his name in a time of need, and advises that being a fair-weather part-time atheist isn't the inconsistent philosophical position it once wasn't.

Perseus said...

Firstly, I said Man 2 was wrong as well. I do not condone at all what Man 2 said, and I made that clear. To say that in Perseus-land 'real men' belt ther wives is incorrect. I did not and do not and will not condone fisticuffs.

Secondly, how dare you call me an accountant.

Puss In Boots said...

Well, that will teach me for posting such a thing and then not having internet access afterwards.

Anyway, I get that there are types of people who don't like gays. What I don't understand are those religious nutters (and anyone else) who go out of their way to protest against something that doesn't affect them personally in any way.

What I mean is, why on earth does that 'God Hates Fag' dude (Phelps, I think?) picket so much? It would be like me joining a protest for a primary school in WA wanting better sausage rolls or something. It has absolutely no effect on me if they have shitty sausage rolls or not. Why does he care so much if two people are gay? It just makes no sense to me. It doesn't affect him personally, so why the fuck does he care about it so much?

And honestly, what do people who are against gay marriage really think is going to happen if it's allowed (as it should be)? I've read some of the arguments and they're really weak.

As for all this later talk, I disagree with you Perseus on the fact that Boogey and Alex would make bad judges in the matter. It doesn't matter who is saying what. If it's inciting violence, then I think the punishment should be the same for everyone, regardless of history.

Anonymous said...

Perseus, in my mind

"Man 2's wife does something terrible to him and he hits her."

is completely different to

"Man 2's wife does something terrible to him and he spends the rest of his life randomly hitting women because they are all evil, leeching, dog-murdering harlots."

which, I think, is closer to what we were discussing.

In the first scenario, Man 2 is still in the wrong for hitting his wife. The only excuse for that would be if she was charging him or the kids with a kitchen knife or something. But in the second scenario, Man 2 is using his past as an excuse to lash out at people who had nothing to do with his situation. I think that makes him as bad as Man 1.

Anonymous said...

Puss, my guess is that blind faith, irrational fear and the desire to belong to something trump logical analysis in some people. If you really BELIEVED in good sausage rolls, you'd be on the next plane to Western Australia.

homesick said...
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homesick said...
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homesick said...

I couldn't be bothered cutting and pasting certain comments an opinions so apologies to those I misquote.

I too thought that there could never be an equally disturbing racial slur for whites... until I came and lived here in the Caribbean.

Not all but most here will happily tell they "hate" you because you are white. Even if they are working in white collared industries (lawyers,accoutants politicans) they don't care. The whites are outnumbered 5 to 1 here so yes it is white minority. The constant human rights violations against not just whites but anyone from overseas, attract the UN delegates but they leave frustrated without having made any progress.

Add to this a countrywide hatred of homosexuals and other religions make this a place the polar opposite to the sundrenched haven many holidays makers expect.

When you've had a "fuckin white cunt" screamed into your face along with spittle simply because you asked a woman with a small child if she could just move her car forward a little so you could get out of a parking spot that she had just parked you into, you feel pretty threatened. The same woman proceeded to throw the child into the arms of a passerby and then rolled her sleeves up in readiness to lay me out, when I suggested I could move her car for her if she liked. When you hear a Baptist church leader tell his 2000 strong congregation that God sent the tsunami to Thailand because they aren't God fearing Christians and the young kid shot outside a nightclub got a bullet in his head because he was gay, you realise that these people are no better than you average white poorly educated redneck in the deep South.

So if I remember correctly I am with Boogey on this. Racism is racism..xenophobia is what it is. A straight black woman can still be a homophobic,xenophobic racist people and she IS as bad as her male white equivalent. That is equality in its sincerest form.

Pers, when you and your children are the minority and you're on the receiving end of racial and xenophobic slurs it still hurts regardless of your skin pigmentation.

Perseus said...

A good point Homesick.

My comments are perhaps based in Melbourne.

Except for maybe the gay one.

Even where you live, do you think a gay person saying 'fucking heterosexual' said by a gay person is just as bad as 'fucking poofter'?

patchouligirl said...

I stand by what I originally said that acceptance is a two way street. You have to at least aim for a level playing field or the rules get too complicated. In the real world circumstances will be taken into account but the rules must be the same i.e. fair for everyone.

Puss is right - it should be live and let live. I think people are generally kind and polite to each other but its the exceptions that get noticed.

Desci said...

I'm with Pers, when dealing with these issues you absolutely can't just say 'hate is hate, racism is racism'. It'd be great if we could, but we would be ignoring centuries of historical context.

Puss In Boots said...

I think my point re the 'historical context' argument is that giving one side more validity than the other is just going to cause an imbalance which will lead to more 'historical context' being created. For instance, if we allowed gay people to incite violence by saying 'fucking straighty' to heteros, on the basis that they had suffered much from anti-gays for centuries, then after a few decades of this, the taunt 'fucking straighty' would be just as potent as 'fucking poofter', not in the least because heteros would be outraged that the gays were allowed to go on taunting them with little to no punishment, but they weren't allowed to retaliate, because 'fucking poofter' had more weight to it.

Which is why I think any violence-inciting is wrong and should be punished equally, without regard for historical context, because that just creates more historical context.

If any of that made sense. It makes sense in my head, at least.

Desci said...

Puss, that's a good point. It's tricky, though, because one can't just forget and start with a clean slate.

It would be great if we could all say, 'ok, minority X, Y and Z were fucked over in the past. But starting from TODAY, there will be equality for all persons'. It's a lovely thought but just not possible.

So then what do we do? If we aknowledge the historical context, it perpetuates itself in new forms. There's no simple answer, which sucks because they're the ones I'm good at.

Puss In Boots said...

I have no answers either, Desci. I'm pretty sure there will never be equality on the issue. But maybe the police and judges, etc can start it off by treating every situation the same. It's like the issue of a woman raping a man - instead of telling the guy he has nothing to complain about, or laughing at him for considering it abuse, the woman should be punished in exactly the same way a man would have been for the same crime. And the same goes for gays who incite violence with straights - they should be punished the same. It wouldn't be an easy thing to do, but I think the more it happened, the danger of more historical context being created by reverse discrimination or similar would be lessened.

Anonymous said...

Desci, I think that one can take account of historical context to provide as much help the victimised group needs to overcome past injustices and prevent recurrent ones, but that's where it ends. You can't use historical context to excuse or minimise criminal behaviour that wouldn't be accepted from the previously offending party.

Fad MD said...

Pers, you keep saying that "fucking heterosexual" or "fucking straight" doesn't have the same impact of "fucking poofter". I agree, however, the epithet I have been on the receiveing end of from gay bigots is "fucking breeder". I think that as others have said, it is the intent behind something that makes it bad, but some things sound more rediculous than spiteful. If someone said either of the former to me, it sort of "meh", but the latter really hit home to me.

I agree with Homesick as well, regarding the effect of being in a minority and having the hate directed at you.

Perseus said...

I disagree with everyone I think.

There is no level playing field.

Every crime needs to be understood in its own context.

There are degrees of murder, just as there are degrees of every crime.

If a majority attacks a persecuted minority, I just think it's worse than the other way around.

Maybe it's the way I was brought up.

Maybe another analogy: Battered wife syndrome. Puss - would you give the same murder sentence to a battered wife as you would say an abusive husband on the grounds they both had intent to murder? Surely, there's a difference. Surely.

Anonymous said...

That's a poor analogy, Perseus, because you're comparing two different classes of perpetrator - regular bully that commits violence vs regular victim that lashes out in final frustration.

Let me suggest a better and fairer analogy.

Would you give the same sentence to a husband that physically abused his wife, as to a woman that physically abused her husband? And before you tell me that "in Perseus-land only men abuse their wives" let me assure you that in the real world women do, often, abuse and physically threaten their spouses, male or female.

In that light, perhaps you can see what I've been driving at here. All people are capable of the same levels of violence, and it shouldn't be excused on grounds of gender, race or sexual orientation, which is what your 'historical factors' amount to. Situational factors, such as whether an individual has a history of being a violent bully or a victimised spouse, should be taken into account, but those factors are independent of race, gender and sexual orientation. Gays can be thugs and spouse-beaters; women can and have been abusive wives, and ladettes have been known to engage in drunken gang violence; and violence certainly knows no bounds of race. So you can't say that because someone belongs to a historically victimised group they should get any sort of consideration or sympathy when they incite violence.

Perseus said...


Melba said...

You forgot me, Perseus. You agree with me on this one. Just not the other one. The other one we completely disagree with each other.

I think this particular argument got off track from the original points being made.

But yeah, whatever.

Puss In Boots said...

What Boogey said, Perseus. A battered wife who turns around one day and kills her husband in self defense is completely different to someone killing in cold blood. I was going to mention in an earlier comment that leniency should be given for self defense, but I thought it was too obvious.

Perseus said...

"...leniency should be given for self defense"

Which is the cornerstone of my point. Provocation, self defense, context, history, the effect an act has, victim impact... all of these things have to be taken into account.

Desci said...

I kind of agree with Pers, Boogey AND Puss.

Legally, we should hear that ‘Spouse X emotionally abused Spouse Y over a period of 12 years, Spouse Y stabbed Spouse X’. Take the individuals’ history into consideration, but not their gender/ethnicity/sexual orientation, etc.