Monday, April 07, 2008

The F-word: Faggot

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, I'm reducing my workload by re-using and recycling a bigass comment I just left over at Saskboy's fine boog: Abandoned Stuff. Sasky's boogin' o the unacceptability of the slang term, "faggot." His post's title sez it all: Fag not a cigarette, and not a word acceptable in 1991 either.

It ain't a word that I use but I don't think it's all that uncommon, even in 2008.

On Friday night at 9 PM, Ma an’ me watched a movie on the Express-vu. It was called Reign Over Me. It was just released in 2007 and starred Don Cheadle and Adam Sandler. It was set in the present time and concerned a mental breakdown suffered by the Sandler character after his family was killed in 9/11.

More than once in the script, one or the other of the two main characters taunted the other by calling them a “faggot” or saying their actions were “faggoty.” I don’t recall any uproar last year when this movie was released. I’d be interested to know how many complaints were lodged to TMN (The Movie Network) after they premiered the movie on TV last Friday. I’m guessing there were zero.

As late as the late 80’s, HIV-AIDS was still being referred to as the “gay plague.” In about 1988, I remember a friend of mine saying he quit shopping at the A&P because he saw a queer handling the vegetables and he was genuinely concerned of a health risk.

I ain’t sure about the dirty fingernails part but a lotta Canajuns did believe in 1991, that gays were responsible for the AIDS epidemic. I think a poll would probably reveal that many Canajuns still hold those beliefs.

Even today, a common schoolyard taunt is, “That’s so gay!” I’ve even heard parents of teens use this expression when they’re trying to be as cool as their kids. And when I’ve responded to that expression by asking what the parent has against gays, I’ve got the stunned silent treatment.

I don’t know whether or not Lukiwski’s apology was sincere. I know that people can change. That’s not just an idealistic belief. It’s a fact that I’ve experienced and seen with my own eyes.

Many MP’s spoke against and voted against SSM. Even a number of Liberals. Personally, I think they were wrong. Parliament thought they were wrong, too. Mostly, though, they were only doing what they felt they had to do: representing the majority opinion in their ridings. I don’t want to start punishing MP’s for accurately gaging and honestly representing public opinion. That’s a slippery slope, too.

I think Lukiwski needs to get a slap in the form of losing his Parliamentary Secretary position. He also needs to do something to demonstrate a change in attitude. He claimed he would be trying to reverse his bigotry for the rest of his life. I want to see some outreach to the LGBT community.

I think we’d like to think we’re enlightened in 2008. We’d also like to make that enlightenment retroactive to 1991. We weren’t enlightened then and we aren’t enlightened now. Neither in Saskatchewan nor Hollywood.

JimBobby