Barber on 'F-word': 'Love the sinner, hate the f**giness'
In his quasi-condemnation/ quasi-defense of Ann Coulter's usage of the word "f*ggot," the Concerned Women For America's Matt Barber (pic.) says lots of typically offensive things (just like he did in his Tim Hardaway post-mortem). However, this passage really stood out for us:
"Rather than equating the word "faggot" to the "N-word," perhaps a more accurate correlation lies between the word "faggot" and other behaviorally derived derogatory terms such as "slut" or "whore." In referencing an adulterer as a "slut" or a "whore" for that person's lifestyle choices, one voices disagreement with certain behaviors (infidelity or promiscuity) historically frowned upon by society.
But in either case, use of such disparaging words is coarse, unnecessary and counterproductive. One can express legitimate disagreement with lifestyle choices, which run counter to traditional norms and mores of society, without reverting to the use of such nasty language."
Well, we're glad you view all of these words as out of line, Mr. Barber. But are you really so desperate to make it look like "gayness" is a behavior rather than part of one's being that you need to hold a semantics debate around the word most commonly used to wound gay folks? Because call us crazy, Mr. Barber, but we think you should be far more concerned about the reasons why so many understandably take offense to the "F-word" than you should be with where it falls on the scale of verbal condemnation. And we find it more than a little offensive for someone like yourself, who so staunchly opposes gay equality, to try and discredit the offenses contained between the "F and the T."
Just like the "N-word," the "F-word" has been used by those who view themselves as superior to deeply disparage those who they view as lesser than. While both the gay and African-American communities have has some success in taking back and disempowering the terms through their own usage, these epithets are still embraced by the most extreme haters of our communities as a way to vocally bash our existences. In either case, these kinds of haters are not attacking a person's actions; they are (typically out of fear and insecurity) attacking the core of the person's being! While "slut" and "whore" are disgusting and out of line, they simply are not in the same linguistic ballpark as the other two.
Language as a whole is a contrivance. Unlike attraction or skin color, it's not an instinctual part of the human condition, but rather a man-made system of communication. The only reason why we recognize levels of hate contained in certain words is because of the actions and situations that have been attached to the epithets. In addition to knowing what it means to have attraction to the same-sex that you did not choose and that has always been present, most of us in the gay community know what it feels like to be maliciously called a "f**got." No matter how much you want to see us unwed, unable to adopt, unprotected by non-discrimination ordinances, unable to serve in the military, and "changed into "ex-gays," please stop denying the true fear that this word strikes in the heart of so many. After all, those who so diligently propagate gay bias in the public sector would not seem to be the most credible authorities on such matters.
Actually, I think his comparison of "f*ggot" to "slut" and "whore" is rather telling, personally.
Coulter used the slur because she saw 'effeminate' characteristics in Edwards (because being well-groomed, well-dressed and well-spoken are all feminine qualities that Real Men must shun). Since Coulter notoriously hates women, to include wanting to deny them the right to vote, any 'effeminate' qualities that Edwards might have are to be loathed and mocked resoundingly. Hence, implying that he was gay, because we all know that all gay men secretly want to be women.
But Barber takes it one step further. He likens the use of "f*ggot" to the use of "slut" and "whore", both of which are *overwhelmingly* used towards women. A woman who sleeps with many guys, whether 'many' is two or a thousand, is a slut, or a whore; a man who sleeps with many women is a stud, or a pimp. All of his insults, as well as Ann's, revolve around a distinct loathing for femaleness, especially female sexuality.
I'm not saying that this necessarily makes Barber gay himself, as it's perfectly possible for a straight man to hate women--but it makes one wonder why he despises womanhood so much, doesn't it?
Posted by: Katter | Mar 7, 2007 10:29:20 AM
This man would try to justify away a murder. I love coming to this site and watch him grasp at straws as he tries to lessen the effect of obvious moronic anti-gay speech that gets press sympathetic to gay people.
This whole pattern is reminiscent of his, and others, assertion that hateful behavior is actually in the name of love, just like the actions of the inquisition were done out of love for the soul of those abused.
Posted by: ptboat | Mar 7, 2007 12:18:34 PM
Actually, you might find the derivation of "faggot" interesting. In the dictionary, one of the meanings for "faggot" is "kindling", something used to start and stoke a fire. The connection between the gay slur and the meaning in the dictionary dates back to the middle ages. In those dark years, heretics and other criminals were burned at the stake as a method of formal punishment for their crimes. On the day of the execution, executioners would round up one or more of us otherwise law-abiding homos and toss us into the flames before the "headline" execution. Our screams and the smell of our burning flesh would alert the village and surrounding areas that the fun had begun and everyone should gather for the execution.
There are few words in our language that affect me like "faggot". I can think of no other word that so effectively strips all vestiges humanity from us or any other marginalized group. Not the n-word. Not the c-word. The idea that anyone can find humor in this word saddens me tremendously. The fact that conservatives, especially those in the media, will, in any way, defend the use of this word is shocking and stomach-wrenching. The fact that we use this word in our community to "reclaim" its power troubles me too. There is nothing funny, friendly or human about this word. When you hear the word, educate those around you and require that they never again use the word in your presence. This isn't a free speech thing - it's a dignity thing. Require those around you to respect your dignity.
Posted by: Anthony in NYC | Mar 7, 2007 1:40:51 PM
Wow, great thoughts and research, Anthony! It is a despicable, nasty word that deserves no real debate or defense.
Posted by: G-A-Y | Mar 7, 2007 1:44:17 PM
My thanks also to Anthony to providing this info. I was trotting over here to point this out as well, but I only vaguely understand this stuff. Good intel!
I agree that it is hard to own this word in our community--unlike the color pink or other words like "queer". It really is abominable. Mr. Barber needs this information...so does Ann, I suppose. I don't know if it would make any difference in how they disparage their fellow human beings, but at least they might take a moment to consider what they are really saying to and about people when they employ such language or "pooh pooh" it away.
Posted by: Dash | Mar 7, 2007 3:17:57 PM
Actually, you might find the derivation of "faggot" interesting. In the dictionary, one of the meanings for "faggot" is "kindling", something used to start and stoke a fire. The connection between the gay slur and the meaning in the dictionary dates back to the middle ages.
Though this seems like a likely etymology, it is my understanding that there is no proof for it.
Posted by: ptboat67 | Mar 7, 2007 3:53:35 PMcomments powered by Disqus