Alex Blaze

Navigating truth, respect, and language

Filed By Alex Blaze | March 24, 2010 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: ABC, AfterElton, Barney Frank, LGBT, race, right, sexuality

Ed Kennedy had an interesting post up at AfterElton earlier about different media establishment and how they covered the epithets throw around by the tea party protestors this weekend. When talking about what the tea partiers were saying, media rarely used the term "nigger" itself and instead opted for euphemisms like "the n-word," "ni**er," and "racial slurs." When it came to "faggot," it seemed to be slightly more acceptable for media folks to use that word, although there was a lot of "fa**ot" and "anti-gay remark."

Because this incident involved both words, it's interesting to see that a few media sources would use the word "faggot" alongside "Ni**er" or "the 'N' word." Usually we don't get this opportunity to play the mierda veo, mierda quiero game so directly. (If you want to see that, just check out the comments on Ed's post.)

Personally, I don't have a say when it comes to racial slurs, but anti-gay slurs don't bother me all too much if they're just reporting what happened. I've been called "fag" and "faggot" and "pédé" by both people I know and people I don't know, friends who are gay and straight boys shouting from their cars. It's not usually that the words themselves bother me, but the fact that the words can be meant as a threat and sometimes accompanied by violence. But I also know plenty of gay men who use the word "faggot" and have no qualms about it and it's usually no big deal.

Epithets are hurtful, but it depends on context. And when the media is reporting on what other people said, when that's the entire story, it obscures the truth to try to hide the words (although I can see why they wouldn't want those words in a title).

It's especially troublesome when it comes to that video ABC got of one tea partier calling Barney Frank "faggot"; how are we supposed to know that's actually what was said when they bleeped it out? (Jump to about 0:30)

Well, do we know that it's a "homophobic slur"? Or did the person shout out "famous" because he was star-struck by seeing famous Congressman Barney Frank, and a producer at ABC misheard it and then bleeped it out? Some rightwingers are saying that there's "no proof" the incident happened, and while I trust Rep. Frank not to have made it up, the fact that a camera crew happened to be right there and caught it on film should be great proof of what happened. Too bad ABC doesn't think we can handle the truth.

It comes down to presenting truth, which is supposed to be a journalist's primary objective. And, yes, sometimes the truth hurts and sometimes it makes people uncomfortable. But these folks showed up to protest the fact that others might be able to go to a doctor if they're sick in the future, and that should make people uncomfortable from the get-go.

Instead of hiding how hateful these folks are, it should be on full display.

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Chitown Kev | March 24, 2010 5:01 PM

I agree with you Alex that I felt that with this specific story, I would rather see the full bigotry of these teabaggers on display.

To me it's sort of a style thing. News "sources" (including blogs should either use euphemisisms for both or spell both words out.

I do note that you said that media seemed be only "slightly" more willing to spell out "faggot." I think that high profile occurences of this are exactly what it takes for the word "faggot" to become the "f-word."

Teabaggers... not a surprise. Racist... not any kind of surprise.

I'm currently dealing with protesting a film showing at the Tribeca Film Festival (yup, De Niro's) actually called "Ticked Off Trannies With Knives." It was written/directed by a gay man who had already had a discussion with concerned members of the trans community before the film was shot and totally ignored their concerns. (btw, it also incorporates rape humor, some amos and andy style trannydom, and humor and camp surrounding the subject of violence against transgender women!) Yes, they even reference Angie Zapata in the trailer for the film, soon to be following by lots of drag/tranny antics.

You see, it's an "entertainment" film. A "transploitation" film. If you want to read more about it, look at:

And when we complain about the title or how it combines violence against trans women with humor and entertainment, all we get from people in the gay community is "LIGHTEN UP." Wonder how they would feel if we made an pfunny exploitation film called "Matthew Shepard's Fag Revenge"?

Juston Thouron Juston Thouron | March 24, 2010 5:48 PM

I find it gratifying that f****t as hate speech is starting to be treated as shameful. Someday homophobes will begin to lose their jobs over it (like when William F. Buckley called Gore Vidal a f****t on national TV), and for that I am glad. It cannot come soon enough in my opinion.