Saturday, September 8, 2007

Et tu, Whitby?

A few nights ago, a bunch (about 7) of us were sitting on the roof (no, parents, don't you worry, it's a big, safe, flat roof) and some of us were drinking beers. I wasn't, because it was Tuesday night, and ... this is not a blog about my drinking habits (or lack thereof).

Something happened, and someone (to protect the innocent, we won't say who) said "That's SO gay!!"

Damn. Really? My house really has people who will say that? The first thing, obviously, is that he was slightly drunk. Not really drunk, but he'd had a few. The overweening college attitude seems to be that "If someone was drinking and was crude/rude/disgusting/inappropriate, then it doesn't count, because they shouldn't be held responsible for the things they do when drunk". I tend to look at things in the opposite way, thinking more along the lines that "When someone is drunk, they are obeying less of the rules they impose upon themselves, and so if they are crude/rude/etc, they are and should be held completely culpable, being as that's the way they really are." The question, then, is whether the person said it because he had been drinking.

If he did say it only because he'd been drinking, then I guess that's better because it means that perhaps normally (i.e. when he's obeying his internal 'rules') he wouldn't say something like that. If the fact that he said it was not influenced by the fact that he'd been drinking, then that's not so good. Either way, what he did was not cool.

The second thing is that nobody else said anything about it. I mean, not a peep was heard about "Dude, don't say that". I said nothing, that's true. The reason I said nothing at the time is because I was the definite outsider of the group, and did not want to hijack the conversation. Besides, people were drinking. When was the last time you had a satisfactorily meaningful conversation on the nature of bigotry with a bunch of people who'd been drinking? 'Snever worked all that well for me.

So I have an agenda slot up on the board in the hallway, now, for subject "that's so gay". Was approached by the house manager (who is a wonderful person) because the officers wanted to make sure that I wasn't about to attack anyone, or single anyone out in front of the group. I'm not planning to, so it was fine. I did tell her that if someone appeared to want to fight about it, then I would fight with 'em. Which is true. I'm not looking for a fight--I just want to tell the community that I'm (a) disappointed that someone in the community would say something like that, (b) surprised that nobody would protest when something like that is said, and (c) please don't say things like that because (d) in case someone missed the memo, I'm bi, and (e) shockingly, things like that are really upsetting to hear in my home.

But if someone (especially the loud, bossy housemate) wants to take issue with the fact that I'm taking issue, then watch out, man, 'cuz the fireworks will start. To be honest, I'm actually spoiling for a fight about this kind of stuff...which is why I have to be extra careful to not come off as looking for a fight. I'd like to not fight with my housemates, but about something like this I'll do it at the drop of a hat.

What I have found out, though, is that the person who said the thing will not be at the meeting. Which means I'll have to talk to him personally about it...the kind thing to do would be to approach him and ask to talk privately. What I'm tempted to do is to confront him in a common area not in front of people, but when people are around. Because it honestly wouldn't surprise me much if he came back with one of the stupid following:
(1) It doesn't mean that anymore, so why don't you get a life and move on?
(2) I didn't say that
(3) Whatever
(4) If it bothers you so much, why didn't you say anything at the time?
(5) more than one of the above

Which will be all the excuse I'll need to tear him limb from limb. But he'll probably say something like "Oh wow I'm really sorry I didn't realize I said it and I'll try not to let it happen again".

Something that really bothers me is people who go around waiting for someone to be mildly unPC and then have cats when someone is imperfectly non-neutral. Like "I am Queer/Female/a Minority, hear me roar!" Just roar, already, and don't set people up to get their throats jumped down. Puh-leeze. I think that this looking-for-a-fight business is partly that. This bugs me, because I don't want to become that person who blows everything out of proportion. At the same time, though, I think the strong meaning of "that's so gay" has been vastly diminished by apologists like me, who minimize stuff when they confront bigots about it. The alternative is to speak strongly, but without Free King Owt.

Et tu, Whitby?


Ariel said...

I think fights are seldom a good way to change people's minds. I get it that you're annoyed and want to let it out, and I'm not criticising you for that, but you should be aware that they're not a very productive tactic.

If you want to educate the guy, be as mild and unthreatening as possible.

Katherine Crocker said...

I realize that, and oddly enough, it's seldom something I actually do.

Funny, that I'm often so pacifying that in retrospect it really bothers me. Still, I tend to come off as more of a centrist now...hum.

Katherine Crocker said...

Oh and in other news, when bringing it up to the House, I totally flipped out and pretty much started crying in front of everyone.

Which definitely showed that I was serious.