Portly Dyke, writing at Shakespeare's Sister, fired off this letter to The Advocate in response to their "Gay is the New Black" Cover.
"_________ is the New Black" is a phrase meant to infer that something is new or cutting edge. News for you: Oppression is neither new nor cutting edge -- in fact, lateral oppression among and between disenfranchised groups is so old and status-quo that perhaps your cover would be better served with the following slogan: "Same Shit, Different Gays".
In your rush to construct a "clever" cover, perhaps it did not occur to you to completely think through the inferences in your choice of trendy phrase -- which is most commonly defined to mean this: "Blank is the New Black" is used "to indicate the sudden popularity or versatility of an idea at the expense of the popularity of a second idea". Get that?
Which I do. And yet, speaking from my perspective as an ethics blogger who dosen't really concern himself about specific niche groups, I really didn't have a handle on the issue.
For me, an image helps, something that focuses the idea for me. And I found it in the comments threads.
This is where I got my "ahHA!," the point where I realized what was wrong with this picture.
My instinctive rresponse to the Advocate is "please; get OVER yourself." And I'll tell you where it comes from; it comes from the abuse community, various mental heath communities, the places where damaged and broken people come together to commensurate, whine a little, and then learn to get over themselves and cope. Not because there's some grand moral imperative to do so and certainly not at ALL because that's what people who watch Larry The Cable Guy think we SHOULD do, but because the alternate is being stuck, paralyzed and stupid, whining in public.
One of the greatest sins among those trying to cope with their crap is "abuse-sizing;" claiming that the nature and circumstances of their abuse or oppression is ever so much more significant than that of another person belonging to a different group that is oppressed for different reasons.
There is really no intelligent response to this that doesn't involve some mockery; and for two reasons. First, because stuck people need to be slapped out of the things that keep them stuck. And second, because it really doesn't matter what excuses people used to oppress you. After years of poking under rocks and teasing out motivations, I've come to a conclusion that would be clear to more folks if it weren't for precious stunts like this.
There is no difference. Oppressors and abusers do what they do to the people they can isolate, cut out from the herd and torment. They depend on behavior just like this to make it possible. The Advocate has "come out" as being a publication with no interest in actually dealing with the problem - rather, they have siezed upon "being oppressed" as being a means of creating a captive market, a dysfunctional closet filled with potential victims. And you would want to be in that closet, because one is surrounded by a better quality of victim?
We are in a culture war with the same exact peckerheads - peckerheads that collectively make up no more than 30% of the US population, and while I don't have figures, I'm betting that's ballpark for pretty much everywhere. Some places, they have more clout, some places less, but the thing to remember, they are all the same, everywhere, the world over.
However, they pick on three percent here, ten percent there, one in 150 one day, five in a hundred another. Oh, they all have their own pet hates - but the real, core motivation is the same.
They like hurting people. They like having power and abusing it. They like beating queers to death and bragging about it. They like calling autistic people "freaks." They like lynching black people. They like burning down and blowing up and shooting and torturing people who are different from them. They celebrate cutting the clitoris off a screaming eight year old to "keep her pure."
There are all kinds of reasons they give, many justifications and rationalizations - but it's all bullshit. The point is, the existence of a "them" is the only thing that defines them to themselves. Their entire culture depends on defining themselves as not black, not gay, not weird, not strange, not "defective," not sick, not twisted. They think of themselves as normal, and they prove that to themselves by doing their very best to make life as difficult and dangerous as possible for everyone else.
So let us stop enabling these people. I'm calling The Advocate on doing just that. This is not "The Last Great Civil Rights Struggle."
It is the EXACT SAME CIVIL RIGHTS STRUGGLE.
And then there is this immensely stupid, annoying distraction of a "War On Christmas." It's all about 30 percent of the population making war on the rest of us.
Well, we have a small, historic window of opportunity. And a very simple path to victory. All it takes is a loud, unifed, determined "no." An affront to one is an affront to all, and that the sort of person that thinks themselves entitled to abuse and persecute others in the name of Flag, of God, of Politics - that person is a danger to everyone.
If these last eight years have not been lesson enough to us to put an end to this, these thirty percenters will continue to drag us into the killing fields. For literally, there is no difference between prop eight and Krystalknacht, between the killing fields of Cambodia and the voting booths of Kansas. The people who did and would do these things are all the same. The only question is, how far do we let them go; how much do we tolerate? Because those examples show us just how far they WILL go, given the chance. And before there were thugs smashing glass and skulls - there were lots and lots of "minor" transgressions. Like, say, Prop 8. Like, say, Legislation to protect the "consciences" of bigoted busybodies.
I'm fed up right now. I don't need some pinhead pulling a plastic bag over my head in the name of Jeezuz to tell me that I should have paid attention earlier. What about you?
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