Heya! It’s that time of the year again, where instead of reviewing a book, I review something in the real world (and I was going to pretend that sometimes I talk about real world things that I like, but really these posts are a way for me to vent about something that pisses me off). Today I’m going after the F word.
No, not fuck. That curse is great and good. It’s sharp and punchy and satisfying. I’ve actually got nothing against swearing in general. Some people say that it shows a lack of intelligence (can’t you think of anything else to say!) and other people say it actually indicates that you might be more intelligent (there’s a study out there somewhere, which a lot of people have been posting with captions like “see grandma! I fucking told you!” But it came at me through Facebook so I’m not marking anything down as solved just yet). I stand a little more firmly in the middle. Some dumb people swear a lot, some smart people swear a lot, and swearing is fun and who cares. The word shit isn’t, on its own, any worse or more offensive than the word poop, but it feels a lot better to say it when you’ve stubbed your toe.
There are a few words out there that I’m definitely not here for. There’s about a handful of them and they all suck for the same reason. Words that are, because of their history, attached not to anger, but to hate. To people’s attempts to belittle other human beings, to treat them with disgust, to categorize them as less than human. One of them, the most prominent and vile of them all, the one that I won’t even refer to in its watered down form, is the one you’re thinking of right now. But there’s a few others out there. Retard. Bitch. Tranny.
I’ve been lucky enough in my life (at least once I moved out of small-town Alberta) not to have to encounter it very often. I live in a big, wonderful, gay as hell bubble and it’s the best. But recently I was watching a show on the recommendation of a friend (we’re both super into the comedians that created it, and she wasn’t wrong that the humor of the show, filthy and crass, was right up my alley) and in one of the episodes a character uses the word faggot. Not once, but twice. And I get what they were doing, sort of. It was an older brother talking to his younger brother and I guess that’s just the way that older brother’s talk (Is it though? Maybe it’s different because all I have are sisters and I’m a raging homosexual, but even when I was teasing or fighting with them I don’t remember ever talking to them like that), but…I dunno, I found it really jarring and unnecessary. It knocked me right out of the show. I watched the rest of the episode, but I didn’t enjoy it. I’d been in the middle of a big binge and after it was done I turned it off and I haven’t been back. Worst of all, it had no purpose. They weren’t using it to say anything, it wasn’t highlighting their relationship or as an indicator of a particularly vile character. They could’ve swapped it out and the story and jokes wouldn’t have changed a bit.
Now I know that it doesn’t make sense to demand that anybody make anything specifically for you or to expect the creators of art to respond to your criticisms. The only thing you can really do is bow out. Even then, it’s a pretty feeble form of protest. The creators, the ones responsible, won’t notice. If they did, they probably wouldn’t care.
But you know what? Fuck it, I’m going to do it anyways. Stop using the word faggot! It sucks. Especially in such a throw-off, unnecessary way. It reminds me, and everyone like me, that people still think that comparing someone to me is the worst insult they can sling. That people think of us as less than. And yes, those people are dumb and their opinions don’t matter, but when artists I like and respect use it…I dunno, it just sucks. So cut it out. If it doesn’t have something to do with the story itself, take the extra minute to think of something else. It won’t take long and the time that it does take, is time well spent.
Try something with the word fuck in it. It’s very satisfying.