buzzword is a buzzword: or, i wasn’t talking to you

Hello kittens,

I got two comments from a self-identified “straight, male WASP” that have been sitting in the queue since I wrote DWD because I felt I couldn’t in good faith publish them without seriously addressing their content.

I will now approve these comments, and then proceed to deconstruct the everliving hell out of them. Because you’re not entitled to like my answer any more than I’m entitled to like your question.

Ready? Okay!

As a straight, male WASP, I was anticipating rhetoric, obnoxious buzzwords, and faulty logic when I read the subject of your post.   I was pleasantly surprised.  The buzzwords were there, but you seemed to find them just as obnoxious as I do.  There is a lot to be said for movements, and it is necessary to identify the group as such in order for them to work, but, as you poignantly explained, it is a shame when the group identity overcomes the individual, especially when the purpose of the movement is to more freely permit individuality.

I’ve never gone in for the argument that outsiders seeing your in-group critique is enough to not engage in in-group critique.

But I’m not above holding myself accountable when my work has unintended consequences.

I wrote what I wrote for me, and because I knew there was (what I thought to be) a small contingent of queers who were similarly pissed off.

It turned out that what I wrote resonated with thousands of people, and while not all those resonances where consonant, I think it was reasonable of me to assume that any assonance would be in-group.

Frankly, I think I’m well within my rights to say that I wasn’t talking to straight cisgender people.

Exactly zero percent of the reason I wrote DWD was to satisfy straight people’s critique of queerness.

Straight people and I are coming at a critique of queerness from entirely different directions.

My critique of queerness comes from 15 years lived experience as a self-aware and publicly living queer, immersed variously in the context of the LGBT rights movement and postmodern queerness.

Straight people, in my experience, are coming at a critique of queerness from a bizarre admixture of homophobia and transphobia, sexism (in the form of lingering suspicion of the women’s rights movement), self-satisfied right-drifting neoliberalism (i.e., liberals for Ron Paul), and the need to say ‘thought police’ at least five times a day.

And ya know what? Putting all that aside, I still wasn’t talking to you.

I was talking to people who have lived the queer experience, whatever that means.

When I critique pomo academic queer feminism, my critique doesn’t end with, “in closing, go make me a sandwich.”

You were expecting “rhetoric, obnoxious buzzwords, and faulty logic”? Well, let’s move on to the next sentence in your comment for context, eh?

My upbringing and sexual identity have been such that I have not been very thoroughly exposed to the gay (or queer?  What is the proper term?  I don’t even know, really.  Whatever, you know what I’m talking about) rights movement.

First of all, for the everloving love of dog in kennel above, all 1793 (!) words in that post were about the distinction between queerness and the gay rights movement.

The implication of your statement is that queer theory makes use of “rhetoric, obnoxious buzzwords, and faulty logic.” I’m going to go out on a pretty sturdy limb and guess your statement doesn’t hail from your desire for clearer communication and adhering to logic trees.

You say that you aren’t involved in queerness, up to the point of not being able to tell LGBT from queer.

You know not from whence you speak, sir, and I offer now this counsel, perhaps useful in life in general: in manners unknown to you and which do not concern you, it likely proper form to shut the fuck up.

Now, sir, I know you’re chafing under the collar now to scream “free speech!” (or “first amendment!” or “thought police!”).

Sir, you’re certainly entitled to have your opinion.

Just as I’m entitled to inform you that your opinion about my opinion of queerness matters about as much as white people’s opinion of Bill Cosby’s opinions about parenting in black communities.

It’s nifty that you give us permission to have movements. And I know you thought you were coming from a good place when you said:

Here’s hoping for a future where people can just identify themselves by their names, instead of needing groups and labels.  Here’s hoping that someday even the word “queer” is no longer necessary, and being queer can be seen by society as just as natural as breathing.  It’s a long time off, but it might come.  Cheers!

But here’s the thing: we don’t need your permission. And you know what they say about the road to hell and good intentions.

You see, sir, you really tipped your hand here. You’re looking forward to a society when people don’t have to use the word queer, when names replace labels and groups dissolve away.

I bet you say, “I don’t see color, I see people!”

Come closer. I want to make sure you get this.

The only people who look forward t0 a future where everyone is the same are people already privileged and enfranchised by existing systems.

There was this great sketch with Candace Bergen and Gilda Radner talking about the ERA. I think it was the first season of SNL. Gilda Radner was parroting the silliest claims of the opponents of the amendment, and Candace Bergen said the most heartbreakingly incisive thing: “we can be equal and still be different.”

You don’t want to consider a day when everyone is respected and honored for the panoply of differences they bring to every table.

You – and a whole fuck ton of other people – at best dream of a future world where everyone is or acts exactly like you, so that you can treat everyone like a straight WASP guy.

I know it’s difficult to imagine from your privileged perch where you (think you) mediate all matters because you’re above them that not everyone wants to be treated like a straight white guy. Because being a straight white guy in this culture kicks total ass – why wouldn’t everyone want a piece of that?

This might come as a surprise, but not everyone is a straight WASP man. In the ideal society, our differences will not disappear. They will be seen as assets in keeping our species vital.

Well, sir, there you have it. About 1000 words addressing some of the points in your comments. I regret that I couldn’t get to your question about corporate sponsorship. But even this Marxist faggot doesn’t have time to explain people’s right not to have their politics with a side of corporate greed.

Likewise, I regret not getting to this gem:

Marriage though…. can’t the solution be simple?  Just eliminate it from the governmental picture.  Give it no rights, no protections, no definitions, no taxes or tax breaks, no legal standing, and call it a religious institution.  Let the churches decide for themselves what to do with it.

Because I’m afraid I won’t even be able to convince you how deeply 1) fucked and 2) ahistoric that notion is. But here’s a fun fact for you to consider: the church only started policing marriage in the middle ages. For most of the church’s existence, religion and marriage were as separate as you and me.

Well, perhaps one more tidbit: if you think turning over decisions on the rights of a minority from one tyrannical majority to another tyrannical majority is going to solve anything, well…I’m not sure what you were expecting to get from reading my critique of queerness.

In closing, sir: go make your own damn sandwich.

-Big Mama Schlomo

5 thoughts on “buzzword is a buzzword: or, i wasn’t talking to you

  1. Hey, here’s your straight male WASP again.

    I think you kind of missed the point of me identifying that way. I told you I was a straight male WASP precisely because I wanted you to understand that I KNEW I was coming from a place of privilege, and that as a result, I was taking all of my own thoughts on the matter with a hefty grain of salt. The whole part about me not really knowing what term to use for queer was similarly intended to emphasize how little I know about what I am talking about here. So, when you say this is none of my business, you are very, very right.

    That being said, I am interested. What I wrote, obviously, touched a few nerves. I didn’t actually expect to hit so many nerves. And, since you decided to actually respond (which was a surprise), I figure I’ll at least pursue the conversation, because, well, why not?

    You say that in matters unknown to me, it is proper form to “shut the fuck up.” Well, perhaps, but I don’t hold much with proper form, and I learn best from putting forward my ideas, and having people who know better beat the crap out of them until more correct ideas become apparent. So, proceed.

    I implied that the LBGTQ movement relied on faulty logic and rhetoric. For that I apologize. You were right in assuming that some of that expectation came from dealing with feminism, where sound logic is sometimes very thin on the ground, and the distinction between the necessity for equality and “We’re always right” very often blurs. Don’t get me wrong, I think there’s a lot of good there, and a lot of feminists are geniuses that can show me a million ways I am wrong. But, there are also a lot of people there who simply assume that because I am male, anything I think about the matter is automatically false, or in some way threatens them, which is blatantly, patently incorrect. It was a mistake to assume that all movements by disenfranchised people are the same, however, so, again, I am sorry. The homophobic and transophobic part, well, I try, but surely I fail just like many others. I haven’t really had many opportunities to try either, my part of the world is rather secluded from these areas of culture.

    Now, you say the whole marriage idea I mentioned was royally fucked. Why? Sure, marriage became a church affair in the middle ages, but now it’s a religious thing, and mixes religion and state, dangerously, to my mind. Making it a state matter only encourages religious people with limiting ideas to try to turn those biases into law. Wouldn’t it be more legally consistent, and more effective to simply get rid of the state institution all together? I don’t really see why this is “fucked.” Of course, a lot of laws would have to change, and a lot of things would need adjustment (taxes, etc). But, if these adjustments are for the greater good of society, it seems like they are worth the effort to make things right.

    Well, I might write more later, but I need to get to work. Until then, ciao.

  2. Sir, you’re officially the first person to reach their lifetime limit of attention on! It is not my job to continue to “beat the crap” out of your ideas, and my personal website is not debate club. You have the response I gave you, and that is all.

  3. Fair enough sir. That is, of course, your prerogative. Do you mind if I continue to comment and see if other readers feel like responding, or would you prefer I take my inquiries to another venue entirely?

    • Well, here’s the thing. I don’t have that active of a comments section, so I doubt very much that strategy would be an edifying one for you. To quote my commenting policy:

      “The degree to which I interact with any commenter is at my sole discretion. Comment bombing me to point out that I am not paying enough attention to you will cause me to figure out how to ban you.

      This is not a general education queer feminism blog, and it is not my job to educate you on-demand. Unless a post is expressly of a feminism 101 nature, I do not provide those services. I bet dimes to donuts Google can help you find an answer.”

  4. Pingback: why this jewish atheist doesn’t hate christmas… «

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