Tegan's Fave (kimbahlee) wrote in nd_queers,
Tegan's Fave

something to get the discussion rolling..

a while ago, I had half-heartedly complained to one of my editors at The Forum about his attempt at humor in one of his columns. in the column, he was discussing the phenomenon of the emo culture, and he offered his own versions of emo people-- like screamo (angry kids), gizmo (tech-savvy kids), slowmo (slow, plodding musicians).. and then he offered up...

homo. here's what he wrote:

Homo – This isn’t what you think. Homos are the emo kids who are very proud of their hometown. This has yet to catch on in Fargo-Moorhead or Grand Forks.

i wrote him an e-mail about the remark, saying,

Honestly, my initial reaction about the homo thing is to be offended- like you're taking such a derogatory term and making a joke out of it, you know?

he never wrote me back, so i figured he thought i was blowing it out proportion or maybe he just didn't care... until today, when i received the following e-mail:

So I bought a car, a Subaru wagon, and twice people have told me it's a lesbian car.
I want to write a column about Subarus and their reputation as "gay friendly"cars.
Is the term "Lesbo" offensive, if I'm referring to my "lesbo" car? How about butch or dyke, if it's in reference to the car?

(which is kind of funny, because then it seems like i've become the GLBT liason at the newspaper, which is probably kind of true...) anyway, this is how i responded to him:

As much as I think it'd be hilarious, I don't think the GLBT community would appreciate the idea. You wouldn't say "people have told me it's a black car" or "people have told me it's a Mexican car"... What makes it funny if it's about gays or lesbians? I see where you're going with this, but still... 
If you're set on this idea, though, butch might be your best option, because if you put in a context of an insult -- "You f-cking butch" it's not nearly as offensive as "You f-cking lesbo" or "You f-cking dyke".
Hmm..I'm still not sold... even if Subarus are pretty dykey (see?! I can say it!!), maybe it isn't fodder for a newspaper.
This is an interesting topic- I could talk about this forever! Anyway, let me know what you think.
(PS I know you're not a homophobic jerk)

so.... my question to you would be, how would you respond to this type of "humor"? what suggestions would you offer to him? he's trying, and he really is a good guy... so i'm honestly curious.

ETA: i just talked to my public editor about it, and she interrupted me and said, "more than anybody here, how do you manage? do you ever feel like you should just give up, like you're not being represented well enough here?" which began a discussion of my progressive politics being in direct conflict with the conservative ethos of the newspaper, (my liberal bias was covertly hidden at the beginning of my employment and is now blatantly obvious).

an interesting thing for your employer to bring up, but since we were being honest, i said "you have to change the system from within." angie laughed and asked if i had seen any difference or improvement since i began, and i told her, "well, john wouldn't know to ask me about his car unless i brought up how i was offended the last time he casually slung around a derogatory term. that's progress." and you know what? i guess it is.
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