Monday, September 14, 2015

The Little Girl Who Cried Homophobia


Disclaimer: if I put in all the disclaimers that I felt the need to, they would be longer than the actual piece itself. The internet pages would pile as high as the moon. I left a few in for good measure.

Someone wrote to our local alt-rock radio station and complained about the lyrics to Blink 182's "What's My Age Again". Paraphrasing: "The song contains homophobic lyrics, and I think you should stop airing it. I'm sure the band thought this was funny once but now it's disrespectful."

I've heard this song plenty of times and I couldn't remember any homophobic lyrics off the top of my head. Mind you, I'm not so good with lyrics, so I thought I'd give 'er the ol' Google lyric search, and came up with what I'm guessing is the guilty language:

Then later on, on the drive home
I called her mom from a pay phone
I said I was the cops, and your husband's in jail
This state looks down on sodomy
I say "guessing" because this is far from homophobic, yet is the only thing remotely gay about the song (besides the song itself rimshot disclaimer I love the gays I have gay friends).

Sidenote: Here's a jokesplanation for anyone that may need it. The guy in the song prank called his ex-girlfriend's Mom, saying that her husband had been arrested for an illegal act of sodomy in whatever state they're in where sodomy is still illegal.

I think that the radio complainant either misunderstood the joke and thinks it's about prison rape (in which case it's less homophobic and more contributing to rape culture) or thinks that only gay people practice sodomy. Even if that were the case, how does that make the lyrics homophobic?

Disclaimer: as a straight white cis male sexual assault survivor with a decent job, my opinions on what is or isn't offensive are... well they're not strong. I mean, I believe the shit out of them, but they're not taken seriously by the politically correct crowd, and what follows will likely be tossed aside like an empty cup at a Tim Hortons drive-thru but here goes...

Listen PC police: you have to reign in your flagrant accusations of "that's blablaphobic" and "that's whatevercist" because you're basically diluting out the word to the point where it's becoming not meaningless but SUPER annoying.

Once upon a time, racist meant not giving someone an opportunity that they rightfully deserve, excluding them solely by the colour of their skin. Once upon a time, homophobic meant not wanting to shake hands with a gay man for fear of catching AIDS.

These days, even the slightest bit of perceived offense is called racist or homophobic or bullying because these buzzwords carry a lot of weight. Use one of these during a public calling out of a celebrity or corporation and you can bet there's gonna be some firing and apologizing because once one of these word bombs is dropped, the shit rolls downhill fast. Blogs and news outlets run with it and people end up apologizing just to make the mess go away.

The problem is that for each perceived offense that doesn't necessarily deserve such a drastic buzzword, it makes said buzzword more annoying.

Person A: Did you hear about so-and-so's *air quotes* racist tweet?
Person B: *rolls eyes* Here we go again, what's everyone overreacting to now?

This is the attitude you're inadvertently creating in others. Most people are decent and have a baseline level of political correctness that allows us all to co-exist relatively peacefully. But even these people have a line, and you cross it by calling out every single transgression as a hate crime, no matter the severity. Choose your battles and you may stand a chance at making a difference.

Disclaimer: the reason I said "little girl" in the title is because it was a girl that wrote to the station. At least, she had a girl name. I don't know how she identifies herself along the gender spectrum, and whatever her choice is that's fine with me. But her name sounded girly.




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