Saturday, February 23, 2008

Things Haven't Changed All That Much

This is for a beautiful Oxnard, CA eighth-grader, Lawrence King. He was gay and he's dead now.

If it can happen not far from Malibu, CA, it can happen anywhere.

Violent language is violence, and it’s also an enabler. We’re hearing more and more of it lately. A lynch-mob might be appropriate for Michelle Obama, suggests O’Reilly. That new anti-Hillary group founded by prominent Republican strategist Roger Stone, called CUNT. Really. The daily sludge spewed by Michael Savage, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh. The anti-immigrant rhetoric.

The more we hear it, the less it bothers us. The less it bothers us, the more we enable it. The more we enable it, the more violent the airways, and soon, the more violent the culture itself.

There’s been a 30-year escalation of violent speech against liberals, gays and lesbians, women, and people of color. Not surprisingly, there’ve been corresponding spectacularly vicious attacks on all the above.

Some we hear about—especially when the victims are pretty, blonde girls, we hear about them for days and days and days. Not a coincidence. Short, sanitized snuff flicks pitched to the worst instincts and the schadenfreude in all of us. In time, the result is that we grow bored. Read “acclimated.”

But most we don’t hear about. Most are publicized only in “gay” media or “black” or “Hispanic” media—not “important” enough to make the mainstream press. If you can’t think of examples that would support my contention, don’t be surprised. You’re not supposed to know about them. You’re not supposed to remember them.

The really bizarre part of this—the REALLY bizarre part—is that the chief purveyors of vicious language have been prominent Christian conservatives, both in and out of the pulpit. When violence is preached from the pulpit—literally or in its name-- violence is endorsed by authority. It’s that simple.

Things haven’t changed all that much since I came out 35 years ago, to accusations of “abomination.” In fact, things have gotten a lot scarier, especially for GLBT kids.

That’s our doing. Yours and mine. Because we haven’t stopped it, have we? I mean, what kind of people tolerates conditions that enable mass slayings in public schools, and looks the other way when kids call kids “faggot,” “nigger,” “dyke”?

Our kind of people, apparently.


shrimplate said...

Include me out.