Sunday, November 7, 2010

Brody's Scribbles... When We Were Very Young

By Tim Trent (Dartmouth, England) NOV 7 | With apologies to A A Milne, perhaps the more so since I live very near The Harbour Bookshop which Christopher Robin Milne started in 1951, when we were very young we had to learn what words meant. And we learnt that some were words we would not understand until we were older. We learnt that some words were considered to be nasty, and that some words are used in an attempt to hurt.
When I was seven years old I was teased by teachers and boys because I shared a surname with some fictional detective. 'Trent's Last Case' was often used, presumably in a friendly manner, around me. But, at seven years old, it upset me because of the frequency of its use, and the chanting of other silly seven year old little boys.
When I was thirteen years old I found I didn't like the way the word 'queer' was used for chaps who were attracted to other chaps. I found it to be hurtful, not so much because of the word, but both because of the context and the fact that it set boys like me apart as abnormal.
queer |kwi(ə)r|
1 strange; odd : she had a queer feeling that they were being watched. • [ predic. ] dated slightly ill.
2 informal usually offensive (esp. of a man) homosexual. noun informal usually offensive; a homosexual man.
verb [ trans. ] informal spoil or ruin (an agreement, event, or situation) : Reg didn't want someone meddling and queering the deal at the last minute.
I allowed the word the power to hurt me because I hadn't the experience to realise that there is truth in the old saw about sticks, stones and words, but only if we are determined and united about the words. Even so, 'queer' hurt me more than any other epithet describing or classifying or categorising homosexual men.
Recently homosexuals have reclaimed and rehabilitated 'queer' by using it of ourselves as a word we have now removed the power from. We have taken the insult hurled at us, scrumpled it up, flattened it out, ironed it, and now wear it with increasing pride.
When I read about the rather nasty pentecostal minister in New York, James Manning, a man who has released a video of vitriolic self serving bile and venom, I watched it. I watched it only because of the article that surrounded it. It's hilarious, though unpleasant. He's another Taliban Christian who seems to have a very dirty, dirty mind. How on earth did having sex with lambs, goats, cows and dogs get into his hot little head? Ah well, there web sites for things like that.
The thing that struck me was his idea that he should encourage his flock - I imagine that would be lambs, goats and sheep, since cows are in herds - to call us by all the nasty names he can find. 'Fag' I have heard of. 'bulldagger' I have not. Perhaps we're back to cows again. Where does he get this imagery? 'Sodomite' shows an incompetent understanding of the bible.
Now, apart for falling about with laughter over this pointless little guy, I think we should simply adopt his insults in the same way we've adopted 'queer'. I'm happy to say I'm a fag. I still have no idea what a bulldagger is. I tried dictionaries to no avail.
His stupid words have no power to hurt me. 
But he needs to be told, in words of very few syllables, that his attempts to demonise the kids who trust their parents and come out to them, and plain wrong. Not to mince words, he's preaching hate. Here in the UK that would be illegal. I am not a lawyer, but I am going for the Equality Act (2010), section 111. And that hatred he's preaching will lead to more suicides.
This Taliban Christian needs to be set right, or set aside.