Saturday, July 10, 2010

No Outrage Over Gay Slurs At NV GOP Event, On NPR?

Let's play a little game.

Suppose that at the Nevada Republican Party's annual convention, the speaker appearing between the candidate for U.S. Senate and the GOP's national party chairman called Barbara Mikulski a bitch. Or Brian Sandoval a bean bandit. Or, even, Barack Obama, say, a Negro.

Would be kinda a big deal, right? Would probably lead the news, no?

Here's a startling passage deep, deep, deep inside Laura Myers' account in the Review-Journal of the GOP confab at Green Valley Ranch:

Between Angle and Steele, impressionist Rich Little entertained the crowd with an act that included a George Burns impersonation, lots of Harry Reid jokes and a gag with a punch line that referred to Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., who is gay, as a "queen".

And that's it. Myers didn't think it necessary to ask the GOP leadership if that was appropriate or offensive speech. She didn't think it was worth breaking out as a sidebar or moving up in the story as you know she would if any of the three examples I provided earlier had occurred.

According to Steve Sebelius' Tweet, the hilarious Rich Little quip went something like: "I performed for a queen. Barney Frank." Nevada News Bureau editor Elizabeth Crum, herself a conservative, nonetheless also seemed appalled in this Tweet: "Rich Little on stage. Cracks joke about Barney Frank that I will not repeat. Tweet. Whatever. #nvgop"

Except it's NOT a "whatever." It's a WTF? This is still OK? I wasn't there, but I betcha Steele and Angle and the rest of the room roared in laughter. That's funny, those queers, err, I mean queens.

And, yes, I call liberals to task when they refer to Rush Limbaugh's girth. That's not acceptable or relevant either. Remember back when Wanda Sykes and everyone else who laughed at her got bashed for wishing Limbaugh would die? So the fact that Little is a comic -- and that's quite a generous term for Little these days -- does not absolve him or his amused audience.

This doesn't yield an apology from Nevada Republican Party Chairman Mark Amodei? Or from the party's titular leader of the moment, Sharron Angle? Or any follow-up from the mainstream media? Can you imagine if the same sort of thing was said about ANY OTHER GROUP?

P.S. My partner, Miles, has been wanting me to note that this week NPR's Fresh Air goddess Terry Gross aired a clip -- unbleeped -- from comic Louis C.K.'s TV show containing five instances of the use of the word "faggot." Gross and the comic use the word five times each in their conversation, too. The sequence goes from 11:51 to about 19:00. As Miles notes, it's fine to have a discussion of an offensive word, but if this were nigger, it would have been bleeped in the clip and the talkers would have said "the 'n' word" instead of the whole slur.

So NPR's conduct, too, is pretty outrageous. And one way you know Miles is right is that in the TRANSCRIPT of part of the sequence on Fresh Air's website, the word "faggot" is removed for "[the slur]". So it's OK for broadcast but not for writing on the Web? Huh?


Anonymous said...

Steve, I understand your unhappiness with Rich Little and the audience that laughed, but Elizabeth Crum's Tweet isn't as bad as you think. Her "Whatever" refers to the confusion between using "repeat" or "Tweet" as a verb.

Great blog post!

atdnext said...

I'll second Anon 4:50 on Elizabeth Crum. I'll give her the benefit of doubt and just assume the "whatever" referred to the tweet meta joke she weirdly inserted into that tweet.

However, there's no doubt in my mind that Rich Little was being a homophobic @sshole today... But why are we even surprised this happened at the Nevada GOoP Convention? Come on, don't we remember that Sharrontology Obtuse Angle has been accepting money from the political arm of "American Vision", a group that has openly proposed instituting the death penalty against "homosexuals"/"sodomites"?

And that when she was a leading figure in the extreme right Independent American Party, she green-lighted their blatantly pro-homophobia campaign in the 1990s?

Actually, come to think of it, what Rich Little did today was pretty benign compared to what Sharrontology herself has participated in and what her new BFF fundraising pals advocate to exterminate "the perversion of homosexuality".

mike_ch said...

Oh heavens, people's feelings are hurt!

Personally, I find queen less offensive than queer, the latter is used both affectionately by and even as a component of other labels (I've heard the phrase "genderqueer" used in honest discussion between transgendered people.

Queen is, to me, a subculture stereotype of gay subculture itself. The majority of queens are gay, but the majority of gays aren't queens, if you get my drift.

As for the NPR example, I know from Twitter that you watch Glee, and faggot was said repeatedly in a scene to drive home a point that many people found pretty powerful. No outrage there?

Anonymous said...

Why apologize for a joke thats common among comics? Gay jokes ARE common. You said it yourself. Black comics constantly use the N word to describe their own race. No blacks are apologizing for the use of the word (maybe Bill Cosby is the exception).

The lack of apology is two-fold. (1) It was a minor joke from Rick Little that no one cares about. (2) It was quickly forgotten so revive a minor hiccup? Since the media forgotten (except for you), let it pass. Or we'll get a repeat of the Macaca incident.


Anonymous said...

And that would be bad because ... ?
David McKee

Rob Wolf said...

With respect to Louis CK, he had a segment about "the slur" on his new show on FX that made me laugh and think. Worth watching (this link will take you to the clip in question)