Editor’s Note: unfortunately, I’m still desperately trying to catch up from a largely frustrating week that in many ways has set my writing schedule behind; I’ve got another piece examining the rapidly increasing level of totalitarianism in America (both inside and outside of the Trump administration) on the back burner but right now I’m just struggling to keep up with what may some day be regarded as the most insane week in the history of US politics – and that was last week; we’ve still got today’s news to await.
Despite this however, I’d like to use today’s Brief Thought to discuss an issue that to my great shame I’ve been actively avoiding (with the exception of a casual mention in an unrelated article) for quite some time – the disturbing rise of weaponized homophobic humor being used by American liberals to attack the admittedly odious President of the United States on an almost nightly basis:
Note: Please be reminded that if you’re having trouble reading this info graphic, you can right click on the picture and select “view this image” to pop out a larger version. Additionally, don’t forget to check out my comments after the sources section of this article.
As a trans woman writer, I generally try to avoid writing about LGBT issues as often as I can because I have no desire to be pigeonholed by a society that’s still far too likely to define me by my gender and identity, as opposed to my work as an analyst. As a result, when I first began to notice the weaponization of “gay jokes” as a form of political activism for mainstream liberals back in the spring of 2016 (even before the election) I really didn’t complain about it very much even though something about it definitely struck me as wrong somehow. In fact as the months went by and the reality of the election began to set in, I actually found myself defending examples of liberal homophobia and xenophobia in public from time to time; it’s about “history” or it’s about “art” I would say – all the while knowing that these acts of self-colonization were doing nothing to suppress the nagging ugliness I felt inside whenever I encountered this form of “protest” employed by people who ostensibly claim to support the LGBT community.
That was then and this is now however; I can no longer in even uneasy conscience remain silent while I watch casual homophobia being passed off as entertainment or activism with little or no regard to the terrible consequences of normalizing a form of bigotry that has only recently begun to recede in America. We’re no longer talking about Cold War homages and Warholesque photo prints, we’re talking about jokes that are only funny because people believe being derided as “gay” bothers Donny “Tiny Hands” and that’s a line I am simply not prepared to cross. When Stephen Colbert tells Trump that “the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s cock holster” it isn’t comedy because it isn’t a joke; even the comedian himself admitted that he was insulting Trump for attacking a colleague and almost immediately noted that he should have worded his critique better. When Baldwin awkwardly begins “mouth-raping” McCarthy as Trump and Spicer respectively, that isn’t art and tossing in a half-assed throwaway reference to The Godfather Part 2 doesn’t make it a parody either; compare the two scenes.
Let’s be completely fucking real here; despite the howling protestations of many liberals, these “jokes” aren’t even about the fact that Trump himself is almost certainly homophobic, the clear message here is that being gay is something worthy of derision and that is an attitude that remains far too common in today’s America. How is there any difference between a bigoted conservative saying “when I called him a fag, I didn’t mean anything about his sexuality, I was just fucking with him” and a progressive liberal saying “this isn’t offensive to gay men, I’m not really joking about two guys kissing; I was just fucking with Trump?” This isn’t about the person making the “joke” or even the target of the homophobic insult (in this case, Trump) because this is being broadcast to millions of fucking people worldwide – when liberals of all people engage in casual homophobia it reinforces the horrible idea that there’s something comically wrong with being gay; creating cover for and ideological space within which neanderthal goddamn bigots can operate.
Stop and think about what all of this actually means for a second; do mainstream American liberals seriously fucking believe that the only people who watch Saturday Night Live are enlightened progressives who understand nuance and Donald Trump? Of course not! The unavoidable truth is that they simply don’t fucking care and are more than happy to spread homophobic garbage so long as it somehow “hurts” Trump and furthers “The Resistance.” Clearly in the battle against a petulant, self-absorbed bigot who is only President because the Democratic Party cheated to run a goddamn crook, establishment liberals consider the dignity of every gay man in America an acceptable sacrifice to get in a few largely irrelevant burns against the rightfully hated swine emperor.
All of this of course only leaves us with one obvious observation and a question that should be keeping neoliberal strategists awake at night but probably isn’t. Mainstream liberalism has spent thirty years compromising, triangulating and sacrificing truly left wing values on the alter of electability until the only thing really separating them from Republicans is a form of aggressively weaponized identity politics that doesn’t necessarily serve persecuted minorities all that well but at least offers lip service to protecting vulnerable people. If at the end of the day, establishment liberal media and the Democratic Party at minimum can’t even consistently get the “don’t be a bigot piece of shit” part of liberal ideology right; what exactly the fuck is it that they bring to the table and why should persecuted minorities in America vote for them?
- Nina Illingworth
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