There’s a good reason Drake’s Flames doesn’t get a lot of traffic. Fact is, a lot of people don’t like my tone. They don’t like my frequent use of quasi-profanity. They don’t like jokes about hookers or cocaine or perfume you can get at the drug store. And that’s fine with me. If you don’t like what I’m writing, don’t freaking read it. I mean, are the banners not obvious enough? It says, right there at the top, crass opinions and bathroom humor. Seriously, I’m not even trying to be family-friendly.
But one thing I don’t dig, one thing you won’t see me write, is hate. When I see people making snap judgments about others based on stuff like melatonin levels or preference in life partners, it pisses me off. When I was recently accused of being deliberately and casually homophobic (it won’t take you long to find it), it got me kind of riled up.
So first things first – I don’t have anything whatsoever against gay people. I am a little perturbed by use of the word ‘gay’ to mean ‘homosexual,’ because when I was a kid, ‘gay’ meant ‘brightly colored’ or ‘very happy.’ We also sometimes used the word to mean that a thing was silly and immature – but it surely never meant ‘into dudes.’ That came about when I was in high school, and had been using ‘gay’ for over a decade. I’m not claiming grandfather clause, or anything, but people being offended about hearing the word ‘gay’ outside of an all-male dance club is a fabrication, a factor of a society looking for reasons to be upset about something.
Furthermore, my recent use of the word to describe the game Werewolf was not meant in the insulting tone that people assumed (an assumption that I can only guess is caused by an increased sensitivity and desire to find something heinous in anything with which they do not agree). The offense in this case was completely added by the people who read it. They assumed I meant ‘gay’ as ‘lame.’ I did not. I meant that Werewolf made a roomful of grown men very uncomfortable, as if the game were designed to be played by a group of men who were all attracted to each other. When I said it was the gayest game I ever played, I meant that it was kind of like playing Spin the Bottle when all the players are dudes. Perhaps if I had been playing with a sorority full of nubile females, my experience would have been much more favorable. Perhaps if I had said Werewolf was the most uncomfortably almost-intimate game I ever played, the clarification would have spared me the backlash. But ‘gay’ summed it up better, because I prefer women, and I prefer games that do not make me feel like I should be planning romantic vacations with my male friends. For crying out loud, one of the cards you can get tells two of the players that they are now lovers – and I was playing with a group of men. So that is gay, and not like silly gay, but like man-love-gay.
However, I should point out, for the sake of honesty, that I have been known to say a thing was gay when I did not mean homosexual. I have said things were gay when I just meant that they were frivolous, ridiculous or trite because for most of my life, that’s what it meant. I have never said a thing was ‘gay’ and meant it as an insult to gay people. In fact, I’m not sure why anyone would want to be called ‘gay.’ From before I was born, ‘gay’ meant one of three things – happy, colorful or goofy. And none of those sounds like it should mean ‘dude who is into dudes.’
Which is not to say I have permission to offend. I get that. I don’t carry a signed court order giving me the right to say something someone might find offensive, despite it meaning something else entirely. But the beauty thing is, I don’t need permission. I pay the hosting fees around here and built the site myself. I don’t have advertisers. I don’t rep for anyone, and I don’t beg for traffic. I write what I want to write, and if it bothers you at all – I mean, in any way at all – I will legitimately thank you not to read it. And I don’t mean that sarcastically. If you don’t like what I write, I would be sincerely grateful if you did not read any more.
I do want to address one more point. More than one person suggested that using ‘gay’ as a pejorative was equivalent to using racial slurs. I’m not going to type examples here, because unlike those who wished to find fault with me, I find the words reprehensible enough that I would rather not even suggest them. Suffice to say, I disagree with the idea that saying ‘gay’ is the same as referring to someone as an inferior because of their skin tone. ‘Gay’ has only meant ‘homosexual’ for the last twenty to thirty years. When I was a kid, it was only ever interpreted exactly the way I use it. Racial slurs, on the other hand, have never NOT been offensive. Nobody comes up with a derogatory word for a group of people based on their ethnic background just to offer a compliment. Racial slurs are simply condensed hatred. ‘Gay’, by comparison, means ‘silly’ – or it did for a long, long time. Guess I’m just old-fashioned.
It does make me wonder, though – do these people, the ones so horribly mortified at what they perceive to be homophobia, do they ever use blasphemous language? Do they rise up in arms when they see it in print? Do they boycott Dan Brown (because that dude seriously hates the Catholic church)? Or do they happily trot out their litany of faith-based profanity to curse my evil ways of using the word ‘gay’ the way I have since I was eight years old? I ask these rhetorical questions because while I don’t know any gay people offended by my use of the word ‘gay,’ I know dozens of people who flinch if they hear a person curse something in the name of their deity of choice. And I know a lot more people who casually blaspheme than I do people who use ‘gay’ to mean ‘goofy.’
I’m not about to apologize for offending anyone with the Werewolf comment. People who got upset about it took it completely out of context and built their own meaning into what I said. Had those people asked for clarification instead of instantly jumping to conclusions, I would have been happy to explain. As it is, I can only hope that those champions of the downtrodden take their disapproving head-shakes and pursed lips back to whatever morally sanctified playground they usually enjoy. I like dirty. I prefer my life to have a little grit in it. I like off-color humor, because to me, it feels real. Those who want to white-wash the world to avoid references to reproductive organs would be well-advised to avoid Drake’s Flames like I carried the written version of the ebola virus, because while I will aggressively object to anyone professing bigotry of any kind, I will not clean up my act when it comes to adult content.
Don’t like it? Don’t read it.