Faggot. Let’s talk about the F word.

Cleverness, you do it.

When I holiday’d in Australia last month, one of our outings was to see David Strassman, some hotshot ventriloquist from America [who was not Jeff Dunham]. I won’t drivel on an isolated name-and-shame, but I will say this: his show was not good. A few giggles eeked out at some seriously unoriginal content, right up until David dropped the F bomb. Faggot.

Faggot. Faggot.

This word kept echoing in my mind, with me past the point of enjoying anything else he had to say. The audience laughed, assumedly because “faggot” is just another word to a lot of people.

Just like “nigger” used to be. The N word still is fairly common in some circles, but most people would think twice.

But faggot, sure, it’s whatever.

Why this word is still so widely used, I don’t know. I don’t get it. I realize that if it’s not “faggot”, it’s “queer”, “homo”, or some other hijacked derogatory used to remind gay people that, what up, they’re gay. Or it’s used to just put anyone down. Because being gay is of course a sign that you’re less human, less worthy, less manly, or some kind of bullshit like that. It’s even used by some as a term of endearment [I don’t know man, people are weird].

Origins

Where did this word come from, I wonder, and how did it come to signify a homophobic slur? Some research points to British origins, and perhaps Latin as well. “Faggot”, “fag”, “faggoting” and “fagot”, depending on your time period, can refer to

  1. a branch/twig/bundle of branches or twigs
  2. same as above, used to fuel a fire
  3. a type of meatball
  4. a cigarette
  5. a welding technique
  6. a knitting technique
  7. an irritating woman
  8. an irritating child
  9. a servant
  10. and, as more recently spawned in none other than North America, an effeminate homosexual male. Or even non-hetero people in general.

So at some point North America [and let’s be honest, this really just means the U.S.A] adopted the term and gave it a derogatory meaning, which has now spread to the rest of the English-speaking world.

In case you’re wondering, I did get a good bit of this information from Wikipedia. All hail the wiki.

Why it’s a problem

Why does this slur in particular bother me, more than “homo” or “queer”? Well for one, I just think it sounds really harsh. But also, “faggot” seems to be the most commonly used pejorative. On Twitter, anyways.

Screen shot 2013-03-17 at 1.12.51 AM

From NoHomophobes.com

I just took that screenshot, it’s 1:15am in New Zealand [tsk, burning the midnight oil]. This many homophobic tweets have been posted since midnight. Meaning it’s still between 5-8am in the US, where I’m guessing the bulk of Twitter users are based.

That’s over 2 thousand homophobic slurs before breakfast. And the saddest part: it seems to mostly be from the younger generation. Our generation, the one that is [by sociological nature] the most progressive generation yet.

Now at 1:32 am:

Screen shot 2013-03-17 at 1.32.51 AM

And this will carry on, adding to the projected all-time total of more than 9 million “faggot” tweets, plus millions more of “No Homo”, “So Gay”, and “Dyke”.

Now, there’s one level of name-calling, especially on the internet, that seems lighthearted. As indicated by Google image search.

download

Next is a fine line spillover into personal attacks, and some harassment…

Meet Mineh Gharabegi. She thinks she deserves 100 per cent for her schoolwork, but because her teacher didn’t give her a perfect score, he’s a faggot. You can gripe about your own life failings with faggot-hating Mineh at @Mineh_Gharabegi.

…followed by another spillover into violent feelings towards people considered “faggots”…

Meet Alen Osmanagic. In moments of frustration, his impulse is to punch a faggot. Find out why at @Alen_Osmanagic9.

…and finally we arrive.

Meet Mallory Owens, a woman allegedly beaten by her partner’s brother in Alabama. Whether or not this was a hate crime against Mallory, an out lesian, is yet to be determined. Regardless, she has become a major representation of homophobic violence in the Western world.

Does anyone else see this progression as naturally as I do? Is it farfetched, far reaching, or easily within reach? Continuing to use a word, referring to homosexuality as a lesser, resulting in dehumanization, and leading to some undeserved whoop ass.

It’s now exactly 2:30am, the “faggot” tweet count is just under 2,000, and I am not amused. I am, however, going to sleep so I can edit this in the morning and post at the optimal readership time. I wonder how high the tweet count will be by the time I wake up. I also wonder, in that time, how many people around the world will have been beaten for being “faggots”.

PBJ♦

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Brisbane Sandwich: Highs and Lows

So I was in Brisbane, Australia for a week. ‘Twas interesting, quite. Unfortunately this post is way overdue as the first days of uni have been keeping me well busy ❤

Highs

1. This trip marked the end of summer school, a getaway before the proper year starts.

2. There was bubbly at every turn.

image

3. The food! We stayed with my aunty, who on the first night fed us with about every seaborne delicacy you can think of. And then some.
image

4. The shopping. TradeSecret in particular, probably my favourite thing about Australia.

5. Triple Zero Variety Children’s Charity Ball. It was somewhat surreal sitting at a function similar to those I’ve worked dozens of times, lovely ball it was too.

6. Rainforest walk! Never been to a rainforest, much less an Aussie one.

Lows

1. All of the rain.
image

And some flooding!

2. Didn’t manage to spot a roo anywhere. Wallabies were (w)all about, but no roos.

3. Missed Macklemore in Auckland :*(

4. Spent half the time hungover after the ball and then a case of sinutis straight after.

5. I was surrounded by AUSTRALIANS!

PBJ♦

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My Oscar Predictions

**UPDATE: I have bolded the predictions that were correct.

Hi world, I’ve been in Australia without proper internet access until now. Never mind, here are my Academy Awards predictions! And not a minute too soon, on the eve of the 85th Academy Awards show.

I’ve a fairly solid track record for predicting Oscar winners, even if it’s not always how I want things to go. I recognized this pseudo-talent when I predicted Crash to win Best Picture over Brokeback Mountain in 2005. Of course, I have been wrong from time to time. The difference with this year’s awards is that I’VE SEEN ALL OF THE BEST PICTURE FILMS!

Amour Amour

Palme D’or winner at Cannes and likely winner for Best Foreign Language FilmAmour chronicles the sad but sweet aftermath of a Parisian woman’s stroke. Amour surpassed my teary-eyed expectations, largely thanks to a strong lead in Emmanuelle Riva, and although a slow moving film I enjoyed it immensely. Riva has a shot at Best actress if Jennifer Lawrence gets snubbed, which is unlikely given her awards run this season. But Amour has no shot, whatsoever, at Best Picture.

Argo Argo*

Loved it, loved it. Ben Affleck’s directorial and starring talent shine through in Argo, which embellishes on a cooperative rescue effort during the Iranian Hostage Crisis. Although based on a true story, Affleck has admitted to using some “artistic license” to portray how six American diplomats managed to escape Iran under the guise of a faked movie production scheme. Argo has been this awards season darling, and is easily my prediction for Best Picture. Look out for wins in Editing and Adapted Screenplay.

Beasts-of-the-southern-wild Beasts of the Southern Wild**

When I saw and reviewed BOTSW in the New Zealand International Film Festival back in  July, I knew I’d found a truly special film. No need to rehash what was in the review, but I will say that Beasts is my honest pick for Best Picture even though it stands virtually no chance of winning. Quvenzhané Wallis is equally unlikely to win Best Actress, but the nominations recognition are still a victory for this remarkable film.

Django-unchained Django Unchained

Again, seen and reviewed this one already. And although I thoroughly love Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained is simply not a Best Picture effort. Q was slightly robbed of a Best Director nomination, although another Original Screenplay statuette may be on the cards. Christopher Waltz has a shot at adding a second Supporting Actor statuette under Tarantino’s guide, but Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln will be hard to beat. This Supporting Actor group will be a tighter race than the rest, Waltz might just pull it off.

Les-miserables Les Misérables

One of many emotional powerhouse films this year, the film adaptation of Les Mis had most theater buffs spewing with joy. Others were just spewing. Although the depressing Les Mis is a perfectly well-made and well-acted film, I didn’t particularly enjoy it. Anne Hathaway is all anyone can talk about this awards season, for better or worse, and she’s poised to take home the Supporting Actress award. A Best Picture win is pretty unlikely, but this may be the dark horse. Hugh Jackman would be tops if not for Daniel Day-Lewis, also watch for probable wins in Sound Mixing and Costume Design.

Life-of-pi Life of Pi

Ang Lee’s adaptation of the novel by the same name has been heralded along the same lines as Beasts, with wider commercial flair and a total of 11 nominations. For me, however, Life of Pi was one of those movies that suffered from its own hype. Pi simply couldn’t live up to the expectations I had for it. Visually stunning and well-acted, Life of Pi is due for a Special Effects win at the very least and likely wins in Cinematography and Original Score.

Lincoln Lincoln

Deemed “The whitest movie about slavery ever!”, Spielberg’s Lincoln falls into the same category as Les Mis: perfectly well-made, splendidly acted, but downright boring. A collection of conversations  and anecdotal stories from Lincoln, played masterfully by Daniel Day-Lewis, puts this biopic on top with Pi at 11 nominations in total. Although a possible Best Picture winner, Lincoln is unlikely to best Argo. Look out for Day-Lewis to add a third Best Actor statuette to his mantle.

Silver-linings-playbook Silver Linings Playbook

One of this year’s more powerful films, Silver Linings couldn’t have come at a more relevant time [as the mental health debate finally gains traction in the U.S]. On-screen chemistry between Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence is electrifying, and Robert DeNiro shines as the film’s patriarch. Although an unlikely Best Picture contender, Lawrence is poised for a Best Actress win and DeNiro has a slight chance to take home a little golden man as well. Jacki Weaver and Bradley Cooper, though I love them, are out.

Zero-dark-thirty Zero Dark Thirty

Katheryn Bigelow’s sophomore effort about the assassination of Osama Bin Laden plays a modern war epic tune similar to Hurt Locker, but with a girl-power rhythm [à la Zero’s ball-busting lead Jessica Chastain]. At two and a half hours this film is quite the commitment, and boy does it drag. The exciting climax saved Zero from total displeasure, and Chastain is excellent to watch albeit for 2.5 hours. As covert operation movies go, Argo is the better film. Chastain has a chance at Best Actress, but not likely. Editing was a strong point, and Zero may just nab a Sound Editing win as well.

Other Categories:

Best Director: Steven Spielberg is likely, but with Tarantino and Affleck snubbed for this award, I’m not really rooting for anyone.

Best Animated Feature: Wreck-It Ralph, though Brave may take the cake.

Best Original Song: Skyfall, hands down, no doubt.

Best Makeup: The Hobbit. Give one to Middle Earth.

PBJ♦

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Weekly Sandwich: Highs and Lows

Highs

1. Valentine’s Day. I used to hate Valentine’s Day because I didn’t have a Valentine and I thought V-day was stupid. Now I just think V-day is stupid. But it was a good one in the end, sushi in Parnell included.

sushi

2. The Auckland Pride Parade! What I knew of pride parades, having never actually seen one, included some pretty loose imagery. I had to work at Egoist which sits right on Ponsonby Road. And not gonna lie, I was antsy. But I got into the spirit and had a little play with the mannequins. Parade-goers loved it! Pride Parade proved a good turnout, everyone was is high spirits, and I’d even say it was family-friendly. Go Auckland!

3. School’s out! After a not-so-long and not-so-grueling summer school, which still sucked by the way, I’m a free and buzzy bee. Which also means…I’m off to Brisbane on Thursday! Packpackpackpackpack

4. I Love Ugly’s first drop of ’13. Lusting, hard.

5. ‘Reality’ TV and such. I don’t know what it is, seeing how the other sides live just does that thang for me. Anything from Louis Theroux to Laguna Beach. Except for Kardashians, I draw the line at that shit.

6. Showing off my socky-wocks

Socks from Urban Outfitters
Shoes from Egoist

7. Harlem Shake! With every great movement comes a lot of haters, but still I love this craze. Finally something to replace Gangnam Style, I was starting to have some pretty violent feelings there.

Lows

1. Lime green polos. Who ok’d this?

2. Disingenuous people. I’d respect someone so much more if they straight up said: I don’t like it. Be polite, that’s one thing. But don’t be a prick.

3. Seriously, where does all my money go?

4. Said Harlem Shake haters. And Macklemore haters?? You can’t please everyone, I guess. Whatever.

PBJ♦

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What I Wore Today: WESC, Egoist, Bullboxer, NewEra

image

 

Tee from WESC

Shorts from Egoist

Shoes from Bullboxer

Cap by NewEra

Ring is vintage

PBJ♦

 

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Food for Thought: Happy Valentines Day!

Plato

Love is a grave mental disease.

PBJ♦

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Weekly Sandwich: Highs and Lows

Highs

1. Superbowl! I’m not a huge football fanboy, but since a large portion of the fam-bamily back in California are 49er die-hards, I wanted to take part. The commercials, the game, the Beyonce, the beer, it was all so good. And being able to stream it live from Auckland was awesome.

2. The Kiki. A kiki is a party of some sort. A friend’s birthday started at the Britomart Country Club and went on to include karaoke and drag queens later in the night. I don’t know how it escalated that way, but it was surreal in a good way.

Photo by Joanne Faith

3. Summer school is nearly over! And couldn’t come a second too early.

4. This.

 

Lows

1. SuperBowl. The 49ers lost.

2. I had a 3,000 word essay due today. About computer games. And I’ve more or less only scratched the surface by now.

3. The stress that low 2. causes.

 

Not much else to speak of, this week has been one of those hermit/miserable existence periods. Coming soon: more WIWT and adventures to Brisbane!

PBJ♦

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