22 June 2006


This morning, the sports report on my favorite radio show featured the story of Ozzie Guillen, who called Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti a fag. One of the DJs supported Guillen's defense that the word did not have the same connotations in his country, that it was a reference to a person's courage, not his sexuality. The DJ went on to say that Guillen should have used "the P-word" instead, since that's really what he meant.

Really? Really? So the female organ through which said DJ was birthed is an appropriate slur to apply to a coward? The female member of the radio morning crew, who happens to be pregnant, made no comment on the topic, so I can't know whether she was equally offended, or just so inured to that particular usage it didn't occur to her.

If it is clearly inappropriate to use sexuality as a means of insult, is it not equally inappropriate to use gender in the same manner? I suppose that I shouldn't be surprised by such an attitude when crimes against homosexuals are granted hate crime status (a ridiculous distinction in the first place), while rape, a clearly gender-driven crime, is not. It is still safe to belittle women, to use feminine terms to denote weakness and other character flaws.

I can only console myself by thinking this is all a little like the fable of the fox and the grapes. It's mighty tempting to think of something as inferior when you've spent so much time unsuccessfully chasing it.

My quarterly post

Pluto's Lot

Sure, he'd been told about long-distance
relationships, how they never work, but still
he'd not realized how quiet the house
would seem. And she was always leaving
things behind, as if on purpose—a stocking
redolent with that scent, which he never could
pronounce; worse still, the Victoria's Secret
catalogue she'd forgotten to forward.
His friends would note her absence
at parties; he'd leave early and call,
hoping not to wake her mother,
begging her to talk sexy over the phone.