Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Feeling bad because I ran off at the mouth

and hurt a good friend, for no good reason. Then I worked on his computer, and he fell asleep, and I went on home, so I haven't really had a chance to properly apologise. I'm hoping things will be okay between us when we can talk it out later. I hate going to sleep without any sort of closure on matters like that with people I love. You never know when one of you won't wake up. Oddly enough, it was something I said to our (mutual) lawyer, as I was setting the wheels in motion to place him in charge of my will, durable power of attorney, and medical surrogacy/living will. But I have every faith that our friendship, which has lasted something like 24 years, will endure this speed bump. As a result of things, I've been a little down tonight. I shouldn't have said what I said, and I was out of line.

Another friend called me after I got home and we had a long talk, mainly about the Paula Deen dust-up, because I'd posted on Twitter and Facebook that I did not support her, and had tried to explain why, but when you're limited to 140 characters, it's a bit hard. So I explained my reasons and he understood where I was coming from and why. We found we agreed on such things as the n-word is not appropriate in any situation or said by any person, white, black, or purple. My main issue wasn't that she had said it, but rather comments about how people who didn't like her jokes had no sense of humour, and certain aspects about her apology. That word is never funny. It was never used in any way other to be hurtful and derogatory, despite comments I've read attempting to say otherwise. There were other words, yes, used instead of 'black', words that were not pejorative. Even now, for example, we have the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which uses a legacy term. But the n-word was always foul, and it's not something you can 'reclaim' simply by using it or a variation every other word on the bus, whatever your race.

We all say stupid and sometimes horrible things in our lives, often without thinking, often from emotion. I have a minor in Judaic Studies, am very pro-Jewish (although not exactly pro-Israel at times), have a Jewish best friend, etc., etc., and am not, in my own mind anti-Semitic. But I once said something absolutely terrible about a Jewish professor who I felt had humiliated me (and in retrospect, rightly so) in front of a classroom. I came to really like and respect the professor, and I never said anything inappropriate to his face, but my friend was there when I said it, and has never let me completely forget it, nor should I. When I think of what I said, I feel shame. Maybe, if nothing else, the Paula Deen thing will get people to think about what they say about others, but I doubt it. Instead, it seems to be about giving celebrities a free pass on things they do just because they apologise and we like them. I think that's all emotional twaddle, rather than looking at things as they really are. Most of the supporters of Deen and others in similar situations justify it because they're likable and famous, which is a shame. It shouldn't make everything okay. Yes, an apology is a first step, but it should be sincere and not done out of fear of losing lucrative contracts. And yes, there are people who do other and perhaps more egregious things (I'm thinking especially about adultery, like Tiger Woods and Bill Clinton, or doping and squashing any challenge about it, like Lance Armstrong) and largely they come out pretty clean when all is said and done, because people look the other way when their heroes (or heroines) become tainted by their own actions. That's wrong.

SO this has been a pretty serious post, but let me end it on a odd news note. YKWIA called me early this morning to tell me about a fashion show where they had coats for men and women made out of some mysterious fibre that was all the rage, and then when people asked what it was, it turned out to be men's chest hair. Really. Check out: Hair-raising fashion! Would YOU pay £2,499 for a fur coat made from male CHEST HAIR? Gross.

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