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Jan 14 2012

Omitted Reader Comment

The following writing apparently had not been approved for posting.  That is because I hadn’t seen it. A writer of such clear vision and such artful use of the language should in no wise be ignored.  So here it is.  Edwin

 

Caine, Fleur du Mal says:

14 January 2012 at 2:42 am

My comment to Kagin is awaiting moderation. It may or may not show up, so here it is:

What’s going on in your little universe that you equate saving someone’s life with sex? I have a bit of news for you – sucking venom out of a body part is not a blow job, nor is it sex.

For you to say something like this is, indeed, homophobic and it’s also amazingly stupid. Personally, I am disgusted and dismayed to see such utter shit posted at Freethought blogs.

Exactly why were you and your friend discussing such a situation in the first place? Playing a game of “I’d suck you here to remove venom but not there?” And you honestly didn’t bother to give any thought to this idiocy?

Kudos to your stepdaughter, in spite of your asinine descriptor of liberated who recognizes homophobia when she sees/hears it.

I’m sure it feels good, Mr. Kagin, to have your head so firmly lodged up your anus, but you might want to pull it out for a bit. Get some air.

 

Edwin.

32 comments

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  1. 1
    punchdrunk

    The snakebite joke is an old one. I heard it as a kid as two cowboys out on the cattle trail.

    Mr. Kagin, this is a bigoted joke.

    If you were to say, “I’m not racist, I just enjoy a good watermelon joke”, do you believe that would stand?

    (I know I’m not an approved commenter, but I wanted to point out that you did not invent this joke, but you should recognize the nature of it by now)

  2. 2
    Aratina Cage

    Dear Kagin,

    It really did come off as, “Eww, teh icky Gheyz!!!!!!!!1111!!!”, and that was quite unexpected coming from someone of your stature. The minute I read what your daughter said, I wholeheartedly agreed with her, too. Do you think that gay men have not heard these kind of stupid anti-gay jokes trotted out to us on camping trips in order to shame us for who we are? Straight-fascist humor like that (you’d die rather than be gay!) has long worn out its welcome.

    And I thought it was also disingenuous of you to say you don’t understand men liking men and women liking women when you are a man who likes (many) women. Do you really think a man liking a man is any different than a man liking a woman or a woman liking a man? No, of course you don’t think it is any different; you do understand it just as you understand that writing with the left hand or right hand is still writing and works no differently for left-handers or right-handers.

    Caine is right to blast you for that post.

  3. 3
    Mr. Fire

    Bravo, Caine!!

  4. 4
    Edwin Kagin

    I thought the humor was obvious. If it had been a snake, it would have bitten you.

  5. 5
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Er, Edwin, this might be the time to step away from the computer and leave it for a bit. You seem to be having a sense of humour failure. What might have seemed satirical to you seems like childish mocking to me.

    If you want a substantive criticism of that post–and I’ve read many, many, many of Caine’s contributions on FTB and previously on SciBlogs–I’d say only that she wasted three too many paragraphs on you, and watered down her scorn in the process.

    Had I been her editor, here’s what I’d have advised her to say:

    For you to say something like this is homophobic and amazingly stupid. Personally, I am disgusted and dismayed to see such utter shit posted at Freethought blogs.

    Kudos[, however,] to your stepdaughter, [who] in spite of your asinine descriptor of “liberated” recognizes homophobia when she sees/hears it.

    You can’t get away with context-free “ha ha, ‘cos it’d be like the gays” jokes anymore. This is progress. (And if you think this is denying you a meme, well, tough. Substitute some other marginalised groups, and I hope–I really hope–you’ll be able to see why it’s wrong.)

  6. 6
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    You seem to be the only one seeing any humour.

    Caine rather perfectly summed up your homophobic nonsense.

  7. 7
    Grimalkin

    Going to second that the humor is unique to you.

    Again, this is not a joke to people who are actually LGBT. Every time you hear a gay joke, you might laugh; Every time I hear a gay joke I make a mental note of that person so I know not to come out to them.

    Please, please be more sensitive when writing on a network that has so many LGBT folks who come here for one damn place where we feel equal. Oh, and please be less condescending when you’re in the wrong.

  8. 8
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    What Grimalkin said. I like FTB so, so much, because it’s one of the few places online I don’t have to hear musty old jokes about how gross and icky gay people (who are apparently solely about sex) are all the damn time.

    You think it’s funny. That’s nice. But to a lot of us here, it’s just kicking those who are down.

  9. 9
    Tigerboy

    Um, hello? This snake-bite stuff is a very old joke.

    The entire point of the joke–remember, humor explained equals humor lost–the entire point of the joke is to mock the idea that straight men are so completely freaked-out by anyone seeing them as gay that they would sooner let their good friend die rather than do a simple act that might be MISINTERPRETED as gay in order to save the friend’s life.

    My friend’s life means less to me than even one second of being seen as less than the macho stud that I think I am.

    My masculine pride is so tenuous that I would let my friend die, rather than take a remote risk of being seen as gay.

    Old joke.

    If someone thinks this is offensive to gays, they didn’t get the joke. The joke doesn’t mock gays. It mocks straight men and their absurd homophobia.

  10. 10
    peicurmudgeon

    I remember that joke from junior high – back in the late 60s. It was funny then, not so much now.

  11. 11
    rapiddominance

    Put things in perspective. Act out in proportion. For eachother.

    When outsiders read this, it alerts them to your structural deficiencies. In some cases, you’ll be ignored by those who should find you. In other cases, you can be actively exploited.

    But then, this isn’t really about the outside. Its about the comfort, the security, and the companionship we all look forward to on the inside. To be taken in, not for our perfections, but for what we have AND what we lack. To grow, and to help others grow.

    You’ll disappoint eachother from time to time. Expect that. But always look to be people that inspire optimism from eachother.

    As you so often are. Still, its good to be reminded.

    Thank you for listening.

  12. 12
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    I think you’ve been told! Care to apologize?

  13. 13
    Iamamonkeysuncle

    Edwin, it may be that your critics are so self-absorbed and insecure that they will always misinterpret your intent. It is also possible that accurately comprehending such intent is beyond their capacity, and should be overlooked. Either way, the point’s been lost on them.

    Even the uneducated are entitled to their opinion. I would prefer that everyone is entitled to an educated opinion. But that’s just my opinion.

  14. 14
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    Edwin, it’s a very old joke, and even way back when it was funnier when told so that the homophobe is the villain.

    Unlike some of your critics, I’d like to thank you for your post. It’s delightful to see Rip van Winkle come forth in support of the GLBT and women’s movements for equal rights and dignities. The antique vocabulary and hokey lines are just the cutest thing ever. It gives me the warm fuzzies when some creaky old dude expresses support for civil rights in his ancient prejudiced language. Yay Grandpa! You’re mostly there! Well done.

    1. 14.1
      Aratina Cage

      Now that was funny!

  15. 15
    Rebecca

    Did any of you guys read past the first paragraph of Edwin’s post? Or understand what you read?

    Edwin’s anecdote sounded to me like a wry and self-mocking admission that he, like most people, has some embedded issues to work through; then he proceeds to work through them. To label him a homophobe really calls into question your reading comprehension skills.

    Alethea, did you think your ageist ridicule was funny? Was Caine’s comment supposed to be witty?

    Note to Edwin: Thanks for your insightful and thought-provoking blog.

  16. 16
    tielserrath

    A writer of such clear vision and such artful use of the language should in no wise be ignored.

    All I could think when I read this, then Caine’s post and went back to what you wrote, was the only way I could describe you was nasty.

    You seem to have forgotten the first rule of holes.

    You also seem to have forgotten that a large chunk of people frequenting FTB are humanists, and one of our core aims is to have this as a safe place for LOGBTQA people. So no, we don’t back down in the face of homophobia. We’ve all been around the block long enough to be able to identify it; we can tell it from ‘edgy humour’ or any of the other smokescreens you try to throw up to excuse it.

    If you are going to react to criticism from the commentariat as ‘thought policing’, then may I suggest that FTB is not the place for you? I realise that many people who have previously had their privileges unchallenged might find it difficult. Most of us, on encountering a community like this, have at least some of our assumptions knocked out of us. But most of us don’t come out swinging against the minorities we’ve targeted. Most of us, faced with multiple people from a minority saying the same thing, begin to try and see it from the other point of view.

    In the freethoughtblogs community respect is earned. This is the first time a lot of us FTB regulars have met you, and it hasn’t been a very happy introduction. As has been said time and time again, someone may have an impressive list of credentials. But if you are prepared to be racist, or homophobic, or misogynist, or transphobic, then to many of us those credentials mean nothing.

  17. 17
    Goblinman

    If I may add another bit of my apparently self absorbed, insecure, and uneducated opinion, I think what’s going on here is pretty simple to understand. Kagin tolerates homosexuality on an academic level–in much the same way someone might tolerate a spider. The spider does its own thing and eats vermin and that’s fine as long as it stays the hell over there. Kagin gets that as long as we’re doing our own thing in our private spaces it’s no one’s business but ours. But, as the joke makes clear, there’s no way in hell he’s going to touch that.

    And yes, the joke is homophobic in not one but two ways. First, it confuses treating a wound with a homosexual act. Second, it implies death is better than committing a homosexual act. That would be ok if it was told right–the over-the-top absurdity of the homophobia is so much that it could be funny as a subject of mockery. But if that’s what Kagin was trying to do, he did a really bad job of it. It looks like he’s instead defending the homophobia and conflating treating a wound with gay sex. In which case the humor of the joke is “touching dicks is gay”, I guess.

    So, from what I’m seeing, the piece can be summed up as “I support the rights of gay people, but would rather die than let anyone think I was gay myself”. That’s… well, it’s better than calling for us gays to be rounded up into prisons, sure, but it isn’t what I would consider to be fully enlightened.

    1. 17.1
      Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

      Grimalkin:

      So, from what I’m seeing, the piece can be summed up as “I support the rights of gay people, but would rather die than let anyone think I was gay myself”. That’s… well, it’s better than calling for us gays to be rounded up into prisons, sure, but it isn’t what I would consider to be fully enlightened.

      -No. No. No.
      That’s not the point of the piece.
      I get it. I’m gay too. I can see how one could construe the introduction of the post could be homophobic. The mistake Edward may have made was in not making it apparent that he does not feel that way and that it is a long standing joke that points out the absurdity of homophobia. Knowing that, the rest of the piece reads so much better.
      I hope those that took offense to the post aren’t clinging to being offended in the face of the evidence presented. Step back, cool off and realize that Edward is not agreeing with the homophobia of the joke.

  18. 18
    opposablethumbs

    There have been a few comments on the last three threads complaining about people launching hotheaded and too-hasty attacks on an ally.

    On the other hand, real friends tell friends when they’ve aimed at the right target but inadvertently, and even with the best intentions (which of course are not magical), shot themselves in the foot at the same time.

  19. 19
    Grimalkin

    On the topic of “But Kagin is an Ally!”, “allies” don’t get to decide if they’re allies. The people you’re trying to have an allegiance to do.

    Also, to everyone saying that we only responded to the first paragraph, you obviously missed what the first few comments said. Many of them, including mine, were along the lines of “Uh, everything else is spot on, but that first paragraph really tainted it”

    Oh, and homophobia doesn’t get balanced out by being a normal human being. Saying “Queers are gross and confusing but they should have equal rights” doesn’t earn you a cookie. Believing that LGBT people are equal just makes you a normal human being, it doesn’t excuse homophobia. Other way around, really.

    Sorry, but very many of us have made it very clear that Kagin’s opening (and close) to that post was hurtful, bigoted, and unwelcome. Kagin’s replies (and those of his defenders) have been full of nothing but immaturity. It should be very clear that he’s the one in the wrong.

    1. 19.1
      Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

      Grimalkin:
      -I don’t find vagina appealing. I think it’s rather gross. I also find the notion of heterosexual sex to be very unappealing. I don’t get why people want to engage in it (I get why we *need* people to though). That doesn’t make me heterophobic. Nor does Edward’s comments vis a vis homosexual sex.
      As I said elsewhere, I don’t think he’d have gotten this much negativity if it had been clear the opening was a joke. While it did read as his opinion on the “ickiness” of gay sex, he has since explained his position.
      I also disagree that allies don’t get to call themselves allies. If he’s been standing up for the rights of oppressed individuals, he’s an ally.
      The responses in support of Edward aren’t all immature. Some of them make the assumption that everyone is familiar with the “let’s highlight the silliness of homophobia with a snake bite joke”. Clearly not everyone is.
      It’s clear to me that there are two sides here:
      1-those that are aware of the homophobia mocking joke and can’t see how anyone could criticize Edward for using it in a post that’s as far from homophobia as the bible is from the truth

      and

      2-those unaware of the joke, or perhaps too sensitive to understand the nature of it. I fell into #2 (oh, wow, that doesn’t have any double entendre). I didn’t feel personally offended, but felt there was a touch of homophobia to it. I felt that the LGBT community (such as it is; we aren’t *that* organized) didn’t have an ally in Edward.

      He’s since clarified himself and I realize I was wrong. I’m not sure what the problem is anymore.

  20. 20
    jimmiraybob

    In all my born days I’ve never seen or heard of anything as offensive as this. Well, maybe the use of the N word in Blazing Saddles or that foreign guy a long time ago that suggested the Irish eat their babies. Can you imagine?

    Dangerous stuff.

  21. 21
    barbrykost

    It is obviously very dangerous to post without having your “Tolerance Handbook” nearby to be sure you don’t offend. About that snakebite, though: Don’t suck! This entry at Science-based medicine explains why: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/snake-oil-for-snakebites-and-other-bad-ideas/#more-5134

  22. 22
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    Rebecca, I’m not very much younger than Edwin, and could quite possibly be described as a creaky old bat. (I refuse “lady”.) It’s actually a generational question – as he himself explains later, this is literally a generation-old essay. Which I suspect is more obvious to me, because I am much closer to his generation than I assume you to be.

  23. 23
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    I think this is getting absurd. Yes, I found the initial post to be befuddling and somewhat homophobic due entirely to my having never heard the joke (I’m 36). Knowing that it’s a joke that mocks homophobia makes Edwards original post read differently. Being “in on the joke”, I completely get it.
    I’m glad to have Edward as an ally.

  24. 24
    Blenster

    I hope some of the people commenting never watch South Park, Stephen Colbert, or Jon Stewart’s shows… They may just explode with righteous anger.

    1. 24.1
      Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

      Blenster:

      I hope some of the people commenting never watch South Park, Stephen Colbert, or Jon Stewart’s shows… They may just explode with righteous anger.

      -I don’t know about Mr Colbert or Mr Stewart’s shows (I have never watched either), but South Park airs on Comedy Central, so turning to this channel, one knows that it’s supposed to be comedic, funny, jokey, what have you. Tuning to this channel, a viewer has a clue what they’re about to view.
      Edwards’ original post included a joke that-yes-some people have known, but others haven’t. Since the joke doesn’t contain an outright statement like “this is a joke” or “this is intended to be humorous” or “the following is meant to poke fun at the homophobic bigots of the world”, to a casual observer, it might be seen as an anecdote from the writer, describing his/her feelings.

  25. 25
    Caelidh

    Wow.

    I will state, for the record… that I know that Edwin isn’t a homophobe. Yes.. his “humor” takes some getting used to.. That essay was written years ago. Yes.. folks get a bit prickled at it as I did (yes.. I am the stepdaughter that felt he was being “homophobic”).

    Apparently the irony is lost on folks with the “Blaspemous Blogging”. I went to a school where it was basically forbidden to call females “girls”. Wasn’t being “FEMINIST” enough. Politically correct speech really need to be examined. Granted.. i think it is VERY important to be conscious and aware of our language and how it can hurt people.. many times intentionally and many times unintentionally. But they are WORDS… and yes.. Edwin’s words are designed to provoke and perhaps make people think (for better or worse). The vitriol is astounding. Chill.

    He really is NOT homophobic.

    If you can laugh at mocking of images of Jesus Christ or Mohommad and feel that is ok.. because that is somehow “different” (unless you are a right wing troll on this site) and yet be aghast that there was an off color joke about gays and snake venom… how does that make sense?.

    I have had friends (LIBERAL FRIENDS mind you) be truly truly offended at Back in their Burka’s because they somehow thought that was offensive to Muslims.. wtf?… Or the blowdryer “debabtisms” because that was totally rude to Christians..

    Look at South Park to see how it is pretty much a free for all for parody and mocking ANYONE and EVERYONE.

    If you can’t chill out and laugh or just merely say “eh.. I didn’t find that funny.. but to each his own” ….

    If you know Edwin.. you KNOW Edwin…

    but sit back and don’t take life so seriously…

    it isn’t worth it.

    and for the record.. I am totally for Gay Marriage, gay Rights etc.. and I know that in a heartbeat Edwin would work to ensure that two men or women could legally get married because he does care about civil rights!.. and that is what truly matters in the end!

    Peace out!

    1. 25.1
      Aratina Cage

      I know I should just let it go at this point, but this kind of equating being non-straight with being a theist bugs the heck out of me:

      If you can laugh at mocking of images of Jesus Christ or Mohommad and feel that is ok.. because that is somehow “different” (unless you are a right wing troll on this site) and yet be aghast that there was an off color joke about gays and snake venom… how does that make sense?. –Caelidh

      You probably should qualify what kind of images you are talking about when you speak of Mohammed because some of them are positively racist and dehumanizing. The ones that aren’t, though, and pretty much all of the ones mocking Jebus, are about fake people (actually, the Jebus ones are about a fake god) who are long dead if they ever actually lived. LGBT people on the other hand are real. Our sexual orientations and genders are part of what makes us human. We are not brainwashed into them by our parents (though some parents try to brainwash their children out of them). Being an LGBT person is not an intellectual decision quite unlike being a theist is. You can’t pretend they aren’t different; they are.

      and for the record.. I am totally for Gay Marriage, gay Rights etc –Caelidh

      So what? I’m far more concerned that you would call people who don’t appreciate homophobic jokes “right-wing trolls”.

      but sit back and don’t take life so seriously… it isn’t worth it. –Caelidh

      Keep laughing while they rip your family apart and fire you and beat you and ban you and jail you, eh?

  26. 26
    Shaun

    Just curious: What if roles are switched around a bit?

    What if it’s a lesbian woman and her male friend out camping. And when the subject of snake cock-bites comes up, she says he’s doomed to death because she aint going near that thing with her mouth. Is this
    a) equally detestable?
    b) hetrophobic? (is that even a word?)

  27. 27
    what is my spirit animal

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