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Jan 16 2012

My Name is Edwin.

 

My name is Edwin Kagin, not Edward Kagin.

This should be clear from the signature on my writings on the subject currently under discussion.  And from all of my writings that can be found on the Internet in various places.

My name is Edwin.  Not Edward.  Edwards are far too common.

That last comment was meant to be humorous. It was not intended to make fun of, or to demean, anyone named Edward.  Some of my best friends are named Edward.  This should also be considered humorous.  It is a deliberate play upon, and a mocking of, such oft heard comments as “Some of my best friends are Jewish, or whatever.”

Now, should I become upset with those writers who have called me Edward rather than Edwin?

Are they indifferent to my sensitivities?

Should I assume that they are Edwinophobic?  Many are, and it is okay if you are.

Should the writers be upset that they have offended me by using the very name I was trying to distinguish myself from?  Actually, I was not offended.   Well, maybe in a tiny little way, but nothing worth writing home about.

Even my blog proudly banners the correct name of Edwin Kagin.  Not an Edward in sight there.

So, why do so many readers call me Edward instead of Edwin?

And should I reject those who called me Edward from my catalogue of allies? After all, they did not research the topic or they would have readily, and easily, learned that I am an Edwin not an Edward.

How can I trust you if you did not?

After all, you should have called me Edwin, because that is my correct name.  Or so I believe.  It is hearsay.  I got it from my mother.  That was a joke.

It may be (heaven help me here—another joke) that the erring writers had no real hostility toward me, but rather misread, or too carelessly read, the writings   (this is meant as humor—there is no real anger here, and those who would have real anger are being mocked).

Or, dog help us (a play on words), some of the comments may have been grounded in a reading of the comments, not of the colloquy.

NB.  The entirely of the foregoing is intended as humor, particularly humor involving the genres of satire and parody.

Edwin Kagin

36 comments

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  1. 1
    Bruce Gorton

    Oh Edgar, Edgar, Edgar…

    :p

  2. 2
    strange gods before me ॐ

    NB. The entirely of the foregoing is intended as humor, particularly humor involving the genres of satire and parody.

    Yes, I get it. You are mocking the people who you hurt. You apparently find that to be the height of wit.

    How can I trust you if you did not?

    Though I’ve taken care to call you Edwin, I don’t propose that you ought to trust me at all. I would expect that you can decide that for yourself, without my cajoling.

    To compare the cases, since you seem to think they ought to be compared:

    We might expect that since there is apparently no significant documented history of anti-Edwinism, you will be relatively less likely to interpret someone calling you Edward to be hostile to you, or indifferent to harms against you. To the degree that almost everyone’s name has been mocked at some point, we can all, from various perspectives, empathize with the discomfort that may come from knowing one’s name was deliberately mocked.

    We might expect that since there is a significant documented history of anti-gay rhetoric and activity in society at large — amounting to an institution of homophobia — queers who have suffered such discrimination or hostility will be relatively more likely to interpret a homophobic joke, followed by an accusation of thought policing, followed by something that previously looked like an apology, followed by whatever this is, as an indication that the speaker may be hostile to us, or indifferent to harms against us, or at least not worth the time it takes to trust.

  3. 3
    carlie

    I’m fairly certain that “Edward” isn’t a common epithet spit at people right before they get beaten to a pulp by whoever said it.

  4. 4
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Oh I get it! You’re making fun of the people you hurt! Again! You sure are a clever scamp, and not at all a disgrace to FreeThoughtBlogs!

    Also, What carlie said.

    You are not in the slightest an ally to LGBTQI people. You are just a backwards-thinking bully who likes to punch down.

  5. 5
    Aratina Cage

    I just want it to be known that I have never called you Edward as far as I recall and that I do appreciate the work you do and have laughed out loud at some of the things you have done (e.g., http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/07/telly_alert_for_american_audie.php#comment-2665051 for starters).

    I’ll even accept you with your fuddy-duddy understanding (which I really did not expect, but oh well) of what it means to be an ally to LGBT people. Just please don’t expect me or others to stay silent when you make a misstep and seem unable to understand what all the fuss is about or when you have supporters on your blog calling people like me “screaming faggots” (wouldn’t you agree that being called a “screaming faggot” is worlds worse than someone getting your name wrong).

  6. 6
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Wondering how that foot tastes.

  7. 7
    Pteryxx

    …Well, I didn’t have a negative reaction to the name Edwin before now…

  8. 8
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Edwin,
    I would like to apologize. I realized this morning when I awoke that in every one of my posts, I incorrectly referred to you by the wrong name.

    1. 8.1
      Edwin Kagin

      Tony,

      Thank you for this.

      I apologize for anything I may have said that has hurt you.

      Would that all misunderstandings could be so quickly and so painlessly resolved.

      Edwin.

      1. Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

        Edwin,
        You have nothing to apologize for.

      2. Grimalkin

        Edwin,

        You just received a more sincere apology for someone using the wrong name to address you than you gave any of us for shaming and insulting us multiple times.

        I’m disappointed, really. I’ve spelled it out in my response to your previous post, but it’s becoming more and more clear that you’re more offended that we had the gall to become upset than you are legitimately sorry to have hurt us.

        Whether this is a case of your “Edwinian Wit” or whether you legitimately feel that being called the wrong name is equal to being called something bordering a slur, I’m not entirely sure.

        Sometimes people call you Edward. I know how that feels; for a while I had an art teacher spelled my name “Jenni” instead of “Jenny.” As far as how that felt- not quite as bad as being called “Dyke!” Even if this is a joke, it’s a piss poor one.

        I wanted to let this all blow over after your “apology” post, insincere as it is, because there are more important matters to debate. But you seem to want to keep this going, even after the high majority decided to accept your apology. Why? Seriously, I’m sure you have more important topics to write on. Why are you fueling this fire still? It makes it look like you just want to get the last word in, and it’s really damned petty.

      3. Carlie

        If Tony had dollowed your lead, instead of that apology he would have written a post explaining that it was a joke you were too uneducated to get, followed by a post saying it’s ok because he grew up in a time when everyone said Edward, followed by a post mocking you for caring in the first place. Yes, such things can be quickly and painlessly resolved- when there is a sirect and sincere apology.

        1. Carlie

          Sorry, “followed” in first line. Still not used to mobile typing.

  9. 9
    Natalie

    Oh come on… just when you were finally gaining ground by apologizing yesterday you then slap us all in the face by acting like critiqueing homophobia is as silly as getting bent out of shape over the misuse of a name?

    “Edwinphobia”… NO SUCH SOCIAL PROBLEM EXISTS. There has been no historic discrimination against people named Edwin. You are NEVER going to be beaten up, murdered, fired, openly ridiculed, sexually assaulted, fetishized, demonized, told you’re going to Hell, denied access to medical treatment or giving blood or using a public restroom or changing facility, you are never going to be unable to marry, or kicked out of certain careers and industries, or anything of the sort because you are named Edwin, not Edward.

    So please step back with diminishing the very real problem of anti-LGBTQ bigotry, which creates very real risks in our lives. Don’t backpeddle your own half-apology by now acting like it was just so ridiculous that anyone would have been hurt or upset by what you had done. Please don’t “parody” and “satirize” our legitimate criticism of your behaviour.

  10. 10
    Midnight Rambler

    Sheesh. Every time I think you’re close to “getting it”, you show yourself determined to prove me wrong. I give up.

  11. 11
    Grimalkin

    Oh, and Edwin, I must wonder this too-

    Why do you allow people to comment things like “Screaming faggots” on your blog? Most blogs remove comments like that due to hate speech. Moreover, why in the world are your supporters the type of people who make comments like that? It’s rather telling of you and them if that’s the language and attitude that your regulars employ towards LGBT folks.

  12. 12
    Nick Gotts

    Edwin, has no-one ever told you that humour is supposed to be funny?

  13. 13
    verbascum

    Edwin, you still have some work to do. (Ironic understatement)

  14. 14
    oldebabe

    Well, just sticking to the point of how it is an irritant that people can’t get ones name right, I can actually commiserate with your feelings, as I experience something of the same problem. No big deal of course, but an irritant none-the-less.

    What’s with all the apologies, tho…??? a little sarcasm there re: name-calling? If you put yourself in the position of writing or expressing your opinions publicly, you are sure to get some negative feed-back, especially when the opinions do, or at least seem to, `hit a nerve’, even if unintentionally or humorously. This should not be news to you.

    I, for one, if I address you directly, will call you `Edwin’.

  15. 15
    gragra, something clever after the comma

    Can I call you “Eddie Baby”?

  16. 16
    Goblinman

    Oh, Edna.

    I, for one, prefer to avoid re-opening snakebite wounds.

  17. 17
    niftyatheist, perpetually threadrupt

    Huh. Read something here a while back that I thought was pretty good. Saw the snake bite post and thought, “That was a mess” – but didn’t comment because comments already ably underway.
    Looking at the subsequent train wreck of posts, culminating in this crowning achievement of insensitivity and insufferable egotism, I still cannot add anything that other commenters have not already said better.
    I’ll just say- I think I’ve got Edwin’s* number – won’t be visiting this blog again.

    * Hey Edwin, my son is an Edward. Small of me, perhaps, but I am rather relieved that you are not an Edward, after all.

  18. 18
    Ruth

    Oh, Eddie, Eddie, Eddie!

    Haven’t you heard about the first rule of holes?

  19. 19
    SallyStrange

    Ohmigoodness, this is SO DUMB. Just plain stupid. Gah. And you were doing so well. I take back all the nice things I said about you before. Obviously you don’t get it, and not only that, you just don’t want to. Inexcusable.

    1. 19.1
      Edwin Kagin

      “Against Stupidity, The Gods Themselves Contend in Vain.”
      Friedrich von Schiller.

      1. SallyStrange

        That was mad deep, yo. So deep, I couldn’t even discern the connection between what I said and what you said.

  20. 20
    Mark

    I may be thinking too much into this, but I don’t think Edwin was just talking about his name. I think a lot of people may have missed that he was being labelled as an “Edward” (read: homophobic) is previous comments, and that he felt insulted and hurt at being labelled as such, since he has spent his life fighting for equal rights. It seems a lot of people on here have judged him by one joke (whether a good or bad one is not really the point) and treat him based on that preconception (what many LGBT people and other minorities are exposed to). In a way, he is undergoing the similar treatment on this site as to what minorities are exposed to everyday by the same people he has spent his life to defend and protect. For that point of view, I can see why he would be hurt.

    Again, I may be thinking too much into this…

    1. 20.1
      Edwin Kagin

      Mark,

      Thank you. I now go on to blogging on other things, safe in the knowledge that at least you seem to understand.

      It has been a stunning experience for me to suddenly discover that some of the very people for whose rights I have endangered my life to defend would now, through lack of understanding, attack me as being at one with those I am attacking and defending them against. Explanations, and even satire directed toward myself, has apparently been largely unsuccessful. And that really is a shame.

      I shall continue to be your ally in matters concerning equal rights under the law and equal protection of the laws.

      Regards,

      Edwin.

      1. Mark

        Edwin,

        I’m glad I got it right and wasn’t just over thinking. If I were you, I wouldn’t get to upset. I think a lot of the people on here, when they fully understand your point and sentiment, would agree and defend you. I think that maybe the joke struck them to hard for them to dismiss it as part of the argument against homophobia.

        Keep up the good fight! There is still a ways to go, but I don’t doubt your devotion. You even support us lefties ;)

        Cheers,

        Mark

      2. Grimalkin

        To mark- no, being yelled at for being an asshole is not equivalent to the hatred and violence that LGBT people face, and fuck you for even thinking that is similar.

        Edwin- I give up. You are NOT an ally, and I refuse to consider you one until you can pull your head out of your ass.

        The people who are agreeing with you are in the wrong. Abso-fucking-lutely in the wrong. You’re allied to them- people who can’t even see the difference by one sad man getting a slap on the wrist and LGBT people who are harrassed and killed- but after this, you are not allied to me. An ally does not trivialize the hardships of the people they are allied to.

        If you were an ally, then when a bunch of LGBT people showed up to tell you that you had posted something offensive, you would have apologized like a god damned adult. You could have said something like “Oh, I didn’t realize, but I didn’t mean to offend.” I would have been just dandy with that, and would have gone on reading more of your blog posts, because before you revealed yourself to be a cockroach I actually liked your humor. Instead, you made four fucking posts on the matter, two of which were incredibly insulting (the others just moderately insulting). In one, you outright said that your goal was to be offensive, and now you’re claiming to be hurt AND an ally?

        What you experienced here was people rightly criticizing you when you were being a huge flaming asshole. It is nothing, nothing like what LGBT people face. Do you know what would happen if I came out to my family? I have at least one relative who would physically attack me and then ostracize me from her god damned family. As far as the rest of my family, who knows! I might be lucky enough to get off just being the black sheep of my whole fucking family!

        That is nowhere near what you experienced here, and I doubt it’s even like what you experienced being such an “ally” to minorities. Maybe you were called a “nigger lover”, but I bet you never got called a plain old “nigger”! And hell, even if you were a great ally to LGBT people, you at the very least got to have some sense that you were being brave and a hero (albeit a shit one).

        I don’t get that for just being a lesbian. All I get is the constant knowledge that my family would hate me if they knew what I was, with a side of my sexuality being treated like either some “two girls for the price of one” deal or an abomination against nature, and the extra fun of shitbags like you who openly insult me multiple times and then play the victim!

        You are a deplorable human being, I do not understand how you got a position on FtB (Though I do now understand why your readers use such phrases as “screaming faggots”), and you are not my god damned ally.

        You also probably won’t read this or reply, because it isn’t praising you. That’s the pattern I’ve noticed anyhow!

        Go fuck yourself with a decaying porcupine,

        Grimalkin.

      3. strange gods before me ॐ

        “satire directed toward myself”?

        while you mock the people who you hurt?

        so you’re a liar on top of it all.

        figures.

    2. 20.2
      Aratina Cage

      I think a lot of people may have missed that he was being labelled as an “Edward” (read: homophobic)

      *raises eyebrows* W-w-w-w-what? “Edward” does not mean “homophobic”.

      he felt insulted and hurt at being labelled as such, since he has spent his life fighting for equal rights.

      Must we send out for the Whaaaaambulance?

      It seems a lot of people on here have judged him by one joke

      Nope.

      and treat him based on that preconception (what many LGBT people and other minorities are exposed to)

      It is not a preconception. He told a blatantly homophobic joke and admitted he was told he had told a homophobic joke by his own daughter and still tried to pretend he hadn’t.

      In a way, he is undergoing the similar treatment on this site as to what minorities are exposed to everyday by the same people he has spent his life to defend and protect.

      No way. No one here told him they would rather he died than help him, but that is a personal sentiment of his that he shared with us about gay men. All we ask is that he leave his cave.

      1. Mark

        If you had read through the originally post properly, you would see it was a literary device to make a point. He started off with an essentially Homophobic viewpoint. The point was to show that long time ago, it was socially acceptable to think that way (and how some homophobic people will think that way now). He then creates a parallel to left-handedness. Even longer ago, left-handedness was seen as evil. They were demonized and seen as sinful (similar to how LGBT people were/are seen by homophobic people). Then he transitions into acceptance of left-handness. There was no reason to see them as evil of sinful. It was not within their control. Nowadays, it is perfectly acceptable to be left-handed. Then he draws the reverse-parallel with homosexuality. To show that even though left-handness was seen as evil for no reason but was eventually accepted, homosexuality (I should include all LGBT people in this actually) is the same. It may be demonized by some people, but there is no reason for it to be demonized and that eventually I will be accepted by all society (no easy task). It’s unfortunate the initial paragraph offended many people, as the author originally intend (in my interpretation) to paint a transition for a inferior, bigoted society to one of acceptance and enlightenment.

        It would appear my assumptions to this post were correct, as the author confirmed them himself. In addition, how do you know that he has never had his life threatened because he choose to protect those people who were being attacked and preyed upon? Not only did African Americans, LGBT, and other minorities get attacked and were threatened, but also those who defended them were also attacked and threatened. The author has led a life like that where he has always defended the rights of those who were being persecuted, and was treated as such by the bigoted majority. I can’t tell you if he was ever threatened or attacked, but he definitely wouldn’t have been popular. Now he is being treated like one that he has fought so hard against by those he fought to protect. I can understand how he could feel hurt and insulted.

        1. Aratina Cage

          @Mark

          If you had read through the originally post properly, you would see it was a literary device to make a point.

          I did, Mark! I did read it properly. I recognized it as the story of his partial transition from bigotry to less bigotry. The problem is that it was supposed to be funny. To who, though? That is the question. Who was supposed to find it funny? The answer obviously surprised Kagin.

          He then creates a parallel to left-handedness. Even longer ago, left-handedness was seen as evil. They were demonized and seen as sinful (similar to how LGBT people were/are seen by homophobic people).

          Yes, I know, but it wasn’t that long ago. Some left-handed people just a few generations ago (about Kagin’s age) were physically abused by teachers if they used their left hand to write. I even had a conversation with one person on Pharyngula who insisted on using misogynistic epithets until we were able to make him see the analogy to using the word sinister. (Funnily enough, his name was Eddie.)

          It’s unfortunate the initial paragraph offended many people, as the author originally intend (in my interpretation) to paint a transition for a inferior, bigoted society to one of acceptance and enlightenment.

          Yes, I agree. But the problem is not with the people reading, it is with the story as written and his subsequent posts and comments about some of his readership’s reaction to it.

          how do you know that he has never had his life threatened because he choose to protect those people who were being attacked and preyed upon?

          I don’t, but I can’t see how that would make any difference. For instance, Fred Phelps won some significant civil rights cases in court, but that doesn’t make what he does now any less bigoted in any way whatsoever.

          The author has led a life like that where he has always defended the rights of those who were being persecuted, and was treated as such by the bigoted majority.

          That is what I thought. Look, I’m not completely clueless as to who Kagin is! I know he’s been active in atheism for–like–ever! But that is not what we are talking about here. This bringing up of his past goodness looks to me like little more than an attempt to deflect sustantive criticism.

          Now he is being treated like one that he has fought so hard against by those he fought to protect. I can understand how he could feel hurt and insulted.

          I can understand it, too. I’ve known plenty of straight people who were good people most/some of the time but had a major blindspot when it came to non-straight people. Is the answer to accommodate their crap (such as bigoted jokes) about LGBT people or to get on their case about it? The same goes with good people who we find doing things that are racist, misogynistic, etc. I think the answer should be clear to anyone who values freedom of speech: get on their case about it! Let them know that what they are doing is not OK! There is no need to sit back and take it or ignore it in a society where speech is not censored.

  21. 21
    Goblinman

    Well, I’m glad we queers have a straight guy to tell us what should and shouldn’t be offensive to us. Having to form my own opinions is oh… so terribly difficult.

    Heavens. I think I’ll have to have a lie-down.

    Swing-and-a-miss, Eddie.

  22. 22
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Edwin,
    As I’m sure you’ve read, I was initially taken aback by your original post. Once I understood the context of the joke, I was able to overcome my irritation and I have no issue whatsoever with you. I just figured you should hear from a gay man who doesn’t feel insulted by you.

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