Tuesday, June 21, 2011

WHY GAY PRIDE MEANS FORGIVING TRACY MORGAN


WHY GAY PRIDE MEANS FORGIVING TRACY MORGAN
By Craig Seymour

Like many gay people, I was shocked and confused when I heard that comedian Tracy Morgan had unleashed a homophobic rant before a Nashville concert audience. I thought to myself in bewilderment, “Who the fuck pays good-ass money to see Tracy Morgan in concert?” Seriously? Our country is experiencing some of the worst economic times in decades, and there are people out there spending money on a Tracy Morgan show? Didn’t these folks see his HBO special a few months ago? Don’t they see him every fucking week on “30 Rock”? Don’t they know that all of that shit is available any time, day or night, On Demand? I mean, I’m a Tracy Morgan fan, but I’ve never felt like I needed more Tracy Morgan in my life. I think my current dosage is about right.

But after I got over that initial shock, I was genuinely concerned about some of the violent imagery he used about threatening to stab his son with a knife if he turned out to be gay. I know that violence against gay people is a serious issue, and I think Morgan’s comments deserved a reaction. My problem was with the overreaction—the nonstop coverage on all the news shows, not to mention my personal Facebook and Twitter feeds, and the calls for Morgan to lose his job on “30 Rock.” All of these things seemed to take the situation completely out of context. First of all, the incident took place at a comedy show. Comedians sometimes say fucked up shit. That’s what they do. That’s why we like them. They say shit that other people are scared to say. It’s their job to walk the line of what is and isn’t acceptable, so we really shouldn’t be so indignant and unforgiving when they sometimes purposefully or unintentionally cross that line.

Second of all, the comments came from Tracy Morgan, whose whole shtick is to be outrageous and seemingly out of touch with reality. I couldn’t help thinking that if Morgan did actually try to kill someone with a knife, he’d probably fuck up and spork the person instead.

Nevertheless, I was glad the issue was brought to Morgan’s attention and that he quickly apologized. My lingering issue with this whole controversy is how it seems that the more rights and social power that gay people gain, the more hypersensitive we’ve become. Now, I know I’m outside of the gay mainstream on a lot of issues. I support gay marriage, but I’m really more focused on the We-Screwed-Last-Week-So-Can-You-At-Least-Have-The-Common-Fuckin’-Courtesy-To-Return-My-Text movement. And, although I think it’s important that we send troubled gay teens the message that “It Gets Better,” I do sometimes think, “It Still Sucks.” Because of my left-of-center views, I usually keep quiet on this type of stuff. After all, I don’t want to lose all of my Facebook friends and Twitter followers. But I just feel that our reactions to what celebrities say about us, negatively and positively, have gotten completely out of whack.

I remember a couple of months ago, a lot of my gay friends were outraged that Justin Bieber implied in an interview that people aren’t born gay. And I’m like, O.K., top academic minds have been studying and debating the roots of homosexuality for more than a century in the most esteemed scientific journals, and you’re upset about what a 17-year-old pop star just told “Rolling Stone.” For real, guys?

I feel that these overreactions extend to the celebrities that we unquestioningly worship just because they pay lip service to our issues. I know this isn’t gonna win me popularity points—or likely get any of those guys I’ve recently boned to text me back—but I feel like Lady Gaga is so over-the-top with her I-love-gays stuff that it’s a turn off. I frankly don’t give a shit if she thinks I was “born this way” any more than I care if the Bieber thinks I wasn’t. And I definitely don’t need her patronizing “little monsters” bullshit. I mean, what the fuck is that all about and why doesn’t anyone ever call her on it? She says she loves and respects her fans so much, but she calls them “little?” Don’t we actually tend to look down on things that are little because they are, like duh, smaller than us? If she really respected and idolized her fans so much, wouldn’t she call them something like “big monsters” or “giants”? Just sayin’.

But my intent here isn’t to bash Gaga. What I’m trying to do, on the occasion of Pride Month, is suggest that we, as a community, take a moment to get some perspective on all of these issues. I’m hoping that we get better about separating things that really threaten us from things that are simply irritating, that we refine our ability to know the difference between people who are truly hateful and bigoted from those who are just insensitive or uninformed. We should use Pride Month to take stock of all of the remarkable strides that gay people have made in the past few decades. We are not some small, voiceless community that needs to be shaken to the core every time a celebrity says something stupid. We are, in fact, a strong community that has the ability to exert its force in many ways, including exercising the power to forgive.

So, for that reason, I’m expressing my gay pride by forgiving Tracy Morgan:

"Dear Tracy, I sincerely accept your apology. But don’t fuck up again.”

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