Man. Two posts involving the Crimson in rapid succession. I generally don’t like to blog this much about Harvard, but, well, it’s been a busy day.
The comments thread following this column erupted when I suggested that homophobia still exists on the Harvard campus. (Disclaimer: I originally did so by using the example of an undergrad who was assaulted two years ago by two non-Harvardians who first yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him. It’s clear that in doing so, I knowingly misinterpreted another commenter’s wording–“on campus”–to mean “everyone who interacts with the Harvard campus,” not “Harvard students.” I later admitted this was wrong of me, and apologized for making the thread more inflammatory than it needed to be.)
This isn’t actually what the column itself was about. Basically, the author makes a distinction between funny homophobic jokes (like those shared by friends) and actually hurtful homophobia, and asserts that queer activists need to better recognize that distinction. I can’t say I really disagree with any of that, although it does open the door for the usual “Ooooh, see, gay people call each other names all the time! It must be okay when I do it!” argument that always seems to follow any discussion of in-group language otherwise prohibited in polite speech.
What I was actually responding to was a commenter, who interpreted the column as saying “homophobia is pretty much gone at Harvard, so everybody needs to stop getting their panties in a knot and focus on more important things, like marriage equality.”
Here are the things I love about this thread:
1) The ol’ “Let me tell you the things you should think are important” ploy. Always fun from an outsider (I’m making an assumption here based on that commenter’s wording that s/he doesn’t identify as part of the queer community), especially when the group in question is already directing energy toward those “important” things. (Not enough, apparently.)
2) The fact that someone felt the need to repeatedly sign him or herself off with variations on “mk is a tool.”
3) People who put phrases in all caps telling me I need to chill.
4) Being accused of being “one of those loud people that always scream about how bad the Harvard community is, when in fact [I’m] only making it worse.”
I love it when anonymous blog posters call me names. Granted, being called a tool ain’t half bad. It happens to be one of my favorite insults (second only to “assbasket,” which I largely reserve for close friends) and it’s pretty innocuous, relatively speaking. But I’d bet money that if we were having this conversation in person, things would be way more polite.
I also love that pointing out that homophobia exists on the Harvard campus makes me a negative, divisive screamer who only complains about how bad Harvard is. Seriously?