Words, Words, Words

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me. That’s just something we tell kids so they don’t feel bad on the playground, right? Cuz if adults really believed in this saying, we wouldn’t have anything to read on Twitter.

Lisa Lampanelli, stand-up comedian and “The Queen of Mean”, recently tweeted a picture of herself and “Girls” creator, Lena Dunham, saying, “Me with my nigga… I love this beyotch!” Many offended followers didn’t hesitate to scold Lisa for her language.

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Lena’s HBO show “Girls” has been criticized for not having any black characters in it, so this n-word association can also be seen to some as a sort of face rub. (I’m curious how many people just got nervous about me using the word “black” as opposed to “African-American” in that last sentence) My opinion of this criticism of “Girls” is that the world being scripted is void of people of color for a reason. The show is about privileged white girls who are lost in life and making their way in New York City. Its a hilariously self-conscious show with flawed characters and lots of heart. My answer to any critics about the absence of different races is – go make a show that’s like “Girls” but has different races in it. If “Girls” didn’t live in its own cocoon of whiteness, it wouldn’t be the same show.

Another Twitter war that won’t seem to die is that between blogger Perez Hilton and rapper Azealia Banks. Perez butted into a fight between Azealia and another rapper, but when Azealia called him a “messy faggot”, Twitter exploded on her. She didn’t back down and started saying some really silly stuff (like “A faggot is not a homosexual male. A faggot is any male who acts like a female. There’s a BIG difference.” and “When I said acts like I female I should’ve said acts like a cunt.” and finally, “lol your a dum dum. …. You’re worse than a girl.”) Now granted, the bisexual Banks isn’t doing herself any favors, but I fault Perez in this interaction since the point of contention began when he inserted himself into a fight that wasn’t his. Should he be called a “messy faggot”? No, but I can’t say I disagree with the sentiment. I use “faggot” a lot within my circle of friends – for each other, for others. Its certainly not worth labeling Banks as “homophobic” because she dropped the word.

I wonder if Lisa Lampanelli only has the one nigga? I’m gonna send in an application to be one of her niggas cuz I applied for faggot with Azealia Banks and haven’t heard back yet.

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RuPaul gets a lot of heat from the transgender community because Ru doesn’t think the word “tranny” is offensive, even though trans activists have told Ru that its not welcome language. I love me some RuPaul, but he doesn’t get to decide who is and isn’t offended by a word, right? It’s important to make sure society understand the difference between drag performers and transgender people who actually require equal rights in the workplace, with health insurance, and many other areas that are usually overlooked. I see Ru’s use of this word as a generational issue. Ru comes from old school 80’s gay lingo and there is certainly nothing scary about trans persons to Ru, so why would the transgender community be labeling Ru as “transphobic”? Seems a bit much to me. Recently, a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race came out as a trans woman and all the other contestants crowded around her for support and said there should be no safer place than right there in that room for gender expression.

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Having worked in special education for 15 years, my brain can’t hear the word “retarded”. It hurts my soul and flashes me back to helping many past students decipher their feelings when they hear that word being used. “Retarded” just isn’t in my vocabulary. I used to stop everyone who ever said it and explain why it sounded so awful, but I’m older now – and tired. Also, I recognize that there are true times that all words could and should be used  for creative/comedic circumstances. So I would never want to eliminate any word from existence entirely. I mean, how does one do that anyway? Words aren’t tangible. They can’t be taken out of one’s mouth and locked away. They can, however, be taught to be used with precise skill. This is why, while in essence, I agree with Azealia Banks, but she comes off as a sloppy wordsmith.

While playing a reality TV game show, I called an extreme conservative (who was against marriage equality) an “idiot” and a “hypocrite”. I never used the word “bigot” because bigotry implies hateful intent. And while there are many people who are bigots that actively vote against equality, there are also people who truly have not lived outside their bubble of religion, who say hypocritical things and can be perceived as being idiots, that vote that way as well. There’s a big difference. This is why when I see people being labeled as “bigots”, its very often an overstatement. Its easy to get mired down in semantics while debating online (or even on national television!) Once someone who isn’t a bigot is called a bigot, then you’ve lost a line of communication. One can be outraged that I used the word “idiot” while ignoring “hypocrite” and then everyone calls everyone a “bigot” and nothing gets heard over the tears of non-hateful religious women or all the queer youth that cry themselves to sleep every night because of society’s message of inequality.

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So here’s the solution: Say whatever you want, whenever you want, but be prepared to defend your choices and curb your usage depending on the circumstances. Acknowledge one’s legitimate right to be offended by using a particular word, but also realize that freedom of speech, particularly with regards to art, is here for all.

If you don’t like the word “nigga” coming out of a white lady comedian’s mouth, you probably aren’t going to be friends with that lady. If you don’t like RuPaul for saying “tranny”, you probably aren’t going to be chilling in the Interior Illusions Lounge any time soon. Personally, I don’t use the words “retarded”, “tranny”, “nigga” OR “nigger”. I have used them in the past for creative reasons – in a sketch or a blog post, perhaps the occasional tweet when needed for necessary emphasis. We choose when to be offended. Be conscious with your words. Awareness and tact can go a long way when you’re hanging out with all your retarded tranny nigga bigot faggots.

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Valencrime’s Day

I was lucky enough to have a friend that works at a flower shop give me a week’s worth of employment during Valentine’s Day, their busiest season. My first day on the job, I had scrounged change out of my couch to get on the subway. The shop was super busy when I walked in and someone asked me if I could run a delivery before getting started in the office. The building I went to was Goldman-Sachs. Hilarious. While waiting in the messenger center, I tried to plug my phone charger into one of the electrical outlets, but the security guard told me it was against company policy to let me do that — power ain’t free!! Dicks. After a few days of paperwork and telephones, I was positioned on the freezing street in a giant U-Haul truck filled with deliveries for the actual day of lovers.

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The company had hired about 80 people off Craigslist to escort the floral arrangements all across the city. I was suddenly face to face with other unemployed people, all of us just thankful for the chance to earn a few dollars. As I chatted with my fellow Americans, I quickly learned way too much information about their lives. One had just gotten out of the hospital for some mysterious reason, a plastic bracelet around his wrists. Many kind hearted men with tattoos of teardrops on their face.  A very old Chinese man who wore an eyepatch. An extremely overweight lady who worriedly kept asking if she could leave by 4pm to pick up her kid from her mom’s house before her mom’s boyfriend came home… I didn’t even want to imagine why. A lot of the people seemed to have very rough lives and were in some way ex-criminals, criminals, or very possibly mentally ill. I was in the middle of finishing my hot tea when someone from the shop promoted me to be the manager of the group. Privileged white guy, here I am!

For each successful delivery, confirmed by a signed receipt, I was to give a little red ticket to the delivery person, which represented a dollar. The idea being the faster you deliver, the more money you can make. An older lady who couldn’t walk very well, but had warm eyes, told me she didn’t care how much she was getting paid, she was just happy to get paid. Well, I became very popular. Lots of sugarcoating, pole smoking, and artificial niceties. I was authorized to give the people I saw doing well extra tickets. Aside from a handful of slowpokes and the stoned guy wearing a black leather jacket with the words “In God We Trust” embroidered in yellow, who kept “losing” his receipts, everyone got a little extra money. I’m pretty sure he was selling the flowers on the corner. If I was in charge of firing, he would’ve been gone. Some people tried to coerce or trick me into getting extra tickets, but I was always a step ahead and once they tried to take advantage of my kindness, they never saw it again.

The day after Valentine’s, I helped by making deliveries myself. From banker’s offices at the southern most tip of Manhattan to the Upper East Side to the West Village to Washington Heights, I pedaled the petals. While lost in Harlem, two girls, who were mayyybe 16 years old, came up to me and said, “Hey don’t I know you from the TV? You were on that one show!” They couldn’t remember the name of the show I was on, but they knew my name. Beyanna and Diamond gave me directions and told me that, as of the night before, they were officially girlfriends. The three of us had a kyoot little “queer power” moment in the street, we hugged, and we went our separate ways. I love them. Yay queer youth!

By the end of the week, my feet hurt, my brain smushed, and the anxiety over what the next chapter of my life is gonna look like had set in again. Lots of changes are happening, surrounding the people I know and am friends with, but I’ve decided to embrace the chaos and go where the universe wants me. Rollercoasters, puppies, the position of your head when you bite into a taco, diarrhea, zen…

The Edge Of Reality on Blog Talk Radio

Check out my recent radio appearance!

The Edge Of Reality 01/31 by NDB Media 3 | Blog Talk Radio.

We discuss some of my strategies on “The Glass House”, my opinions on reality shows that I’m currently watching, and most importantly, find out lots of information on the upcoming Reality Rally in Temecula, CA.