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I posted a homophobic meme, and I want to publicly apologize

Submitted by Fossidarity in meta (edited )

I want to apologize for posting a homophobic meme yesterday. I was tired and found the meme yesterday and apparently the text didn't fully register in my head. After posting the meme I went straight to bed so I found out what I did this morning. I deleted the post now, next time I'll pay more attention to what I'm actually posting. I would never consciously post anything homophobic as I self-identify as queer.

I don't even know why I posted the meme because besides the homophobic content it's really bad quality and not funny at all.

I feel really guilty about this, especially since I've recently been given the trust to become an admin. If people feel this mistake is a big one enough to step down as admin then I'll do that.

Homophobia in any way or form shouldn't be accepted, and it would have been fair if I would have been banned for it.

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____deleted____ wrote

it would have been fair if I would have been banned for it.

No, it wouldn't have. That would be an overreaction to one mistaken post. We need to clear this atmosphere that things will have such immediate and strong reactions.

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md_ wrote

I'm glad you saw the problem with that meme. Unfortunately, using homophobia against "homophobes themselves" is really pervasive in progressive spaces, and it often doesn't register even for people who definitely know better. Eg a lot of LGBT activists use "drag queen" imagery to mock political and religious leaders for their institutional homophobia because "they will be triggered".

Such things are self-defeating. We can't use homophobia for progressive causes.

In any case, I want raddle to become a place where it's okay to make mistakes so long as we all agree to talk/debate things openly and in good faith. I'm not comfortable with public apologies.

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[deleted] wrote

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md_ wrote (edited )

Can you actually explain what is harmful about it?

Because it relies on the continuing existence of the association of homosexuality with bad things (which is a huge part of what makes homophobia, homophobia). The joke cannot be funny otherwise. Assuming that homophobia is harmful, we do not want to keep it around, even just for the sake of being able to make jokes.

Another angle to approach it is that to make a group of people that have actually suffered and in many ways still suffer under reactionary politics, the punchline of a joke, is not helping that group to overcome the guilt and internalised homophobia that they have been socialised into.

I can see that some people might find it hurtful but I hope to never modify my actions to ease someone else's feelings as I don't ask people to modify their actions based on mine. But if this is actually harmful then I guess I will stop.

Expand on this distinction between harmful and hurtful. I don't know if I am lacking the native speaker intuition, or the political background to grasp the difference.

I want to point out that I would not find it funny to make dis-able jokes - for example - about a person because that is a dark situation that I think no one wants to be in. But being homosexual is not a "plight"

Well, why should disability be seen as a plight? Disability activists often point out that their disability is not the problem, and they do not want to be pitied. The problem they identify is that the society builds (physically and metaphorically) structures that are inaccessible to everyone but an idealised version of an "able body" (an idealisation that even people who we generally don't consider disabled don't meet, making interaction with every day objects frustrating for them).

With that, that I want to see is that were you set the boundary between "plight" and "not plight" is quite arbitrary, and it is possible that this is influenced by pre-existing ideas, like what kind of jokes you already consider funny. (Is this the prescriptive sense of "begging the question"? Did I finally manage to find a situation where the prescriptive meaning applies? :-o)

so the humor in using homophobic jokes as a weapon comes from the fact that it is only the fact that someone is homophobic that causes this person to take hurt from the joke.

I don't accept your premise there, but even assuming that only homophobes will be hurt from a homophobic joke... a lot of gay men are homophobic, and this joke hurts them. Gay men can be homophobic because they were raised in the same society as the straight homophobes the joke attempts to make fun of. Homophobic gay men have to struggle to get rid of all the ideas that they have been socialised into that make them hate themselves, and other gay men. Such jokes will not only hurt them, but also reinforce the ideas that make it hurtful.

Maybe there's some utopian society in the West were people are no longer raised with homophobia in their environment, and where gay men do not experience any degree of self-loathing, so maybe they are not hurt by homophobic jokes, nor by being used as a punchline. I can't rule out its existence, but I don't think Raddle is such a place.

But if you called you or me homosexual, we wouldn't be offended. So these jokes are the linguistic equivalent of a virus that is genetically engineered to only attack homophobes.

You assume this to be true, as I wrote above. I can at least say with certainty this is not true everywhere. It might be true where you live and socialise of course, I can't argue otherwise. But Raddle doesn't seem regionally homogeneous, and that's before we consider that even in the same region, different social circles might have different experiences.

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[deleted] wrote

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md_ wrote (edited )

I disagree and maybe this is the entire point.

It might be yes.

It very obviously (to me) does not associate homosexuality with bad things. Rather it highlights the fact that some person has this ridiculous assumption. In that sense it is not only funny but noble.

That is not at all obvious, and it probably isn't the case. And mind you, the meme uses cock-sucking and cum-drinking already as a metaphor, not literally. What does that metaphor encode? Does it encode the literal sexual acts, or something more? I think it's uncontroversial to say that it also encodes the attitudes towards the sexual acts, and towards the people who are associated with those acts (gay men, women, etc).

Harmful would mean that there is some mechanism that we can point to that would slow down the ability of people to grow with respect to their capacity to understand homosexuality and have not-reflexive reactions to it. (I hope that these non-reflexive reactions would be more tolerant but the goal is to help people reach their potential, not to form them into something specific.)

In that case, we are indeed discussing a meme that is harmful, because such memes being common and unchallenged as wide social effects, it's not like, say, puns (which I find a great source of jokes, but a lot of people hate).

Hurtful is... a waste of time even talking about. It is the feelings someone has. They are important to that person and maybe to that person's mother. But I do not have time to spend on them in this life.

Well, that's another topic. It's not relevant here though, so I will leave it aside.

That is exactly what I said: the joke hurts homophobes. (Gay and straight ones alike.)

Reminder that I assumed your position that it only hurts homophobes for the sake of the discussion. I don't think it only hurts homophobes.

But again, assuming that, why would you want to harm gay men who experience internalised homophobia?

"plight" not "blight!" I am already in enough trouble for saying the one. Please do not get me into trouble for saying the other. :) By "plight" I mean "a situation you cannot change" as opposed to being homophobic, which is something you can change.

"Blight" was a typo, I fixed it while you were replying.

By "plight" I mean "a situation you cannot change" as opposed to being homophobic, which is something you can change.

Well, your previous comment said "But being homosexual is not a "plight"".

Now, I happen to support that sexuality is fluid, and not necessarily a 100% determined by genetics and the environment, but how's that a meaningful distinction here? If a person can choose to be gay or not, doesn't change the fact that being gay has a ton of negative associations which homophobic jokes tap into and use them as punchlines.

If you meant to write "homophobic" there, then your original comment wouldn't make sense, but yeah, even accepting that, refer to the previous point: why would you want to attack self-loathing gay men, assuming that they are the only gay men harmed by homophobic jokes?

What better way to help a comrade with his struggle that than to make fun of this self-hating gay man for being gay? Do you disagree that ragging on people is the best (or at least one of the best) ways to help someone grow?

Yes, I do disagree. This over-glorification of "exposure therapy" is a very common thing in "folk psychology", but, to put it bluntly, (generic) you are not everyone's therapist.

No one asked you to be their therapist, you haven't received the consent of that person to try and administer them an exposure therapy, and you probably don't know what you are doing.

And usually, therapists don't use exposure therapy to help people overcome self-loathing. It's more about states like social anxiety, and compulsiveness.

Assuming the role of being everyone's therapist is harmful, and the consequences could potentially be very severe for the person you may think you are trying to help.

If I have a close [...] friend [...] I once had a [...] friend. [...] A friend [...] And I know that my friends would do the same to me.

You might have a relationship with your friends that allows you to do these things, and you might know a lot about them that enables you to know how much of this behaviour is still okay between you and them. You don't have that relationship with everyone. Trying to treat everyone the same way as you treat your friends is dangerous.

Maybe your friend is helped by you minimising their breakup, or lost limb. I don't know your friends after all. But what enables you to be so sure that your comments would help everyone else? You don't know their internal mental state, or what other comments have been hearing in their life until that point and so on.

Why do you think this is relevant?

Because maybe those jokes could be perceived differently in a different environment. Maybe in some queer utopia we can somehow make homophobic jokes that do not validate and reproduce homophobia. I try not to make categorical statements unless I really intend them to be categorical. In this case, I feel like I can only talk about the world as we know it now.

Okay, let me re-phrase: "But if someone called a non-homophobe a homosexual, that person would not be offended. Regardless of where this non-homophobe was raised or whether this non-homophobe was gay or straight."

Even accepting this as true, I disagree with you for the reasons stated above.

When someone says something, your reaction illustrates something about you, not the speaker. If you are indifferent, that says one thing. If you are offended but find the humor in yourself and laugh, then you have grown thanks to the speaker. And if you are offended but are too small-minded to grow, that's hilarious.

Again, you cannot claim to be everyone's therapist and hand down diagnoses too. Or, if you insist on being everyone's therapist, it is only fair that you assume the responsibilities that a therapist has towards their clients.

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[deleted] wrote

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md_ wrote

Re-replying after a browser crash :/

Now you're begging the question. Do you see? Feel free to point out the implicit assumption.

The first part was a reply to your

It very obviously (to me) does not associate homosexuality with bad things.

That lack of association is not “obvious”. To me it’s “obvious” that it actually does make an association. So whatever it is, it’s not actually obvious. And that was the point of my second part there, that I think we can reasonably agree that a) the cock-sucking etc there is metaphorical, b) the metaphor encodes more things than just the literal description of sexual acts. To go out of chronological order, we seem to agree on (a-b) in a way:

Absolutely. And that is my point! We could skip everything else and right here you have made my point for me.

We agree that the joke is not about sucking dick, but about how sucking dick is bad. Then we diverge here:

The jokes aren't about homosexuality. The joke is the "attitudes" held by fallible, human target of the joke! That's why I don't think that this type of humor promotes homophobia, but actually the opposite. It brings the homophobia into the light, because bringing things from the uncomfortable inner-place out into the light is what humor is (according to Jung... I think I read somewhere.)

You make a lot of assumptions here.

The jokes aren't about homosexuality.

Only in the sense that gay men are not the only people robustly associated with that practice. We’ve been using “gay men” almost throughout this discussion because it’s perhaps the most robust association, but it also includes women etc.

The joke is the "attitudes" held by fallible, human target of the joke!

Two things: a) is this joke really about the attitudes, if it plays those attitudes completely straight and without challenging them? In this case, how are homophobic jokes from homophobes different than homophobic jokes by non-homophobes? Both can make the exact same joke (eg the meme in question), and one will tell you it’s funny because sucking dick is pathetic and nazis are pathetic, and the other will tell you that nazis think sucking dick is pathetic, and nazis are pathetic so they suck dick/it’s like they suck dick.

Do you find that a meaningful distinction?

b) is the neonazi really the only target of this joke? At the “best” case, maybe, but gay men are used as a ammo. But I don’t think that’s even the case. When the exact same type of jokes is made with gay men as the target every day, then in this instance gay men are not just the ammo, it’s also essentially a “you’re gay” statement (that is, “haha, neonazis are gay”). Below I suggest a test to examine the joke in vitro, without any context, but things are much more clear if you also consider the context of the world as it is now.

That's why I don't think that this type of humor promotes homophobia, but actually the opposite.

Try this test: is this joke still funny if you assume a world where homosexuality and homosexual acts have no negative associations whatsoever? Where does this joke derive its edge from in that case?

It brings the homophobia into the light

I’m willing to accept this, but does it do so critically? No, this joke doesn’t challenge the homophobia anywhere in its setup, it simply reproduces it without even commenting on it. This, incidentally, is why there can be jokes that use references to sex, sexuality, gay people, homophobia itself etc, that are not homophobic jokes: they won’t rely on accepting tenants of homophobia to be accepted as true. They might be critical of those homophobic assumptions in the way the joke is set up, or they derive their edge from something else entirely.


Slow your roll my friend. My question to you was not about the meme in the OP at all. I didn't even look at the meme I don't think. My question was about your comment specifically, not the meme at all.

Well, that’s bizarre, because the way the discussion was unfolding, we made reference to the meme a lot. But my arguments can be generalised I think. Tell me if something doesn’t generalise.

Anyway, if we apply your statement to this type of humor, which is what our convesation is about, all your comment does is repeat your claim that the meme is harmful but you still have not answered my question of in what way or by what mechanism that is the case. Emphasis is not proof.

Honestly, I believe I did. Maybe not in a single contiguous sentence, but I wrote about a) the jokes relying on the shared assumption that the punchline is funny, b) the punchline being that certain acts are shameful and those who engage in them are “bad” for some values of bad, c) that gay men in a lot of places and situations experience degrees of self-loathing that were formed by their socialisation, d) the jokes reproduce and/or validate those feelings of self-loathing, and e) “exposure” doesn’t help them overcome self-loathing.

I probably did mean to say "homophobic" because I am pointing out that joking about something that someone is uncomfortable with is useful when the person can change, not when the person cannot change. I did not go through the thread to see my original comment and how it didn't make sense if that was the word I intended to use. Should I?

I’m point it it out as weird, but honestly, I don’t care. I answered to both possible options so we don't get caught up in it.

What I will say is that I have spent the last hour realizing that I was wrong that I don't think dis-ability jokes can be useful. Because the important part can change, which is how a person feels about the situation that person is in. And a person's self-perception is not a plight. So I was wrong about that. Actually I think this highlighted my own fear of dis-ability and having this discussion made that clearer to me.

To be refereed to right below:

Of course not! If anything you read made you think that I think I am, please consider re-reading it. I would not be rude enough to bother a stranger with my opinions or my "help!" But a friend, of course. Because being a therapist to a friend is part of friendship. And a potential friend? Of course. That means that if I am with someone I don't know well and I wish to get closer to that person I may offer my brand of "help" and if the person doesn't like it then I probably won't have to see much of that person again. If the person likes it then I have a new friend!

Here, and just above, you clearly express that you consider that your brand of exposure therapy is something that could be beneficial to others. You make qualifications about how far will you go to share this “medicine”, for sure, but you say it your self, you are willing to offer this help to people.

All I am saying to this is that if you want to be people’s therapist and administer them this exposure therapy using jokes that use something they are already made feel bad about as the punchline, also assume the responsibilities of a therapist.I literally don't want to stop you from making the jokes you want to make.

Who cares how something I say is perceived? I guess the perceiver cares. I don't. The things I am responsible for are (a) is it my place to comment here? (b) do I want to comment? The rest is up to the listeners.

You are answering to something else here I think. My comment there was about a hypothetical society where homophobia doesn’t exist. There, maybe these jokes do not have the issues that we are discussing here. I added that disclaimer because honestly, who knows? Talking about a world without homophobia is like talking about a world without mortality, or without scarcity. It’s an unknown, and I don’t want to make statements about how would the society be if those things were/become the case.

You seem to be responding in the context of this world we have right now, and taking it to be about the one who makes the joke and the one who reacts to the joke.

Please re-read what I wrote. Nowhere did I say that it is appropriate in all situations to make jokes like the ones we're talking about, or that I am entitled to make them to strangers, or that I am even entitled to speak to just anyone Certainly I am not and if people speak to me out of turn they have a way of getting slapped into place.

I am discussing the mechanics of those jokes, not suggesting that they be used everywhere or anytime some person wants. That is a completely different subject and I do not know how or why you've conflated them. I don't think it was malicious but it is dangerous (in an intellectual sense.)

I don’t think I am. I accepted that you make qualifications about when you think it’s okay for you to use these jokes. But whenever you do it, those jokes are not therapeutic in the way you sketched out, nor they work in the way you claim they work in.

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parshuram wrote

not funny, bad quality, bad fonts. but you are good, idk why you do such things unconsciously and apologize later.

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Copenhagen_Bram wrote

I've said stupid things and apologized later

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parshuram wrote

me too. i meant like so frequently.

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Copenhagen_Bram wrote (edited )

Back when I was okay with using proprietary websites and 92% free distros such as Arch, I was admin of an Arch themed discord 'server'. I let some others mod it. One day I decided I wanted it all to myself and unmodded them all. Everybody was pissed, and demanded I hand over 'server' ownership to one of the previous mods. I sucked it up and did it. Later I stopped using Discord and switched to Parabola.

But recently I've rejoined that community (as an idler mostly lol), because they bridged it to IRC, on a server which is bridged to Matrix, and you can join us at https://chat.disroot.org/#/room/#_rizon_#nixnest:matrix.org

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sudo wrote

I believe the "Gothic" font was used intentionally. Nazis used to love that type of font.

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ConnieCommie wrote

that meme's not nazi.

it's miseducated liberal, yes, but they're not nazis.

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sudo wrote

Obviously. I meant that the creator of the meme chose to use the Gothic font because it's a Nazi talking in the meme, and the original Nazis loved the Gothic font.

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Fossidarity wrote

You're trolling right?

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ConnieCommie wrote

no? i'm saying a meme calling police gay for trump is the same kind of shit your boomer liberal grandma would post, not something posted by nazis

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F3nd0 wrote

Curious question: In what way is the meme homophobic?

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Pop wrote

in short, its framing locates cocksucking and cum drinking (by men in particular) as a bad thing

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F3nd0 wrote

I see! I would see the negativity as coming from the people involved (Trump and police), and the acts themselves as simply conveying submission. I guess I can see how others have interpreted it now though; thanks!

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md_ wrote

and the acts themselves as simply conveying submission

Of course, that's part of why we find it problematic: associating certain sex acts that are robustly associated with women and gay men with submissiveness (in a non-BDSM sense of the term), ultimately hinges on the subconscious idea that women and gay men are in some way less worthy because of their sexuality.

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selver wrote (edited )

Well you can't be woke unless you think blowing Trump would be cool & empowering.

People have a problem with gay sexual acts being used in a derogatory way, it can be homophobic.

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F3nd0 wrote (edited )

I'm a bit unsure about the meaning of that. Are you saying I couldn't be woke, or is the meme? And how does it relate to homophobia?

EDIT: I see where you're coming from now; thanks!

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selver wrote (edited )

The argument is that saying right wingers want to blow Trump is homophobic as it associates gay sex with being weak, bad, etc.

I was being sarcastic cause I don't really like that argument.

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Pop wrote

nobody here thinks that blowing trump would be cool or empowering...

with a name like selver you must have read the dispossessed

do you remember how in that world sexual-related swearing/insults etc just didn't exist?

it's the superstructure of homophobia that makes that insult as 'effective' as it is

if you rewrote the same thing to replace the homosexual stuff, the stuff you would be replacing it with to make an effective translation would imply submissiveness and lackeyness and weakness and otherness/grossness

and so those are the implicit features of that sex in this meme's presentation, or no?

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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md_ wrote

And it works because for tons of people, blowing someone is related to submissiveness in a sense. Not because they are oppressed, but because they like it, it's what turns them on.

I still think you are skipping a step. Assuming your series of associations: for the joke to be funny, submissiveness needs to be "a bad thing". Somehow shameful in some way.

Far better slogan in my opinion, and one we use on the rock I inhabit: "No Sex With Nationalists". Sex is a good thing, and we refuse it to nationalists because not-fuck those guys!