One of the web’s very best, Joe Jervis of Joe. My. God. has been blogging for over eight years, and has built a loyal and lively readership. Unlike many queer sites which strive to create safe spaces for their readers, JMG operates more like a free zone. The unmoderated comments section is always entertaining, informative and challenging…and often offensive. This is a good thing. Debate is healthy. Covering up rot just breeds more rot. And we’ve all got our rotten elements. Air helps dissipate the stink.
Joe published a rant in 2006 in which he talked back to the ‘normal’ gay people who want to rid pride parades of ‘defectives’ – those nice folks who discuss “how we might go about ‘discouraging’ certain ‘elements’ from taking part in the parades.” We all know who the elements are. Joe’s nice gays spell it out: “Why must all the coverage be drag queens and leather freaks in assless chaps?” The more outre the image, the better the press.
Of course, freaks have always made for good spectacle. The ancient Romans even bought and sold deformed human slaves at specialty ‘monstrosity markets.’ We no longer generally buy and sell living human bodies, but we do trade in representations of those bodies: images, words, memes. We deal in abstracts: Semiotic Weaponry – wars of words. Violence is inherent in communication. We undo and remake one another with our choice of words, appearance and other social signifiers. We attract and repulse one another. Vanillas might be put off by Leather’s overt sexuality and we might gag on their cologne. Punks and preps trade shade. We insult each other on purpose and accidentally. Dykes can see patriarchal oppression in a nice basket, and few gay men want to look at naked jiggling double D-cups – even with those little pieces of electrical tape over the nipples. One guy’s hot hairy bear is another’s disgusting old fat man. You think that intersex or trans boy is an attractive man? The guy next to you might think she’s a stupid self-deluding bitch. Feelings are real, but they are not facts. We can modify our interactions to minimize psychic damage, but the potential to offend others with our particular “defects,” or to participate in a particular ideology by our presence, will always be there. Only solitude and silence guarantee against this. We can stake out a spot on the mountaintop or disappear into the depths of a shimmering nishikigoi pond. Not a bad plan for serious self-reflection, but eventually we just might want to rejoin the party. Maybe.
Joe continues: “I’m not worried what the outside world thinks about the drag queens, the topless bulldaggers, or the nearly naked leatherfolk. It’s OUR party, bitches. If you think that straight America would finally pull its homokinder to its star-spangled bosom once we put down that glitter gun, then you are seriously deluding yourself. Next year, if one of the Christian camera crews that show up to film our “debauched” celebrations happen to train their cameras on you, stop dancing. And start PRANCING.” For the rest of the rant, click here.