THE BLOG

Being Awesome Is For Fags

11/10/2011 01:48 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

The following blog contains language that suggests violence against Brett Ratner for the sake of making a comedic point. I am not actually advocating any physical harm to come to him or anyone.

* * * * *

Rehearsals, it seems are for fags.

Last Friday, at a Q&A after a screening, Tower Heist director Brett Ratner was asked how he rehearsed his actors. "Rehearsals are for fags," he countered.

Touché, Mr. Ratner. It seems that while rehearsals are for fags, well-crafted bons mots are open to all.

Mr. Ratner has now begun the parade of contrition that occurs after every time a celebrity gets caught saying the sort of thing they say in private all the time, and have to let us know they're not really bigots. Tracy Morgan, Jo Koy, and Kobe Bryant have all engaged in recent similar "not a prejudiced bone in my body" campaigns. Mel Gibson, it would seem, is on one permanently.

And Brett had some real consequences: he doesn't get to produce the Oscars anymore. Some might construe this as the tyrannical gay mafia punishing a man for an ill-chosen word, but I think it's pretty great. The Oscars are the gay Super Bowl, a perfect storm of hair, dresses, choreography, actresses over 50 and people crying in the good way. It's what we live for. Letting Brett Ratner produce the Oscars would be like letting Rick Perry produce the NAACP Image Awards.

But this is part of a larger problem. People are still saying "gay" like it's a bad thing. We all know how and why Brett Ratner used the word "fag." He did it to bolster his own identity as a badass action director and fucker of hot bitches, to help us forget that he is, in actuality, a chubby, upper-middle-class, white boy from Florida. One would have hoped that Mr. Ratner would have consumed enough blow and bitches, arranged for enough cars to be blown up and guested on enough episodes of Entourage in his life to have solidly settled the question of his masculinity. One would be wrong.

The stereotype of gay guys as weak and inconsequential is outdated. It is, fundamentally, misogynistic, in that it implies that a guy who behaves like a woman (enjoying romcoms and tasting penises) is pathetic. It also ignores the very present truth that most gay men are beastly collections of muscle and rage. Please remember that gay soldier from the Republican primary debates with biceps the size of coconuts. Rehearsals may be for fags, but clearly, so are curls. Finally, Ratner is ignoring the fact that gay men do things for fun that would make him faint. Nothing's more gangster than having a penis in your face and liking it.

Using the words "gay" or "fag" to mean bad is never not offensive. For young kids realizing they're gay, there's a terrifying process of realizing you belong to a group that has been criminalized and reviled for most of history. It's hard, and it leads to a lot of kids hating themselves, hiding who they are, and, in many cases, committing suicide because they fear their own existence. You can insist that saying "that's so gay" is harmless, and you can insist that when you say "that's for fags," you don't actually mean gay people, but what you're really doing is being mean to a 13-year-old who fears that his parents will never love him.

The answer is simple. Gay people need to beat up Brett Ratner. For a long time we've quietly sat by while people talk smack about us, because we don't want to seem annoying or humorless. But gay folks just trying to be cool and fit in has perpetuated this notion that we're weak and lame. Costing Brett the Oscars won't earn us his respect, but getting smacked might.

Or maybe Brett Ratner's respect isn't a thing we should be looking for. Maybe anyone who makes fun of a marginalized and discriminated-against group of people to prove himself is kind of pathetic. Maybe we all just need to agree that things that are for fags are cool. Rehearsals are for fags like Ian McKellen and Nathan Lane. Producing the Oscars is for fags like Bruce Cohen and Adam Shankman. And directing good X-Men movies is for fags like Bryan Singer.

Maybe if Brett Ratner had sex with a man, he could figure out how to get a decent performance out of Halle Berry.

For another take on the Ratner controversy, see Jeffery Self's blog post.