Details magazine just came out today with their annual Power 50, a list of not only powerful individuals but also powerful trends in the United States.
I found it interesting that in the top 10, number 9 to be precise, was the F-word. Not my favorite f-word that is always coming out of my mouth at the most inappropriate times, but the word "faggot."
I hate the word faggot. I also hate lezzy. But I hate the word faggot. In June, I sat and watch a privileged, straight, middle-aged white man call a gay man a "faggot" and think it was funny.
He thought, because he was his "friend" he could call him a faggot. The truth is, it was as ugly as calling a black man a nigger. Except when I registered my horror, I was told to sit down and be quiet. It wasn't meant to be hurtful.
The same man, I know, uses the word nigger, only in private moments. He's careful to choose his company with that word because there is global horror around it. Faggot? Never occurred to him to keep that one in.
There are only few words that I have told my kids are absolutely forbidden in this house. Saying a swear word costs you a dollar, goes in a jar that gets donated to a social change organization (never charity). I have a mouth like a sailor, what do I expect? But if you say "nigger?" or "faggot" or "lezzy: in my house? Not only are you going to sit and listen to a very very long lecture about how those words help celebrate and rationalize hateful bigotry, you are going to listen to me explain how it felt to have "lezzy" scrawled in marker on my college dorm room door. How humiliating and frightening it was.
A friend of Jeanine's, who lives in Texas, reported that once when a man was trying to spit something angry at her called her a "faggot girl."
Clearly he didn't know the word "lezzy."
Details is right on in their list. Between Larry Craig's antics, and the long list of right wing nightmare politicians who also engaged in "Do me in the bathroom and I'll Do you on the Senate floor," screwing men for pleasure and then screwing them politically for votes, the word faggot got a lot of action this year.
The age-old taunt continues to haunt us, and not as a sign of power but as a weakness that brings powerful men to their knees.
So to speak.
The full list tackles more than the Time magazine "Man of Year" -- zzzzz -- stuff. It includes some painful reminders- #2- "The Surge (average age: 27): What do you call 20,000 soldiers sent off to fight a war that's long since been lost? George W. Bush calls it The Surge, conveying power, momentum, and impermanence."
And some ridiculous irony, like #7 Good Fathers: Kevin Federline and Larry Birkhead (ages: 29 and 34): Meet America's new parental role models. We all expected Federline and Birkhead to crash and burn as fathers. Instead, by being more visible presences in their children's lives than many Hollywood A-listers, they emerged as unlikely candidates for Dad of the Year."
The F-word has had a comeback. I'm not sure it's anything to celebrate.