Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sexism Continued: George Carlin's Seven Words, MSNBC and Killjoys



When people talk about George Carlin and the seven words you can't say on television, the point of their argument is that censorship is wrong. Granted, but there are many sides to defend here. No one talks about the word "fuck" having a violent connotation within a sexual context which perverts sex into a hateful act, but they will argue it's stupid to ban a word that rhymes with duck. I don't believe in censorship (edited to add "although it depends"--just want to be clear I'm not for it in this particular case) (and there are some words you can't say on Japanese radio, but those words are very different from these English curse words), although I think we can make efforts to individually try to be sensitive in areas where people can feel hurt or scared. Those words: piss, cunt, tits, etc., mostly have to do with male projection from a not-so-nice mindframe, including curses directed towards women. Another argument is that the ban is not only unjust but elitist, a ban on so-called low class terms, like some people use the term "old lady" while some people (many women of a certain age, understandably) are offended and deem it unevolved. One can also argue making female body parts "dirty" and not male, such as "cock" being OK but not "cunt", and not "cocksucker", either, is also sexist. I think if these curses were racist terms, they would be treated differently by the people who cry freedom of speech. Sexism doesn't get the same level of serious treatment.

Does that mean I don't believe in cursing? No, damn it, and while I don't swear all that much in public, I'm not above using them nor do I judge those who do. But I can also see why people (perhaps, in particular, women) have a hard time with such words, perhaps less from a logical, reasonable and explainable standpoint and more from a feelings standpoint, which should be equally valid and respected because after all, feelings are part of our brains. So as always, I feel it's important to see all sides, and for people who oppose the ban on those words to gather all sides (not just two, either, which is typically male-minded and reductionist) of a situation before judging. Do you want to know what I couldn't say on Japanese radio? "Mania" and "crazy"--imagine that. Also, you can depict horrific violence against women in TV/ film and other mediums but you can't show an actual vagina. May George Carlin RIP.

The last time I tuned into MSNBC cable news before tonight was when I was watching Countdown, and the host of the day (the lawyer guy) was doing the Worst Persons list. One of them was a conservative who wanted to ban Maxim or some other men's magazine from an army base. The show basically put him on the list because as they saw it, there was nothing wrong with a bunch of guys looking at girly mags. Hey, they have a point: in England, men fight for the right to have their daily pleasure, the topless page 3 girl in their newspapers, and dare anyone talk against it, they're called Killjoys. It matters not that women get raped and told they look like the page 3 girl--those images couldn't possibly be causing any harm. Why doesn't everyone who gets injected with vaccines containing thimerosal develop autism, or why don't all smokers get lung cancer? Can we prove living near nuclear plants causes radiation disease (cancers) longterm? Porn isn't bad because not all men who like it are criminals. I guess this Worst Person was killing male joy, a sin in this world, even if some women might actually agree with the conservative guy's point of view, that porn, even soft porn, kills OUR joy. No one wants to see this topic reduced to right or wrong, because they won't have porn, a man's right to look at whoever they choose naked or half-naked, taken away. They'll go as far as to argue that Playboy photos are the same as fine art paintings. We're pictures on a wall. The problem is that women don't speak up, even if they're feeling deep down it's not exactly kosher. They stand on the principle that freedom of speech and expression is a right, because after all, all the smart liberal guys will turn on them if they don't make that the number one issue over any it's-not-sexism-if-it-doesn't offend-me-sexism.

Tonight on MSNBC, they were of course covering the new "marriage" between Senator Obama and Hillary aka "Clinton's wife". How many times did I cringe over their sexist comments during the primaries--for instance, that she was really nothing more than a president's wife, and that couldn't have been experienced enough to run a country, so hurry up and get out of the race? If the roles were reversed, I don't think they would have been rushing Obama to get out of the race to hurry up and let Hillary win. I expect sexism from right wing media but from left wing, too? So, which channel do I turn on? But whatever--it's time now to focus on Obama who I'm happy to see become the first African-American president of the United States. He'll be running against McCain who might succeed at overturning Roe v. Wade, so, even with barely scabbed-over wounded feelings, I might be watching more of cable news again.