I was a hetero adolescent. I’m still a hetero, and in some ways, I’m afraid, I’m still a bit of an adolescent. But this isn’t about me. It’s about faggotry.
My own relationship with that most powerful, evocative word goes back to my early teens, when my buddies and I first experienced a visceral reaction to all its deviations - fag, f*ggot, and faggotry - and the awful behavior (to us) they insinuated. I was swept to the gut with revulsion at the idea that someone male would have a leering lust for my penis. The idea seemed utterly devoid of dignity and taste. Depraved, despicable.
It didn’t occur to me that my own pubescent lust for girls and their private parts was no less obsessive, no less wanton than the gay orientation. That insight came to me when I was few years older, when as a low-grade Marine, hitchhiking up and down the East Coast on weekends and often sleeping in bus stations, I frequently experienced the other side of unwanted advances from men. As if seeing myself in reflection, I realized I was, in essence, just a f*g for girls. Thereafter, fortunately I think, I developed an impediment in my own hetero version of sex-faggotry.
But I digress.
The etymology of faggotry, the conceptual seed, or sperm (if I may), as it was first inserted in our verbal intercourse, is something more base, existential, and not necessarily sexual. Some words just sound like they were made to express a thing or attribute. The word stink just sounds like a bad smell. The word f*g has come down to us from the distant past, and I think we feel it deep-down somehow. Unless we're English, it seems to epitomize human self-degradation in general, perversion forsaking virtue, for which sexual depravity is only an instance, and homosexuality only a diversionary target.
Homosexuals are, I think, no more, no less ignoble than heteros. Actually, in my own experience, they seem on the whole somewhat more dignified and sensitive than heteros. No, faggotry describes something more primal, a more fundamental flaw of character than any particular sexual preoccupation.
I’m struck most of all by the prevalence of actual faggotry in politics, and in the world of intrigue among political hangers-on. If anyone is a f*g, it would have to be Ann Coulter. Consider her depraved obsession with wealth and notoriety at the expense of everything dignified, true, and good: It’s faggotry, in the best sense of the word.
I’m not into name-calling. We might say someone is a philanthropist, not to call her a name (however nice), not just because she spends a lot of time and money on charitable or desperate causes, but because it’s her essential orientation in life. It defines her guiding light as a person. In just the same way, Rush Limbaugh is a f*g – not because he may have a special thing for young Dominican boys, but because of his slathering, debauched, degenerate dedication to spreading misdirection and misinformation for the sake of wealth, and for adulation from functional morons. The right-wing punditry, even the mainstream media, are abounding with fags. Bill O’Reilly, Melanie Morgan, Brit Hume, George Will: f*ggots all. Stand-up politicians who sacrifice the general welfare, and even lay waste to lives by the thousands, in slavish submission to greed and power-lust – now that’s faggotry. George Bush? It goes without saying. Dick Cheney? Well, what word could capture his especially venal, uniquely cheneyesque sort of faggotry? I haven’t discovered it yet. Karl Rove. Never mind his rumored affection for male prostitutes. Oh, Mitch McConnell is a definite f*g. He may even be gay. Orin Hatch? I think so – yes and yes. Bill Frist? Oh, yeah! Newt Gingrich? Don’t get me going. The Republican presidential candidates? What’s the word for a group of fags standing together onstage? A gaggle? A faggle? These are not philanthropists. No, these are fags. And the list could go on and on. Some Democrats could qualify of course, though not, I think, so quintessentially. I frankly don’t get the f*g-reference Coulter recently made about John Edwards. He seems like a gentleman, and a typically hetero sort of family man. Maybe she has trouble comprehending gentility.
The word f*g is uniquely powerful and highly evocative. We should take up Coulter’s inspiration and proclaim the essential-existential meaning the word actually expresses. We should identify, we should out true fags in their pride of faggotry. By the process of elimination, gays and lesbians, with normal, virtuous aspirations in life, could be discriminated and liberated from that most sordid identification.
A committed philanthropist deserves the epitaph philanthropist, in recognition of her life’s work and calling. A loving mother, a nice man, a good neighbor, an athlete, an artist, a musician, a scientist, a philosopher – these are defining dedications, titles of recognition. A dedicated f*g deserves no less popular recognition, no less personal attention.