Follow Up on Louis CK/”Faggot” and Many Court Decisions

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Hey everybody. It’s 8:33 PM EST as I start this post and it’s turning out to be a most exciting evening. Already we had two rulings out of Massachusetts that DOMA is unconstitutional. I’m going to be reviewing those two decisions and getting posts up later tonight and tomorrow for each.

We also just got word that we can expect the Prop 8 decision by the top of the hour.  That will be most exciting, and I’ll get to work on reading it too. Knowing how much testimony there was, the decision might be lengthy. I will be doing a lot of work in the coming hours. 🙂  This turned out to be a false alarm!

In the meantime, I wanted to follow up on my post the other day about the new FX show Louie and the poker-table conversation about the word “faggot.”

Louis C.K. was on NPR’s Fresh Air and talked at length about that scene and LGBT issues in general. The whole interview is really a great listen.

Fresh Air: Louis C.K. (7/7/10)

A lot people commented that the whole “burning” story isn’t known for sure to be the true etymology for how “faggot” is used today, and I loved how Louis addresses this in the interview:

I don’t know, and I’ve actually read things online where people are saying that’s not accurate. I don’t think it matters. I love that on all sorts of websites and gay blogs and stuff that this scene has sort of, like, stirred up conversation, which I think is just healthy.

And this scene is about a guy who believes that to be the true origin of the word, and it’s about his feelings about it and what impact it has on me.

If it’s not the real explanation of the word faggot, I don’t think it matters. The point of the scene isn’t to be accurate. It’s not a news show. It’s an exchange between characters.

I’m inclined to agree. Even if we cannot demonstrate the validity of the story, I think it’s an important description because it still effectively captures the power of the word. It might be more metaphorical than etymological, but I think that’s okay.

I also want to share something else Louis shares that I think fits in with all the conversation on my post yesterday and also on today’s Queer and Queerer. He talks about what gay men have to go through to be comfortable with their sexuality and how heterosexual men do not go through that:

And it’s funny because, you know, gay men have to – they’re put sort of a crucible. And I’m speak–you know, it’s not – I’m just taking liberty in saying this. Gay men have to go through something to own their – who they are. They get beat up. They get ostracized. Whatever they go through, if they survive it, they come out very confident people.

They come out having been tested and having to really figure out who they are to get through it, because I think that’s how you get through any kind of a test is by really finding your strengths and believing in yourself. So a lot of gay people who are still standing and still strong, that’s who they are.

Heterosexual men have never been put through that test. We don’t get -nobody goes, oh, my God, you like women? And you don’t have to defend it for your whole life. So we’re not so sure about our sexuality. I think that’s one reason why heterosexual men attack gay people or are afraid of them because they’re now confident and they’ve gone through this, but we don’t know who we are sexually. We’re a mess. So I think that that’s why the two sides of the sexual barrier is such an interesting – it’s such an interesting conflict.

I think Louis CK is a pretty smart guy, so definitely listen to the interview if you get a chance.

Stay tuned for several posts in a row with analysis of all today’s decisions related to same-sex marriage!

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