where nicster rants on issues of local interest, global interest and of absolutely no interest at all...

Monday, August 01, 2005

Malaysian Idol and the Faggot story

I was just about to come out of my 'too busy to blog' phase for a short comment on Malaysian Idol. I was going to 'blog scream' at voting Malaysians for voting out Atilia and Tricia. Technically, you can't vote someone out - you just didn't give Atilia and Tricia enough votes. I think basically what happened was the AF Phenomenon. For those not in the know, Akademi Fantasia actually tells you the voting percetage for each contestant at the beginning of the show - so sympathy votes would count for a lot.

For the first time in Malaysian Idol history (at least that serves my memory), predictions were made at the last minute by judges just before voting ended. Just before a commercials break, Roslan Aziz spoke of how he thought Ejay and Ash were definitely doomed. The lines closed when the break ended. A couple of minutes - just enough for last minute votes.

My theory is that Atilia and Tricia, while having probably the best vocals in the whole competition, were not runaway favourites. Rocker Orang Kampung had won the hearts of many, Nita and Xerra are no doubt the most experienced and relaxed, Daniel (for reasons unknown to me) is seen as cute. So they all probably had the most votes anyway. But I am dissapointed that Atilia and Tricia has been voted out - they're not my favourites but I was so looking forward to being entertained by them next week.

But enough about my theories, I was about to come on here to blog when I visited PPS to see if anyone else had blogged and to see what their thoughts were. Maybe these people had other theories why the voting happened the way it is. I only found one blog that did.

There might have been more but I was so enraged by what I read that I didn't go any further. I left a comment on her blog though before heading here.

In her anger about how the voting went, the blogger ranted about her sadness and dissapointing with the voting public. Then she did it... and I quote:

"faggots and fuckers, shut up! you may think ash should be there but i don't give a damn..."

She then goes on: "i have my own opinion and this is my blog. again...this is my blog. i write what i like."

While I have always been a proponent of free speech and all, and I believe everyone should be allowed to believe whatever they want, I took terrible offense to that first statement. I know this may sound contradictory but like with racism and sexism etc, I believe the line to free speech stops when terms are used in a deragatory fashion, and which can incite hate.

Now, a term like 'faggot' may seem innocent enough to many people. But when used in the fit of anger or rage, implies negative connotations. The worse thing is, in all the definitions of the term faggot, none has been positive.

No one knows exactly when the term faggot was used to refer to homosexuals males.

One theory goes back centuries, to the days when heretics where burned at the stakes. Faggots, by literal definition, means a bundle of sticks. Many believe that the term was labled to homosexuals because when burned at the stack, the townpeople were given faggots (the sticks) to keep the fire going. Another story says that homosexuals who were to be burned had to carry their own bundles to their own executions.

Another theory comes from the 19th century when the term faggot was used in reference to ill-tempered woman (maybe a woman scorned is like adding more sticks to a fire - the rage gets bigger). A theorist said that the term then started being used in the 20th century to refer to men who dress like women (tranvestites, cross dressers etc). It is the common assumption (and not fact) that all men who dress like women are gay, that the term stuck.

There are many more stories, some ridiculous, some plausible, some not. I don't know. All I know is that of all the stories I've heard and read about, they all are used to refer to gay men in a deragatory manner.

And this is not a good thing.

Now, you can argue with me all you want that using a negative word could incite hate. Well, tell that to the hundreds (or maybe thousands of unreported deaths and attacks) of gay men around the world who have been victims (both physical and emotional) of homophobia. Ask them how many times they have heard the word 'faggot' shouted in their faces as they were abused.

The fact of the matter is, no word that can incite hate - whether homophobia, sexism, racism or whatever else - should be used in such casual manner. And better still, words like this should not be even used at all.

And if you were to argue that these words only come out in fits of rage and moments of lack of control, I would then ask you... What will happen when your feelings are more intense. What else are you capable of doing then, that you will say you're not capable of doing with a rational mind?

So say what you like. Who am I to stop you? But (and please excuse the dramatics) if anyone was to get hurt in whatever way from your comment, then you have their blood on your hands.