Some singer and rapper named Azealia Banks called some underemployed gossip monger named Perez Hilton a faggot on twitter. I wasn’t offended by use of the word, so much as disappointed that she couldn’t come up with anything more creative.
It all started when this happened:
I didn’t see it happen. I don’t follow “Azealia Banks”. I didn’t even know who she was until my own Twitter feed started blowing up with people talking about this. People were giving her heat, and she felt the need to explain what she meant: it wasn’t really a slam against gay people. Just against effeminate guys. *facepalm*
It is a typical case where the “explanation” of something offensive just makes it worse. That’s when I jumped in, as you can see. I’m sure many others made exactly the same point, because at some point she clarified again, saying that when she said “female” what she should have said was “cunt”.
Now here is the weird thing: I agree with the spirit of what she was trying to say. Or at least, I agree with what I believe she was trying to say. Perez Hilton is one of the most despicable pieces of trash in our “entertainment” world. When someone whom I know says that he “likes” Perez Hilton (whatever that even means), I can’t help but respect that friend a little less.
But that is why something like Azealia Banks’s tweet just makes me sad and disappointed. With all of the things that one could say about a person like Perez Hilton, why choose that?
A number of people, predictably, took the position: “Why not use that?” Or the ever-popular: “I’m a privileged white male I should be allowed to say any word I want to say, nyah nyah! What about freedom and stuff??” Like this tweet:
Here is my take on that kind of response. If you want to insult someone, then use words that insult that person, not a whole group of people who also, incidentally, happen to be fighting to get equal rights in our society.
Azealia, I’m going to talk directly to you for a moment.
Aren’t you a lyricist and a rapper? Don’t you work with words for a living?
Forget about offensiveness—after all, who cares? You’ll always offend somebody with something.
But the word “faggot” is just about the most uninspired, uncreative insult I can possibly imagine for a person like Perez Hilton.
The question isn’t really whether you are allowed to say “faggot”. The question is why you would want to. It’s lame. It’s trailer. It’s grade school.
The English language is a vast and rich and complex and amazing tool, as any rapper knows. It is filled with color and nuance and metaphor and imagery and fine shades of meaning.
If you want to insult Perez Hilton, there are so many things you could say.
You can get metaphorical. Perez Hilton is a bottom-feeder. Perez Hilton is a virus. Perez Hilton is a month old used douche that someone forgot to throw in the trashcan. Perez Hilton has the face of a late-term abortion. Perez Hilton is a puss-filled cyst that leaves a trail of ooze as he wipes his ass along the ground.
You don’t always have to be crass, though. For example, he’s stupid. There are a number of creative ways you could just describe his stupidity. Perez Hilton is a peckerhead. Perez Hilton has a room temperature IQ. Perez Hilton dumber than a box of hair. Perez Hilton has too much yardage between the goal posts. Perez Hilton’s wit is as quick as a cat running on ice. Perez Hilton is suffering a crop failure. Perez Hilton is officer material.
You could take a cue from Monty Python and go for being funny and insulting at the same time. Perez Hilton is a snotty-faced heap of parrot droppings. Perez Hilton is a gob. Perez Hilton is a git. Perez Hilton is a vacuous, coffee-nosed, malodorous pervert.
You might even want to try insults that actually address his career. Perez Hilton is a failed actor. Perez Hilton is a failed activist. Perez Hilton is a bully. Perez Hilton is for entertainment what Sarah Palin is for politics.
You could even class it up a little and use some of Shakespeare’s favorite insults: Perez Hilton is an untutored churl. Perez Hilton is a rank weed. Perez Hilton is an unlettered small-knowing soul. Perez Hilton is an odoriferous stench. Perez Hilton is a dilatory sloth. Perez Hilton is an improvident flea. Perez Hilton is a roastmeat of worms. Perez Hilton is a mad mustachio’d purple-hued maltworm. Perez Hilton is a prick-eared cur. Perez Hilton is a ronyon. Perez Hilton is a princox.
This only begins to scratch the surface.
The English language is an amazing and beautiful and complex thing. It has more variety than most people imagine. So stop being so linguistically lazy and USE IT!
If you honestly feel limited because somebody tells you not to use a particular word, all it means is that your vocabulary is too small.