Fans of La Brigada Jogo know that we are not terribly impressed by European claims to superiority over Americans -- especially moral superiority. European moral failure, past and present (and from all indications, well into the future) is so enormous that it would take a lot of evidence to convince us that, all things considered, Europe is even slightly more advanced than we are.
But we must say, while reading The Observer this morning, we were impressed by something that popped out at us from an article titled "Fallen City star claims gay bigotry," about a man who alleges that unrelenting homophobia at Deutsche Bank, his employer, caused him so much distress that he has become seriously ill, clinically depressed and suicidal.
The man, Sid Saeed, says he was called a "fucking fag," and that one of his managers, who was aware of his sexuality, talked openly about "shit stabbers."
We know this because The Observer printed it, word for word. An American paper would not have done so -- even today when what Americans call "four-letter words" are routine and unremarkable in the conversations of almost all people, educated and not, in all sorts of company, polite and otherwise, and in almost every social situation.
Not only do American media not print or speak these words, they are unlikely to do so in our lifetime or even fifty years from now. That's really stupid, but there is nothing anyone can do about it because these prohibitions are deeply installed in The Split (which is what we call the irrational space between what is actually so and what is publically admitted to be so).
Of course every society has its version of The Split. It is not possible for any society to exist without Split of some kind. It is just that this particular one is very annoying, and really has no good or useful purpose; quite the contrary actually.
However, none the above should be taken to mean that we think anything goes in the public domain. We do not think that. For example, everyone got that Janet Jackson breast-business completely wrong. It was not an issue of "breast prudery." Her costume did not "fail" out of nowhere. It "failed" because the dance number being done at that moment by her and Justin Timberlake was miming a man ripping a woman's blouse off. This imagery -- more than slightly suggestive of sexual violence -- is not appropriate for family-day entertainment like the Super Bowl halftime show.
So that's the root cause of why Janet Jackson's breast became exposed. Liberal social critics cannot see it because they're aesthetically shallow, dialectically programmed, and too invested in showing how we're a bunch of hicks over here. Boy, are they wrong. And boy, are they gonna lose another election if leftist intellectuals don't start being honest.
Monday, February 21, 2005
Four-letter words: a view from America