Sunday, July 11, 2010

Wanna See Something Funny?

Well, if you want to see something funny you better skip this post. Maybe try looking for "funny pictures of cats" on Google.

Many people travel quite far for the pleasure of shopping in Central London. Perhaps it's my general dislike of shopping (I know, I'm so bad at being gay it's not even funny), it could be the fact that I live in London for thirteen years now or it could simply be the fact that I hate people (readers of my blog and my son excluded). 

So as luck would have it on Thursday I found myself wandering around Covent Garden in the icky heat amongst lots of tourists. The plan was brilliantly simple: drive for some yummy Dim Sum and then go food shopping and straight back home. But as the three of us left the Dim Sum place my better half remembered that he needed some shirts and so started our tour of the clothes shops in Covent Garden which is practically next door to China Town. Blake didn't like being indoors so I waited with him outside to look at cars. Well, he looked at cars and I fiddled with my iPhone 4 (which is so ancient now, like what, two weeks old?).

I had the joy of passing this t-shirt stall. You know, the type of t-shirts you see on sale everywhere, but you don't actually see anyone tasteless enough to wear them in public. 

"Haha, look I got you this funny t-shirt."

"Haha. Thanks! It is funny. Let me stick it in the back of the closet. Or the rubbish bin."

The hilarity and wit are mind blowing. Guy putting a gun to his head because he's getting married. "If you see the police, warn-a-brother", "no, I'm not on f***ing Facebook". Etc. Etc. Nothing new. I saw tons of them on Venice Beach when we visit LA in april.

One shirt did catch my attention. It's the one in the middle, top row. You might need to click on the picture to see it properly. It says "this man likes cock" with a finger pointing to the person on the right. Can you imagine the comedic possibilities? You can stand next to someone while wearing this shirt and have a friend quickly take a photo. Hahaha! Amazing! It's funny because who likes cock? Girls and gays, both are bad things to be compared to. How very humiliating!

Can you imagine a similar shirt mocking someone because he was a "towelhead" to mock muslims or the N word to mock blacks? I don't think that shirt would've lasted long on that display. But it's OK to display homophobic "humour" in broad day light in the middle of London.

I don't think it's funny at all and I'm sure that a closeted gay teen, just like I was, would be very upset to see something like that in the middle of the street. Grown up married with kid me just gets annoyed and whines about it on his blog. Yay for progress!



J and A said...

I think these shirts are all the rage in Benidorm...

Mark said...

I am so glad that I'm excluded from your hatred of people. I was worried there for a sec. Anyway, I didn't even know that Brits wore logo t-shirts. I thought us Americans were the only ones. I don't feel so special anymore. I guess that you are right about the fact that it's allowable to put down Gays. I wonder if I've grown to not even notice it any longer? I've been doing this "Gay" thing for quite some time now you know. Let me tell you this, if you wore that shirt and I stood to the right of you, I wouldn't be offended. How could I be? It's the truth!
Your Friend, m.

Mickey said...

What a coincidence! So am I! In fact many straight women and gay man like that too! You can even say that most straight men like at least one of those - their own.

The problem lies in the fact that it is MEANT to be an insult.

.jon said...

You are right on. But as a minority group, I've always felt that members of the gay "tribe" can be very self-absorbed and independent at times and not particularly group conscious like other minority groups. Until we reach that level of awareness and are able to mobilize and become a formidable political force (and why not there are millions and millions just in the US alone) we will always be a scapegoat and victims of the broader mainstream culture. In the US, for example, we have replaced African-Americans as the target group of the intolerants, simply because the African Americans can no longer be discriminated against or attacked in any way publicly given their protected status (Civil Rights legislation of the 1960's) The gay community does not have any similar protection at the Federal level; it's perfectly OK in many areas of the country to fire someone or deny them housing if you are a homophobic employer or landlord. But rest assured once we get that protection - eventually - there will be another group who will take our place, it's just that right now we happen to be in that hotseat.
Sadly, my only concern with our need for a greater level of group cohesion and common purpose is that it's a process that requires time and usually results after generations and perhaps centuries of an evolving group identity including a history of accomplishments and sufferings that defines the group. We as a group are no where near that, in my opinion at least, even tho just 20 years ago we were on the brink of group extinction. When we use the term "gay" in my mind it's really an umbrella of sub-cultures - everything from very liberal, flamboyant drag queens to religous, Log Cabin, domesticated, child-rearing suburbanites and everything in between - who ordinarily have nothing in common other than the fact that sexually we prefer members of their own gender. I have to say from personal experience, I have met countless gays who would rather take advice from the straight person next door who has absolutely nothing in common with them than the gay person just two doors down who shares the same path as they do. But that's a whole 'nother thread; there are always those in a group who will defy Groupthink at all costs and pave their own ways even if it's contrary to their best interests (or the interests of their group)
Tough bridge to gap for sure but a lot of the groundwork has already been laid (no pun intended), so perhaps the next generation will find themselves identifying more easily as part of a very proud and powerful group/sub-culture.

ailaG said...

GAH. I play World of Warcraft on an American server (don't ask..) and over there "gay" is a common synonym to "wrong", "bad", "failure", etc. Drives me nuts. They use it all the time!
And when I say that it's offensive nobody thinks that that might be a bad thing. Offensive to who, homos?

One time I made a remark about that, and one person in the group jokingly started fearing me because he deduced that I must be a gay guy (and that's scary!). Why else would I think offending gay people is bad?

And you know what?
I was in a WoW guild with some kid from Texas a while ago, he said that over there they use the word "Jewish" in the same context.

This is both scary and sad.

(BTW, I found a couple of good geeky t-shirts in that market on Covent Garden square, but just a couple. A few more in Spittalfields market. But it's hard to find them amongst all these lame ones)