If you don’t want somebody driving, then don’t give him the keys. If you gave somebody the keys, don’t complain about why and where they are driving.
So Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers was fined 75K for his use of a “homophobic” slur. What are we to make of this? The issue is not whether Hibbert has bad manners, or whether he has a potty mouth, or whether our mothers ought to let us play with him anymore.
If your reaction was something like “how could he have said something so thoughtless and offensive?” then you can stick a fork in your worldview conscience — it’s almost done. That is not the question at all. I have no wonderment at all over why professional athletes say and do offensive things. My question is this — who is in charge of what language counts as offensive? Who is in charge of this, and more to the point, why are they in charge?
We should understand by now the inescapability of all societal discipline — all together now, not whether but which. The issue is not whether we will have speech codes, but rather which speech codes we will have. But if we will have societal speech codes, how does one get appointed to the inviso-board that determines that the word homo can cost you upwards of 75K? And that’s with the groveling apology. I mean, that’s almost 19K a letter.
To answer the question, a true thumbsucker, we have to dig a little deeper. There is another related inescapable concept in addition to the one about speech codes, and it is the one that answers the question just posed.
Justification is another inescapable concept. Every society has a group within it that is justified — righteousness is imputed to it. And every society has a group that is unjustified — a group that can be dumped on with impunity. Righteousness and unrighteousness are categories we cannot do without — we must have bad guys and good guys. Which will it be? Those who do homo, or those who say homo?
Conservatives who made the mistake of accepting the myth of secular neutrality are the most befuddled by this. Night after night, they complain to the studio cameras down at Fox News. They are constantly pointing out the double standard in how liberals and conservatives are treated, and it would almost be cute if it were not so sad. Having typed that last phrase, I have changed my mind. It would almost be sad if it were not so cute.
They point out the double standard with the endearing expectation that the person they are talking to will suddenly see it, look startled for a moment, and then say, “Oh, dear. I see what you mean. Nobody would ever get fined anything for calling Jeremy Lin a Jesus freak.”
In our secular society, this expectation of fair play between a member of the justified group and one from an unjustified group is like going to Calcutta in the 19th century, and trying to take an untouchable garbage collector into the swankiest Brahman Bistro you could find.
A double standard on such matters does not mean the system has broken down — it means the system is working as designed. Whether the system is good or evil is defined (by God) on the basis of who we have placed in the justified group. We will have a justified group, and they will define for us what is socially offensive and what is not. That definition will either line up with what God thinks (and with the way the world is), or it will not. If it does not line up, as in our day it most certainly does not, then there is very little to do other than to grab a fistful of your hair with each hand, and spend every moment of the evening news wrenching at your head.
If the king chases all lawless men away from his court, the people rejoice. If the king has a bunch of homos there — and the present writer looks warily overhead for the sight of any approaching drones — then the prevailing speech codes will reflect it. One of these days I may have to take up a PayPay collection so that you all can help me pay my 75K fine . . . I mean my Free Speech Blog License Subsidy Fee. Fee speech, not free speech.
What should our response to all of this be? First, we need to cultivate enough sense to notice that we are being policed. It begins negatively, with things you may not do or say. This is a slur, that is discriminatory business, and this sermon over here was a hate crime. From that point it moves on to an insistence on positive affirmation — an oath of allegiance is required. This has already happened at the Justice Department — sodomy must be affirmed, and not just not attacked. The third level involves the various shock therapies that have proven so effective in dealing with those hate nodes in the brain.
Whenever you are being policed, and the code you are being policed by is ungodly, and you become aware of what is happening, you need to make a point of putting your foot through the side of the whole thing. Don’t tell yourself that it “is not a big deal.” If it really were not a big deal, they wouldn’t be policing it, would they? They are policing it for a reason, and your job is to give them something to police. If they want to write tickets so much, then start parking by the hydrant.
The principle is easy enough to see. Who cares about Christmas trees at the county courthouse? The devil, apparently.
Now lest some tenderhearted Christians get the wrong idea here, I can imagine circumstances when slurs directed against homosexuals would be entirely uncharitable to use. Of course. But the Bible should be our guide in all that, and not the queens of drama. Whether or not homo is okay to use should not be determined by word mechanics who have allowed themselves to become . . . what’s the word I am looking for? . . . homogenized, that’s it. So while we are here, this entirely workable word homo should never be counted as a slur — it’s an abbreviation, for pity’s sake, an exercise in verbal economy. It shows admirable restraint. Just like me.
It is also a prohibited term in the official Vichy Vocabulary Form Book, a fact that I shall make a point of remembering.