Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Identity Politics: Twitter Fight!

Yesterday I saw one of those classic moment where lefties scream about discrimination and then ends up with egg on their face. The back and forth was between Benny Austwick (@TheRightStudent), a CF chairman, and Tim Ireland (@Bloggerheads) and it went like this.
TheRightStudent: Just realised something...Mandelson is a 'gaylord' lol
Bloggerheads: @TheRightStudent Just realised something... you're a homophobic tool.
TRS: @bloggerheads Homophobic? Being gay, I didn't think that was possible. I'm Mandelsonphobic though - that's not irrational however.
BH: @TheRightStudent It is, as it happens. Irrationality is like that.
TRS: @bloggerheads I have an irrational fear of myself? Wow, you're better at psychiatry than Draper!
BH: @TheRightStudent You're the only gay person in the vi.. world?
TRS: @bloggerheads Calling Mandelson a Gay Lord is a fact, though. My attempt at light humour fails on lefties.
BH: @TheRightStudent PS - I'll take it back if you like; maybe you just don't give a damn about any of the collateral damage your labels cause.
Now, besides the fact that someone got made to look an idiot when it turned out that Benny and man love are 'bedfellows' as it were, it's the closing comment that struck me as telling.

What we have here is someone telling someone else what language they are allowed to use about themselves, a speech crime if you will, because it may upset or influence others. I wonder though if they'd be equally brave enough to walk into South Central and tell people off for using the word 'nigga' toward each other? Speaking of which, where is the campaign against Ice Cube, Flavor Flav, Snoop, Dre, the Wu Tang Clan, Ice T, Cypress Hill etc etc?

Surely if some Tory student with 309 followers on Twitter is causing "collateral damage" when he says "gaylord" (best not mention the restaurant of that name (whoops I just did)) , then the cream of hip hop and the producers of seminal albums, are verging on pure evil given the global reach their use of racial labelling has. No?

Identity politics and the morally righteous authoritarian suppression of language. Don't you just love it?

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