Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Little Bit of Progress Here and There

In response to my post last night on the Celtics-Cavs game, "Distaste", 48 Minutes of Hell reader bking45 pointed out that TNT's telecast included a slow motion clip of Garnett using some pretty foul language. You may have heard about this already, but if you haven't take a look for yourself:

Some other blogs, Basketbawful, Odenized, noticed it as well. It is quite reasonable to conclude that Garnett says "F**cking F***ots." When it was pointed out to me, I certainly was disappointed. Something about Garnett always seemed to suggest to me a certain enlightened sensibility that would naturally move beyond such language. Maybe I'm just letting his high basketball I.Q. soften me up. Either way, when it was pointed out to me my only response was "I wish there was less homophobia in the NBA." And to be honest, even after reflecting on it I don't think I'm prepared to make a really thoughtful statement on the matter. A part of me felt that a player would be chastised for using a racial slur, should Garnett not face an equal level of criticism? Part of me thought overly equating race relations and state of the gay community in this country is very problematic. Part of me thought criticizing a black man for the use of the term "f***ot" would do little to aid the struggle against homophobia while merely antagonizing a community which is not to blame for the bigotry of this country, but rather the most viceral victim of it. I did decide that I have always been a vociferous defender of open and honest dialogue, and to bring attention to the matter, even though I did not have an opinion, was not cowardly, but merely that: open and honest.

If people wish to comment on this matter below they may. I will tell you right now I will delete any comments which use offensive language, other than if a term is used in a purely journalistic manner. I am a firm believer in a radical interpretation of the 1st amendment, but this is public space that I have created and I will ensure that it lives up to certain standards of decency. But my intention is not to develop a debate on this site. If no one responds, which I expect, I will be fine with that. I just felt the issue deserved reflection, and if I don't have something uniquely thoughtful to say, maybe you do.

Ed. Note: In my post on the Cavs-Celtics game I also used the term "fascistic." That was meant to be a criticism of the aesthetics the Celtics employ, not an accusation of radical bigotry. The fact that I chose to discuss Garnett's comments in the wake of that post is incidental, and is not meant to mindlessly hurl the accusation of "fascism" whenever a bias can be identified in someone.

1 comment:

strumac said...


I respect your decision to say nothing. (although you did say some things after all) But I would say one thing in response to your post: we're not just members of 'communities' but individuals as well, and the fact that Garnett happens to be African-American doesn't exonerate him from participating in homophobia. But still: I agree that public exercises in sometimes feigned apology don't do much. After posting on your blog last night I developed my response to Garnett and posted it on my own fledgling blog here: http://bourgeoismessiah.wordpress.com/2008/05/13/who-is-kevin-garnett/
I don't focus so much on Garnett himself (many players undoubtedly say similar things in practice, locker rooms, etc), as on *who* we think these players are. (hope it's ok to reference my blog here -- not selling anything, and not trying to flog it -- just thought you might be interested)