The story is pretty much always the same: A professor tries to fan the dim and flickering flame of intellect he sees in his students and makes the tragic mistake of not using "I'm Okay You're Okay" language. The little Marlos and Phils get an attack of the vapors from hearing such hateful words and go whinging off to the dean who, typically, says, "There, there, my little lambs" as he announces to the world that such slights against their feelings will not be tolerated.Oh, there's some nice potential here for connecting the Kaplan story to the current feminist attacks on me for mocking a Yale law student for overreacting to a stupid chat board where guys talked about her picture.
Cue outrage from the vast majority of Everyone Else In The World who can't believe that such weak-minded crybabies are going to enter the adult workforce so ill-prepared to co-exist with their fellow man without having somebody to whom they can run and blubber. The latter assertions, sadly, miss the point that these sensitive muffins will likely live and work their entire lives within arms length of any number of willing wet nurses who will file lawsuits on their behalf every time their precious feelings are bruised. Such a world does indeed exist.
It certainly exists in punk rock - and especially on the West Coast, where witch hunts of this type have been conducted with regularity as long as I can remember. Even in a subculture that on the face of it would seem to be a bit more muscular, these sorts of Romper Room antics thrive (at least in the fertile soil of the SF Bay area). You'd be right if you pointed out that punk is as much a fantasy world as college life, but one can conceivably earn a living in punk - it's hard to be a professional student.
As it is, nobody's career was ever on the line when some punk dingbat who read too much Naomi Wolf and Susan Faludi decided that those of us who weren't gay were de facto rapists. And there were always enough people in punk who loathed such nonse[n]se that it really was and is relegated to the absolute lunatic fringes. As many times as I've been targeted in the crosshairs of some delicate flower who didn't care for my choice of words and who tried to sabaotage some this or that of mine, it's never actually worked.
I like this Ben Weasel character, who lives here in Wisconsin. (See, here he is shoveling snow.) He looks a lot like the guys who played punk rock -- and, less to my taste, prog rock -- in my basement throughout the 1990s. I'm putting him on the blogroll.
I appreciate his take on this story, and I guess I should go read some of the lyrics to those old songs of his. My son John tells me a lot of the songs have pretty amusing satirical lyrics. He mentions "I Want to Be a Homosexual." I Google that and the first thing that comes is an FCC opinion!
Several complaints filed with the Commission indicated that on July 12, 1992, Radio Station KNON(FM), Dallas TX, broadcast the song "I Want To Be A Homosexual" (lyrics transcribed in Attachment 1) at 3:55 p.m. during its "Lambda Weekly" program."...So let's check out Attachment 1:
KNON's broadcast, while relatively brief, details sexual activities in very vulgar and explicit terms, warranting, on these grounds, a substantial forfeiture. Taking into consideration, however, the licensee's prompt response to the complaint (before a Commission investigation began), and the licensee's financial records submitted in response to the NAL, we believe a forfeiture of $2,000 is reasonable.
Oh, Ben, gee, I think you're really cute and sexy,Go read it over there if you want! What I really like about it is that it includes the subject of guys wearing shorts, which you know is one of my big concerns.
and well, I know you're straight.
But look, I know you have a girlfriend.
But if you really want to have a...
UPDATE: Ben notices this link and says about me: "Her stuff seems to annoy the living hell out of reactionary leftists, who insist on calling her a conservative even though she really isn't." He also expresses sorrow over that typo I kind of couldn't help drawing attention to. So never let it be said that concern about spelling does not exist in the punk rock community. About that FCC case, he says:
I remember reading about this years ago as the station was under attack by some Christian fundamentalist group for playing the song. In our early days we tried to ignite this sort of hype for ourselves several times, phoning and faxing Chicago TV stations pretending to be members of one outraged group or another who were protesting a Screeching Weasel performance. It never worked, of course. By the time the Dallas thing happened we were already doing okay for ourselves so we didn't really care so much. If I'd known they'd been hit with a 2K fine I would've chipped something in!And he makes fun of the FCC for getting his lyrics wrong. They heard "beat-me-leather fag" for "beefy leather fag," not "beat-me-leather fag."
It's an important distinction because "Beefy leather fag" is funny whereas "Beat-me-leather fag" sounds like something translated from French by Babel Fish.Leave it to the FCC to miss the funny.