Sunday, January 15, 2017

What about you, dad?


"No, dad, WHAT ABOUT YOU?!"  The above clip may resonate with some people.

This afternoon, I inadvertently got into a pissing contest with a guy I used to know at my college.  We got along pretty well back in those days, although I remember he used to make comments that were somewhat misogynistic.  I mostly laughed them off back then.  I was young, stupid, and wanted to be liked.

Years later, we reunited on Facebook.  I can't speak for him, but I was mostly glad to be back in contact.  I liked him well enough back in the day, even if I did remember him saying things that were kind of shitty, particularly about women.  Like I said, we were young and stupid...

This afternoon, Yahoo! ran an article about Toby Keith's decision to perform at Donald Trump's inauguration.  Now, actually, I don't give a flying fuck about Toby Keith's decision to perform.  I think it's perfectly understandable that he would.  He's always been unapologetic about his support for Republican causes.  And, you know, that's very fine...  But I did decide to leave a quip.  What I said was, "Natalie Maines said it best."

For those of you who don't know, Natalie Maines and Toby Keith had a very public feud back in 2003.  Maines, and the rest of the Dixie Chicks, made a public statement about George W. Bush at a London concert.  They said they were ashamed to be from the same state Bush is from (although actually, the other two Chicks were from Pennsylvania, if I recall correctly, and Bush is not really that much of a Texan...  His people came from up north.)  Maines' comment caused a huge row in the music industry and a lot of radio stations quit playing music by the Dixie Chicks.  Many fans threw away their CDs.

Around that time, Toby Keith came out with a song called "Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue (The Angry American)", which Maines said was "ignorant, and [made] country music sound ignorant."  Personally, I don't have an opinion of the song myself, although I do remember it made a lot of waves.  A lot of Americans were riding high on the whole war thing... and Keith's pro American and pro war message resonated with them.

  

Toby Keith's pro war anthem...

Keith retaliated by doctoring an image of Maines alongside Saddam Hussein.  So Maines wore a t-shirt to the 2003 Country Music Awards that read, FUTK.  She did not explicitly say it, but many people believed that her t-shirt meant "Fuck you, Toby Keith."  It made headlines.

So... today, when I read about Toby Keith and his unapologetic bluster about performing for Donald Trump, my comment was "Natalie Maines said it best."  If you don't know what Natalie Maines said, the comment would go over your head.  If you do know what she said and you think Toby Keith and Donald Trump are full of poo, you might laugh.  Or maybe if you think Maines was wrong back then to speak out, you'd make a rebuttal (an intelligent one, I hope).  Unfortunately, my ex friend said something along the lines of this...

"Isn't she a member of the Dixie Pigs?" followed by a laughing smiley.

Not knowing exactly what my former Facebook friend was getting at, I wrote "What does that have to do with anything?"

And he made some comment about how he didn't know who she was, only that she was feuding with Toby Keith years ago.

My response was, "And the only thing you can say about Natalie Maines is that she's a 'pig'?  I wish your daughters luck."  Not long after I posted that, he unfriended me.  He didn't ask me about my comment or indicate that he wanted to be friends.  He simply deleted me.  And that's all well and good.  In fact, I probably should have done it myself.

I knew at the time that was a rather harsh response, especially for me.  My ex Facebook friend has two very young daughters, though, and I have known their father for a very long time.  While he's not a bad guy deep down, I have actually seen and heard him mock overweight women.  I have heard him belittle people based on things like their appearances.  And, well, frankly, I didn't quite understand what he was trying to say about Natalie Maines.  Was he saying she's fat?  Ugly?  Dirty?  Smelly?  Tastes like bacon?  Smells like bacon?  I could only guess that his comment was a slam at her appearance or some other irrelevant thing.  Or maybe he was just repeating an unfunny name he'd seen written in the press or heard among his buddies.  At the very least, it was an attempt to diminish her and, perhaps, me.  She's just a fat, mouthy, woman who needs to be put in her place, right?  Or was he talking to me, trying to tell me that I need to shut up?  

I felt like I needed to say something in response.  You see... almost everyone out there in the world has someone who loves them.  Most people have family.  I know, for instance, that my former Facebook friend has a mother, a sister, a wife, and two cute little daughters.  I would hope he wouldn't want to hear any of them referred to as "pigs" or any other derogatory name.  And, I'm here to tell you, the older females in his life have heard things like that said about them.  His daughters will also hear that stuff someday.  Someday, one of them might come home from school crying about what someone called her.  I just wonder what my former Facebook friend will say or do to help her with that.  

I had a father who called me names.  He said I was a pig, a hog, "retarded", lazy, and stupid.  While I know I am none of the things he said I was, I still remember hearing those words come from the mouth of someone I loved.  It hurt.  I knew that when the shit came down, I probably couldn't count on him to help me.  If some guy actually hurt me or called me a horrible name, he wouldn't protect me.  I had to learn to protect myself, hence my harsh response to my former Facebook friend.

This isn't to say that my ex friend shouldn't teach his daughters to let such things roll off their backs.  He definitely should.  He should teach them that they are bigger and better than some stupid thing someone says to or about them.  But he should also teach them that making degrading comments about a person and calling him or her a "pig" simply because he or she spoke their mind is wrong.  And I think if he's going to make a derogatory statement about someone, it should at least be about something legitimate.  

Natalie Maines is, by no means, a pig.  She never was.  Maybe a lot of people didn't like what she had to say in 2003, but she is a talented musician.  She's attractive, intelligent, and not fat.  And she doesn't deserve to be called a pig simply because she spoke her mind.  In fact, she was exercising the most American of freedoms.  Perhaps belittling and insulting her for expressing an opinion is also an American freedom, but honestly, it's one that more people should think twice about.

I generally wouldn't have said such a thing to someone I know.  I probably wouldn't even say it to someone I don't know.  Because I think what I said would make most people very angry and I don't like to make people angry (even if I know I do sometimes).  I'm sure my former Facebook friend feels like what I said was a "low blow".  But, you know what?  I'm sick and tired of people thinking they can make derogatory comments and expecting me to simply laugh it off.  

I'm sure my ex friend is pissed off that I reminded him that he has young daughters who will hear what he says and see what he does.  Honestly, I can see why he was offended by it.  I was offended by the fact that all he has to say about Natalie Maines is that she's a "pig".  And again, I am tired of people like him unabashedly saying that shit to me and expecting me to laugh along with their ignorance.

Maybe I was in the wrong for making the flippant comment about Natalie Maines and Toby Keith.  It was a long time ago that their feud happened.  I really don't care who performs at the inauguration, anyway.  I am just pretty fed up with the whole Trump dog and pony show and would like for this big dump of an inauguration to hurry up and happen so we can all get on with our lives.  But I think my ex college friend needs to grow up and realize that it's no longer just him as a frat boy faking a double chin and blatantly making fun of our overweight female hallmate anymore.  He now has daughters, and they will be influenced by his attitudes.  I really hope he steps up to the plate.  Somehow, I don't think I will miss seeing his stupid bullshit on my Facebook feed, either.  

2 comments:

  1. My dad can be a real idiot at times, but he has never denigrated me for anything worse than for not knowing that Sutter didn't build Fort Ross, and he has always given me reason to believe he would protect me from the evils of the world. I'm fortunate in comparison to much of the population.

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    1. I don't think my former Facebook friend is a bad father. I think he just didn't realize that he was denigrating Natalie Maines in a sexist way for speaking her mind. He has daughters now and I felt he should be more mindful about what he says.

      Clearly, I offended him. I figured I would offend him. But, you know what? He offended me, too. I won't be apologizing.

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