Operation: Enduring Homophobia
October 15, 2001 12:19 PM   Subscribe

Operation: Enduring Homophobia
posted by geronimo_rex (52 comments total)
 
Yep. That's pretty blatant. And the idiot who wrote it couldn't even spell hijack correctly.
posted by terrapin at 12:26 PM on October 15, 2001


Ah, the dream is still alive. Fighting for the freedom to abuse our own minorities. God bless America, for it is right in all things. What a disgrace.
posted by holycola at 12:30 PM on October 15, 2001


gaybashing is typical machismo, which war seems to bring out

still rather depressing

"fag" being used as deroggatory

or, given the idiocy of the soldier who wrote it, maybe its a dyslexic abbreviation for afghani
posted by yesster at 12:31 PM on October 15, 2001


Uh....this is homophobia. The person who did this was stupid, but not necessarily homophobic.
posted by thewittyname at 12:33 PM on October 15, 2001


Is that a NAVY plane?
posted by wfrgms at 12:34 PM on October 15, 2001


What do you expect from an organization that wont allow homosexuals as members?
posted by Doug at 12:39 PM on October 15, 2001


The problem is not only with the military here. A national news outlet published this picture. If the slur on the bomb was any of the colorful epithets that apply to people of Arab descent, this photo would never have seen the light of day.
posted by rhino at 12:54 PM on October 15, 2001


AP killed photo Friday but it remains on Yahoo! News' website today. I've e-mailed AP in protest.
posted by Carol Anne at 12:56 PM on October 15, 2001


That is just bad. I really do not understand why that was published. A sad commentary for our armed services.
posted by bjgeiger at 12:57 PM on October 15, 2001


You people are such hypocrites. It's wrong for the government to (request) censorship of bin-laden tapes, but an image with the word 'fags' is an abomination and must be (requested to be) struck from the news.

And you're right, the image should be removed, we all know getting rid of the image will get rid of the problem.
posted by delmoi at 1:01 PM on October 15, 2001


Don't forget that the NAVY reviews these photos and releases them in the first place. AP doesn't really review photos in the sense of "quality control." News is news.
posted by schlaager at 1:04 PM on October 15, 2001


Plus, see that guy in the picture? He's gay. Yep.
posted by luser at 1:09 PM on October 15, 2001


Can you not see the difference between government censorship, and an individual's request to a news agency?

On another, somewhat more tasteful note, I also heard that some of the first bombs dropped last week had "FDNY" and "NYPD" painted on them.
posted by jpoulos at 1:12 PM on October 15, 2001


Ugh. This just propogates the stereotype of the adrenaline-addled bigoted redneck soldier. And that IS a homophobic statement. I mean, come on. . . our idiot leader has taken to calling them "the evil ones" and our soldiers are calling them "fags"? And they say this is the post-irony age. Feh.
posted by UrbanFigaro at 1:15 PM on October 15, 2001


I guess for that guy that's the very worst thing he could write on that bomb. Makes the war seem so junior school.
posted by xammerboy at 1:16 PM on October 15, 2001


Actually, it's a Fully Automatic Groundshaking Device. You know how the military loves acronyms.
posted by groundhog at 1:18 PM on October 15, 2001


Okay... For all of you who keep referring to them as "soldiers", this is a NAVY aircraft.

Those them there bigots is 'sailors'.

The Army has soldiers. And yes, quite a few homophobes there as well.
posted by nickonomicon at 1:34 PM on October 15, 2001


This photo is probably the worthless, puerile shit that it would appear to be, but it's worth pointing out that among my (admittedly few) gay friends "fag" is used interchangeably with "sissy", and not strictly as a anti-gay slur. I was most amused when channel surfing, and upon seeing Christopher Lowell, the gay couple I'm watching it with, go, almost in unison "Ugh... total fag."
posted by dong_resin at 1:39 PM on October 15, 2001


the soldier's intent was to be rude. calling someone a fag is considered rude. what name could he have called them without catching shit? towel-heads? bitches? sand-n_____s? no good names are politically correct. "hijack this taliban party" doesn't quite hold the same sense of emotion. come on, give a hick a break. i don't think he actually considers the taliban homosexuals. it's just a label. misguided, yes, but probably not gaybashing.
posted by pup at 1:39 PM on October 15, 2001


Let's court-martial the guy who wrote this, is what I say. Let's also ask all the soldiers who are going to fight in this war if they're homophobic, and then discharge all those who admit they are. What we want is sensitive, compassionate, caring and intelligent soldiers.

End ironic comment here. Start serious comment: I'm sorry, but even if homophobia disgusts me and I'm all for gays in the military and I think that hate crimes against gays should be punished very harshly, I don't agree with many people who posted comments. We're talking about young, angry soldiers, who by the way have good reasons to be scared, too. The guy who wrote that is definitely not very polite, he's maybe homophobic, OK. But soldiers are in the business of killing people, i.e. taking out our enemies. They're not in the business of being polite, intelligent writers and talkers.
posted by matteo at 1:43 PM on October 15, 2001


no its one of those "smart" bombs

it only kills fags

it accepts hand-written commands (palm-pilot technology)
posted by yesster at 1:43 PM on October 15, 2001


Re. dong_resin's comment, I'm gay and I do use 'fag' in joking and unflattering ways, usually to label what I see as excessively effeminate behavior. It just seems to have a different tone when it's involved with blowing up somebody and using the term to label someone you hate. Neither is the case when I call myself or someone else a fag.
As for giving him a break, pup, no I don't think so. It's a poor disservice to the memory of any gay people who died at WTC to equate them with insults appropriate for the enemy. The sentiment is clear.
posted by holycola at 1:51 PM on October 15, 2001


As a member of the military, I'm a bit embarrassed by this display of (probable) ignorance or hate. Wouldn't something like 'PAYBACK" or "JUSTICE" scrawled on the side have served him as well?
posted by davidmsc at 2:02 PM on October 15, 2001


More importantly, lets talk about spelling!

According to m-w.com highjack IS an acceptable variant of hijack. Which means that calling it "misspelled graffiti" is incorrect. Unless we are talking about the space between "high" and "jack".

Since some etymology of the word points to the root of the word being mugger short hand for putting your hands in there air "High, jack". Its actually not too far off from accurate, so I think even the space might be acceptable.

As for the object of the sentence... meh, not surprised, thats soldiers for you. Gives me a nice Strangelove resonance.
posted by malphigian at 2:03 PM on October 15, 2001


We're talking about young, angry soldiers, who by the way have good reasons to be scared, too. soldiers are in the business of killing people, i.e. taking out our enemies. They're not in the business of being polite, intelligent writers and talkers

so 'high jack this spics' or 'high jack this niggers' would have been ok because he's an angry, scared soldier in the business of killing people?
posted by tolkhan at 2:05 PM on October 15, 2001


[hmm. I wrote this before the above post was sent]

"fag" is used interchangeably with "sissy"...

Well, yeah. Sure. But someone once tried to tell me that he differentiated between "niggers" and black people. Niggers, according to him, are lazy black people. Usually in the ghetto. Smoking crack.

Come on. You're right that 'gay' and 'fag' have been injected into our insult books (like retarded) but that still doesn't make it acceptable.

A person wouldn't call someone a nigger jokingly (or scrawl it on a bomb headed towards Africa) and then say "well I was just calling them a lazy black person". The word is meant to hurt, no matter how it's used.
posted by jragon at 2:08 PM on October 15, 2001


You all arguing over this because you're scared to admit the US airforce is full of thickshit fuckwit homophobes who can't spell?

But as I mentioned a couple of days ago when I mentioned the above pic, comments from pilots interviewed for a related article really give the game away. Bombing Afghanistan, they say, has been an "awesome" experience which made them feel "pretty darn good." The article also reports pilots explaining how they bring hamburgers, sandwiches and other snacks to help them relax during bombing missions: "I was eating Twizzlers when the 57mm started coming at me", says one pilot.
posted by skylar at 2:15 PM on October 15, 2001


AP killed photo Friday but it remains on Yahoo! News' website today. I've e-mailed AP in protest.

I think you've chanced upon the cure for prejudice: Stop the media from covering acts of bigotry!
posted by rcade at 2:16 PM on October 15, 2001


so 'high jack this spics' or 'high jack this niggers' would have been ok because he's an angry, scared soldier in the business of killing people?
oh, tolkhan, it must be pretty interesting to live in your world. You're apparently ready to accept that poorer, less educated guys go to war and die, allowing you to stay home and check out Metafilter. But you also want them to be nice, and not to use slurs. In your world they just have to fight (for a not so great salary, do you know how many servicemen and women are onm food stamps?) and be nice, and P.C., too.
posted by matteo at 2:51 PM on October 15, 2001


actually, to further catalyze this problem, its been reported that the navy has developed missiles (probably very similar to the one in the picture) that seeks out and ONLY kills gay Afghans.
posted by Satapher at 2:56 PM on October 15, 2001


that seeks out and ONLY kills gay Afghans.

I'm sitting here trying to visualize what a Taliban cabaret looks like.
posted by aaron at 2:59 PM on October 15, 2001



Pretty funny that we are even discussing the moral conduct of someone who is trained to kill. Seems to me that a slur against a minority pales in comparison to their official duties...

"Now listen men...go out there and bomb, bomb, bomb! Oh, and hey lets be polite about it!"
posted by srboisvert at 3:09 PM on October 15, 2001


My sentiments exactly. I would not have used that choice of word, but subhuman scum are certainly worthy of derogatory labels.
posted by tomorama at 3:18 PM on October 15, 2001


i would like to point out that this man speaks for all of our men and women in uniform. just like jerry fallwell speaks for all southern baptists. just like david duke speaks for all residents of louisiana. just like rae carruth speaks for all nfl players. just like osama bin laden speaks for all muslims. right? right?
posted by pup at 3:19 PM on October 15, 2001


FWIW, there's a difference between an individual soldier being a racist or a homophobe and a US missile bearing a homophobic slogan.

A slogan on a missile is intended to be symbolic: "Here's what we've got for you". "Die Fags" is not a very good symbol to represent us. While I'm sure this isn't the result of a decree from ranking officials but the work some poor shlub who probably didn't mean any offense to gays, it's unfortunate, and it shouldn't happen.
posted by jpoulos at 3:24 PM on October 15, 2001


i would like to point out that this man speaks for all of our men and women in uniform.

To clarify what I said above, and to respond to this, the sailor who wrote on the missile was trying to speak for the whole Navy--the whole US, in fact.

If some grunt wrote "Kill all gooks!" on his helmet during Vietnam, that's one thing. It's not right, and I wish it wouldn't happen, but it's a case of self-expression. If a battallion carried a sign into villages saying the same thing, however, it would mean something else entirely. That, I would have a problem with.
posted by jpoulos at 3:29 PM on October 15, 2001


matteo: clarification on one point you made, and to educate any non-military MeFi'ers -- our US military is actually paid quite fairly; the lower ranks, obviously, make less than the higher ranks, but people do not stay in the lower ranks for very long. The misperception about many of our servicemembers living on food stamps has been blown way out of proportion. Military members are paid well; nothing to get rich off of (unless they are shrewd investors!), but certainly livable. The very few exceptions are usually soldiers/sailors/airmen with relatively little time in the service, junior grade, and (almost always) larger-than-average families to support.

And I have been there -- spent 9 years as an enlisted member, with wife + 2 kids, and have now been an officer for 4+. Not once did I feel that I was underpaid - officer or enlisted.
posted by davidmsc at 3:55 PM on October 15, 2001


But you also want them to be nice, and not to use slurs. In your world they just have to fight ... and be nice, and P.C., too.

Now if we could just get rid of that damned Geneva Convention nonsense and get on with the real fighting eh?

Seriously, even if the military is a homophobic organization (look at policy regarding homosexuals) they have standards to maintain. Let's not forget the soldier chose to join the military and its the populace's tax dollars that pay that crappy salary. I'm not going to give the pizza guy a break if he's a loudmouth racist just because he has a crappy job and could be injured in a car accident delivering hot pies.

Soldiers are people and are subject to criticism for their actions. No breaks needed. In fact one could argue that the guy with the weapons should be the most closely scrutinized.
posted by skallas at 4:05 PM on October 15, 2001


i'm sorry tomorama, could you please clarify which subhuman scum deserve derogatory labels?
posted by danOstuporStar at 4:12 PM on October 15, 2001


You're apparently ready to accept that poorer, less educated guys go to war and die, allowing you to stay home and check out Metafilter. But you also want them to be nice, and not to use slurs.

Yeah, them soldiers is just a buncha stupid monkeys...whatdya expect?? sheesh...it ain't like dere like u 'n me!

What's a good demeaning slang term for a soldier that we can write on a missile?
posted by rushmc at 4:48 PM on October 15, 2001


...even if the military is a homophobic organization (look at policy regarding homosexuals)...

Please don't assume that every member of the military is homophobic, or even agrees with the policy. Many (most?) of us don't give a rat's ass one way or another about the "orientation" of our comrades...as long as they're willing to serve their country & do their jobs well. Case in point: when Sen Phil Gramm visited my AF base in 1993 to discuss the issue with "the troops" to see how we felt (following Clinton's announcement to allow gays to serve openly), it was 95% HIM telling us why it's wrong, and 5% US sounding off and letting him know how we felt...and most of my fellow airmen simply nodded in agreement, somewhat in awe that they were getting the chance to (gasp!) actually SEE A SENATOR in person! Privately, after he departed, many in the room quietly mumbled words to the effect that they didn't really care, or actually wanted the policy reversed. Many others had been told by their bosses how important Sen Gramm was/is to funding, etc, and told to show him the utmost respect. Translation, especially for junior troops: mouth closed, eyes forward.

One thing to consider -- a little perspective: our military may not be perfect, but right now, it (coupled with NSC, FBI, etc) is the only thing preventing massive WTC repeats.
posted by davidmsc at 6:38 PM on October 15, 2001


"homophobia" seems to be bantered about in this discussion. Let's break the word down.

I doubt there's any confusion about the etymology of "homo" in this word. It refers uncontroversially to homosexual males.

However, "phobia" is best translated as "fear". I don't think any fear is involved here. "fag" appears to be used here as an insult suggesting non-competitive status.

War is about survival. Homosexuality has no direct benefit on the propagation the human species. Consequently, it should surprise no one that in a lethal fight those who will not procreate would be considered inferior.
posted by Real9 at 6:40 PM on October 15, 2001


I think "hijack this, fuckers" would have sufficed just fine, although probably would not have made it into AP rounds. And I'm sure I speak for all of us who are fucking when I say that we would not be offended.
posted by arielmeadow at 6:44 PM on October 15, 2001


War is about survival. Homosexuality has no direct benefit on the propagation the human species. Consequently, it should surprise no one that in a lethal fight those who will not procreate would be considered inferior.

lolol That is the most whacked flame-bait I've seen in AGES.
posted by rushmc at 6:58 PM on October 15, 2001


Perhaps that's the homosexual version of the pornbomb.
posted by faithnomore at 7:20 PM on October 15, 2001


"However, "phobia" is best translated as "fear". I don't think any fear is involved here."

Yes. And "gay" means "happy."

Concept: Words often take on meanings other than their literal translation.

Discuss.
posted by CrayDrygu at 7:43 PM on October 15, 2001


i'm sorry tomorama, could you please clarify which subhuman scum deserve derogatory labels?

bin Laden? The Taliban? Al-Queda? Their associates? Take your pick.

And sure, "fags" isn't exactly a choice word, but don't go jumping to conclusions, claiming that our armed forces are made up of homophobic, incompetant dimwits. Incompetants and dimwits usually don't qualify to fly $14 million fighter jets.
posted by tomorama at 8:28 PM on October 15, 2001


right on CrayDrygu.

Homophobia is gay.
posted by Satapher at 8:28 PM on October 15, 2001


To illustrate the point that words change meaning, (already well illustrated by Satapher...), note that a 13-year officer in the U.S. Air Force referred to his colleagues as "comrades." 30 years ago, this would have been tantamount to calling them Communists, no?

But to be on topic here, it should be noted that it is probably quite likely that he thinks being gay is an evil thing and calling someone a fag is a huge insult because it means the subject of the invective is, in fact, gay. Nobody is calling for any action to be taken against the person who wrote this.

We do, however, need to take notice that America at large (and the world at large) are not a tolerant of homosexuality as we open-minded folks at Mefi. And we need to look at the fact that the navy press corp (or whoever reviews the photos) felt it OK to allow this photo to be shown to the press but (we assume) would not have allowed through a photo saying "Hijack this, sandniggers."
posted by chiheisen at 9:51 PM on October 15, 2001


oh, tolkhan, it must be pretty interesting to live in your world.

oh, matteo, it is. it's populated with fuckwits like you.

there. i can say things about you too, but i'll leave the condescension out of it. it's not conducive to discussion of the matter at hand.

i don't give a shit if a soldier/sailor/airman is nice. my comment was only to ask whether being in the military excused the behavior and made it permissible. you seem to think it does. i don't.

[the affix 'homo'] refers uncontroversially to homosexual males

makes you wonder about that homogenized milk, eh?
posted by tolkhan at 6:09 AM on October 16, 2001


you and I are just so different, tolkhan, thank God (we're both very happy about that, I'm sure): you feel insulted when you read vulgar graffiti on a bomb. I feel insulted when a shithead who didn't serve one single day in the military treats soldiers and sailors ready to die for their Country as hired help who don't mind their manners.
posted by matteo at 8:19 AM on October 16, 2001


i'm assuming, matteo, that you aren't referring to me. i haven't treated soldiers and sailors as anything. in fact, it was you who said they were "poorer, less educated guys" while ignoring that i said that i don't give a shit if they are nice.

i don't know why you continue to read into it more than i wrote. it seems like you're looking for something to be pissed about.

so let me try this again. here's what i asked, restated to be a bit clearer:

does being a soldier or sailor excuse certain unpleasant behaviors? i'd say 'no' and that i expect a bit more self-control from someone in the military.

you and I are just so different, tolkhan, thank God

actually, i'd be willing to wager that we're much more alike than either of us would prefer.

ah, and i do thank you for not capitalizing my handle. most people do, though they shouldn't.
posted by tolkhan at 10:23 AM on October 16, 2001


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