This week Hollywood director Brett Ratner (“Rush Hour,” “Tower Heist”) was forced to resign from a major gig -- producer of the Oscars -- because while promoting his new movie he answered a question about whether he did rehearsals by saying, “Rehearsal’s for fags.”
This was perhaps the most high-profile punishment ever administered for use of this word, suggesting “fag” has now joined the N-word and the C-word as one of the three Words You Cannot Say.
Yet Ratner was using the slur in a juvenile, frat-house sense rather than expressing revulsion for homosexuality or homosexuals. By contrast, Tracy Morgan said in an alarming and apparently considered standup routine that if he had a gay son, “I’ll pull out a knife and stab that little [n-word] to death” -- yet remains employed by “30 Rock.”
OK, “fag” is a slur that offends many. But if we’re going to start calling people out for tasteless use of stupid, derogatory F-words, how about we blow the whistle on everybody calling everybody a fascist?
Civilized people recognize that there’s nothing wrong or even embarrassing about being gay. If someone accused me of enjoying the love of other men, I’d just laugh. (And I do, at the not-infrequent hate mail along these lines.) The derogatory intent just doesn’t have much sting. “I denounce thee, man-fancier”? Ridiculous.