I love the South, it's my home and always will be my home, but I hate stupid ignorance much more than I love the South.
And we have way too much stupid ignorance down here, always have.
Right now Ole Miss has to take a stand against stupid ignorance of all kinds and suspend the football players who interrupted a play about intolerance by behaving intolerantly. The school also needs a major wake-up call, I'd suggest a campus-wide examination of gay rights.
And if Ole Miss won't suspend these players then the SEC needs to do it.
Already people are tweeting me, "free speech," and asking why the "liberal media" cares so much about this story.
First, you idiots, learn how to make better arguments. You have the right to say or write anything in this country thanks to the first amendment. It's the single most important freedom we have. So you can type "your gay," to people you disagree with to your heart's content on Twitter and the government can't do anything to you. But what you don't have is freedom from consequences. Right now the government isn't arresting or investigating Ole Miss players for behaving like boorish idiots, the public is reacting with complete and total disgust to a story that shocks them.
Second, I'm not a member of the "liberal media," whatever that is. I'm about as middle of the road as it comes in the country. I'm anti-idiot and pro-markets, this means I can believe in evolution and support American industry. Shocker, I know. The reason this is a big story is for the same reason most stories become viral these days on the Internet -- because the story is shocking and people can't believe what they're reading. The rest of the country is in complete and total disbelief that Mississippi college students -- ostensibly the smartest, youngest and most cosmopolitan citizens of the Magnolia State -- would ever do something like this during a play about intolerance.
According to the play’s director and theater faculty member Rory Ledbetter, some audience members used derogatory slurs like “fag” and heckled both cast members and the characters they were portraying for their body types and sexual orientations. Ledbetter said the audience’s reactions included “borderline hate speech.”
“I am the only gay person on the cast,” junior theater major Garrison Gibbons said. “I played a gay character in the show, and to be ridiculed like that was something that really made me realize that some people at Ole Miss and in Mississippi still can’t accept me for who I am.”
It's not just hate speech, it's public hate speech in a university theater, hurled by the most famous members of the undergraduate student body. And it's not just one idiot, it's twenty, all acting together in a way that encourages stupidity to fester. This isn't a single individual's issue, it's a cultural one.
The rest of the country is completely and totally amazed that this could happen in 2013.
Just when you think the state of Mississippi and Ole Miss can't humiliate itself anymore, it goes and humiliates itself all over again.
You'd think a state that was so horribly wrong about racism, might be self-aware enough to see that it's repeating the same errors with gays.
You might think that, but you'd be wrong.
If the Onion had a headline, "Ole Miss students interrupt play about gay intolerance by hurling intolerant gay slurs," would you have thought it was too fafetched?
I would have.
Then last night happened.
It's not that I'm surprised many of my fellow Southerners are exceedingly homophobic, it's that college students at one of the state's flagship institution are too. These weren't slurs uttered in private by grandpas and grandmas, they were public assaults by people young enough to live in a multi-cultural society.
I spend a ton of time sticking up for the South, but here I've got no defense.
For some reason a decent segment of the Southern male population still feels like the biggest insult you can throw at another man is that he's gay.
Generally, if written, this insult is spelled, "your gay," and is accompanied by a Bible verse on a Twitter profile.
Rather than combat every idiot one at a time on Twitter and email, I've just co-opted their most stinging insult and raised them one level of "awfulness." Okay, I'm a gay Muslim. What else do you have for me? My hope was that by ridiculing the absurdity of an insult by accepting and embracing the absurdity of that insult and then raising it to another level, it might actually cause the idiots among us to think about how stupid they look. But then I see the first amendment and liberal media tweets and I just throw up my hands in disgust.
And stop hiding behind your religion too, "I don't hate the sinner, I hate the sin."
So being gay is a sin? So you really think gay people choose to be gay?
Is this real life?
Being gay isn't a sin because it's the way you're born.
But being stupid is a sin. Combat something you can actually control -- read a damn book.
Sadly, the only way to fight idiots is with punishments and consequences, not false and empty apologies.
That's why Ole Miss needs to take the right stand here and suspend every involved player from football this weekend. And if Hugh Freeze won't do it then Ole Miss chancellor Daniel Jones needs to act and if the chancellor won't act then SEC commissioner Mike Slive needs to act.
Every single football player involved in this incident needs to be suspended. And all non-athlete students who were involved should face severe sanction as well.
Ole Miss has rarely been on the forefront of social progress, but at least it can do the right thing here.
Otherwise, the past really is never past at Ole Miss.