I’ll make this quick because I’m still fighting the flu and it’s winning.
My favorite quote this week comes from New York City-based musician Keo Nozari, writing for the Huffington Post. It has to do with a recent Twitter war between hip-hop rising star Azealia Banks and Perez Hilton — one Hilton decided to involve himself in for entirely self-serving reasons — in which Banks called Hilton a “messy faggot.” This, of course, resulted in Hilton hilariously clutching his pearls and GLAAD stepping into the fray to condemn Banks’s comment, insisting that it “hurts kids.”
“We can’t be outraged when a 34-year-old gay man who built his career on bullying is in turn ‘bullied’ by a 21-year-old bisexual woman employing his same methods.”
First of all, a big thank-you to Nozari for refusing to take the road so often traveled in the wake of someone with pop culture clout saying something others might find offensive. Nozari’s right when he implies in his piece on this dust-up that if you react with outrage over every little thing, the things that truly are offensive, hostile and hurtful will often get a pass because people will no longer be able to tell the difference between the two. A “zero-tolerance” policy to perceived intolerance creates an environment in which everything is amplified and nothing is heard — and in the end, your indignation won’t be taken seriously anymore because of your willingness to use it injudiciously.
As for his direct attack on Perez Hilton, again, right on. There was never anything wrong with Hilton finally wising up and realizing that he was actually part of the problem of gay bullying, given that he spent years doing exactly that — cyberbullying everyone and purposely exposing closeted gays because he felt like it was his God-given right — but to suddenly play the role of the righteous defender of gay honor in the name of the kids is fucking ridiculous. He may have changed his tune publicly but were he the least bit capable of self-awareness he’d realize that his original tune, the one he played for so long, presents such a problem for him that it should at the very least preclude him from being able to cast himself as one of The Avengers of gay America.
Nozari, for what it’s worth, seems suspicious of Hilton’s sudden change of heart and has no issue bringing up the fact that just a few years ago it was Hilton himself who was calling the Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am a “faggot” to his face. As Nozari puts it, at this point defending Hilton over his complaints that somebody leveled a seemingly homophobic slur at him is the equivalent of coming to the defense of “sextape-made-me-famous Kim Kardashian if she claimed to be a victim of someone showing her some porn.”
What I like most about Nozari’s column, however, is the fact that he understands the concept of — as the late, great comedian Patrice O’Neal used to call it — “intent versus impact.” It’s a well-known fact not only that Azealia Banks is bisexual herself but that she’s the furthest thing from homophobic, which means that while there’s an argument to be made that the impact of the comment could be hurtful to the gay community at large, Banks’s intent was that it be nothing of the sort. She was slamming Perez Hilton and Perez Hilton alone. And the word she used to do it, while a little brutal, set Hilton up perfectly to expose his own hypocrisy.
As Nozari says beautifully, any gay group — GLAAD included — that felt the need to take Hilton’s side in this needs to learn to pick its battles better. It’d be nice if everyone who rushes to be outraged would take the same advice.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.