Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

You may have heard about the Theta Tau fraternity at Syracuse being suspended for a video that was discovered by The Daily Orange, the student newspaper. The video was described as “extremely racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist and hostile to people with disabilities.” If you have a strong stomach, here it is.

I had a little trouble finding it. Seems it’s been taken down in most places, except for bleeped excerpts in mainstream news media.

I have several points I’d like to make concerning it.

First, I’m incredulous that Theta Tau is an engineering frat. These are men who intend to go on to careers in the mechanical sciences. As such, they will use computers a lot, and they certainly already are doing so, as well as using social media, because everybody uses social media.

Well, except me. I don’t twit, I don’t Face. I couldn’t tell you what a hashtag is, or how one is made and used. I don’t know how to “friend” anybody, and can’t imagine wanting to do so. I don’t even know what Instagram is. (I’m not kidding or exaggerating. I don’t know.) I don’t have a blog. My total involvement in the Internet is this website, and the things I post here. In short, you would have to paddle a long way up the Amazon River to find anybody more Internet-illiterate than I am.

And yet, even I understand that anything posted on the Net will eventually be found by someone, and that this stuff never goes away! This video is said to have been posted on a “secret Facebook group.” Again, I have no idea how one would set up such a thing, but haven’t these stupid, moronic, brain-dead jerks noticed that embarrassing stuff surfaces from the cesspools of cyberspace about a thousand times a day? Secret? On the Internet??? Never post anything on the Internet that you would not want to see on the front page of the New York Times, or the lead story on CNN. You all know that, don’t you?

Watching it, it almost seemed that they had a little list. That they went down that list and ticked all the boxes, as the British would say. “Homos, faggots, check. Niggers, check. Kikes, check. Cunts, check. Spazzes, check.” Okay, they missed a few. No chinks, Japs, redskins, or Ay-rabs.

They certainly must have violated just about every code of behavior at the University. As such, they need to be evacuated, humiliated, expelled, degraded in every possible way. The frat was booted off the campus. Eighteen individuals have been suspended pending disciplinary procedures. Let’s face it, they are fucked, and richly deserve to be.

However …

Also in The Daily Orange was a response to the video. It was headlined “Our Reader Responds to the Theta Tau video.” (Reader? Are newspapers in that much trouble? Weeks later, they haven’t corrected it.)

One of the things the solitary reader said was this:

“I’m disgusted and sickened by their behavior. In my opinion, the involved students should be expelled from the university and also prosecuted for civil rights violations and hate crimes.”

Whoa there, Dear Reader. I find this stuff as vile as anyone else, but whose civil rights have been violated? Did I miss something? Has hateful speech become a crime while my back was turned?

Yes, there are laws against “hate speech” in some other countries, including Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and our neighbor to the north. I am categorically opposed to these laws. In America you can write or speak anything at all, no matter how vile, and it is protected. I would have it no other way. I wouldn’t mind if these assholes were stripped naked, tarred and feathered, and whipped right off campus … as long as it’s the college faculty and student body and not the government who is doing it. You can’t legislate brotherly love.

As for “hate crimes,” I’m opposed to those, too, but I don’t oppose them on constitutional grounds. Think about it. Somebody beats the shit out of a gay man because he hates gays. Someone else beats the shit out of someone just because he doesn’t like his looks. Both victims suffer the same amount of physical trauma. But the law adds extra penalties to the gay-basher, or the basher of black people, or Hispanics, etc., right down the list. I don’t get that. I don’t think the law should be concerned with what prompted the deed, only with the deed itself.

But like I said, I let that slide. And even here, where is the hate crime in this instance, dear reader? The laws, as I understand them, apply to individual acts against individuals. You can’t charge someone with a hate crime against a race, or a gender, or a religious or national origin. You just can’t. I can stand in the public square and bellow “Catholics blow dead pigs!” and the only thing I might be arrested for is disturbing the peace. If I hand out leaflets proclaiming that “Protestants suck on pig penises” they can’t charge me. I have committed no hate crime, I have not violated anyone’s civil rights.

Unless, like I said above, I missed something. Maybe I did. Maybe they changed the laws. Things have sure gotten crazy lately.

Just today I learned that in Oregon a horse is suing his former owner for abuse. You heard me right. Apparently the lawsuit is being filed as being by “Justice,” a horse, not by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, who thought up this legal clusterfuck. I wonder, did Justice stamp his hoofprint on the document? Will he testify in his own behalf? Will there be an interpreter who speaks Horse?

* * *

Now, if you watched that video you will have noticed that the sound is so bad that subtitles were provided, by the paper. And you might have noticed that there are some remarkable words there:

B*tches. F*ck. Sh*t. K*kes. N*ggers. Sp*cs.

That first one, is it meant to be batches? Botches? Butches? It would almost seem that the lowly asterisk has now become part of the alphabet. But not really, of course. They are being deployed because apparently someone fears these words might burn our eyeballs out if we were to see them in print, totally naked, un-fig-leafed by asterisks, just as they will blow out our eardrums if we hear them.

Those words are ridiculous enough, but then we get some truly crazy bowdlerizing by the Daily Orange: d*ck, and p*ssy. What madness is this, I ask you? It’s probably not meant to be read as deck, dock, duck, or pissy. No, we know these asshole frat boys were saying dick and pussy. These are perfectly legal words if you’re talking about Mr. Nixon or your pet cat. But when you mean the penis or the vagina they are suddenly unspeakable and unprintable. So does the context suddenly make them so toxic that they must be asteriskized?

And it’s really fucking crazy (fucking pardon my fucking French) that they have censored the printed words in this video, when the sound track hasn’t been bleeped. My hearing ain’t so great these days, but I could pick out a lot of them. My eardrums didn’t explode. And the whole story revolves around the use of these words. Why are we so afraid of these words?

I really don’t understand this. Fuck has arguably become one of the most frequently used word in the English language. And in most cases it has lost its original meaning of intercourse.

Now there are a thousand ways to say “fuck,” and a thousand meanings. Fuck off. Go fuck yourself. Abso-fucking-lutely. Holy fuck! Are you fucking kidding me? I don’t give a flying fuck. Don’t fuck up. Don’t be a fucking fuck-up. What the fuck? Fuck no. Fuck yeah. Fuck me! Don’t fuck me over. He’s a fuckhead. I am so fucked. That is fucked up. Where the fuck are we? I don’t fucking care. Fuckface, fucktard, fuckstick. And the ever-popular fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!!!

Not a one of those usages has anything to do with sex. It is used as an all-purpose modifier of abso-fucking-lutely anything. There are folks who can’t get through a sentence without using “fucking” four or five times. (I am sometimes guilty of this, though usually only once or twice.) My point being that the word is common, it is in common usage. Why can’t we just let it be? What is the point of dodges like f*ck, f**k, f-ck? Has anyone ever seen “f*ck” and wondered “Do they mean fack? Feck? Fock? Fick? Fyck? No, you instantly read it as fuck, so the dirty word is in your mind, right? You just thought the word fuck. So that’s okay, while seeing it or hearing it is offensive?

(Aside: Then there’s the word m**********r, which was originally on George Carlin’s list of “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.” Then he took it off, as being derivative. Then he put it back in. So tell me, when you saw that line of asterisks up there in a 12-letter word beginning with M and ending in R, did you think magnetometer, manslaughter, manufacturer, materializer, merchandizer, micromanager, misconceiver, or mollycoddler? No, admit it, the 12-letter word you thought of was motherfucker.)

But if you don’t like asterisks, there is always the hyphen. There is the circumlocution “F-word.” Every time I hear it, steam comes out of my ears. Which leads me to another ear-steaming hyphenate: the “N-word.”

* * *

On July 9, 2007, the NAACP staged a mock funeral for the word nigger. The NAACP is an organization for which I have the highest respect, but not this time. They were burying a word. It seems that one of the motives behind this ceremony was to convince black stand-up comics and rappers to stop using the words nigger and nigga in their work. Fine with me, so long as the artists make the choice on their own.

Whatever their motive, this demonstration soon led to the situation we have today. I have heard multiple people proclaim that it is unacceptable to say or print that word … even if you are quoting someone. It is never legitimate (or legal, if they had their way) to say nigger. Never, never, never.

Let me say that again. You cannot say or print the word “nigger” under any circumstances. Well, I just did, and anyone who is bothered by it is invited to go fuck themselves.

How about this? Richard Pryor made a really great comedy album titled That Nigger’s Crazy! Two of the cuts are called “Nigger With a Seizure” and “Niggers vs. Police.” So all those album covers and LPs should be destroyed.

Remember the publication of the “sanitized” version of Huckleberry Finn? All trace of the word nigger was removed. That was, and is, a literary crime against humanity, a hate crime, a fucking atrocity of such gigantic proportions that I can’t even find enough words to describe how horrible it is.

But it continues. Joseph Conrad wrote a story titled The Nigger of the Narcissus: A Tale of the Forecastle. Two new versions of the book have recently been published. One was by a house called Bottom of the Hill Publishing, and they have changed it to The Children of the Sea: A Tale of the Forecastle.

You didn’t think it could get more vile and stupid and toxically politically correct. But it does, much more offensive, much worse. It gets worse. Wordbridge Publishing, may they be condemned to eternal Hell with nothing to read but nurse novels soaked in piss, has squatted on the pot and squeezed out a book called The N-Word of the Narcissus: A Tale of the Sea. Throughout the text the word nigger has been changed to N-word. You don’t believe me? You can’t make this shit up:

What’s next? Moby D*ck? Moby Penis? I’m glad to report that of the reviews posted at Amazon, 91% gave this abortion one star. And of the two who gave it five, one of them points out that he wrote a review and Amazon would not post it, because … wait for it … he used the N-word in his review! No niggers at Amazon!

My friends, I have used, deliberately, a lot of words here that, if used to hurt someone, are nauseatingly offensive. I hate these words. I despise anyone who would call someone a nigger, or would use the word the way these assholes did, and I find the word itself just as distasteful as anyone else. But just because these are offensive words, we can’t pretend they don’t exist.

F-word. N-word. This is kindergarten speech, people! We should grow up!

I am a writer. Words are precious to me. All of them, even awful ones, obscene ones, offensive ones. What am I supposed to do if I create a really horrible character and he lashes out at a black person? Should I have him shout “You fucking N-word!”? Having him use the word nigger establishes instantly that he is a nasty moron, beyond the pale.

I will not have anyone dictate what words I can use. I just won’t. Come at me with editorial scissors or blue pencils and I will fuck you up.

* * *

Five of the stupid motherfuckers who made that frat video are now suing Syracuse for a million dollars each. Seems they think the university blemished their sterling reputations. Also they demand that there be no disciplinary proceedings against them, and that they be allowed to return to classes. I really hope the university stands by its actions and takes on these fuckheads in the suit. The five are suing anonymously, as “John Does.”

Can they do that? That doesn’t seem right to me, but who knows what goes on in courtrooms in this litigious society? In any case, if it goes to trial I’m sure the video will be played in open court, and the stinking pieces of shit will have to be identified. Let’s see if they are willing to stand up to that. I doubt it. I’ll follow the trial, if it ever happens, and report on it to you, my dear reader.

May 5, 2018
Vancouver, WA