Wednesday, November 12, 2008

IN DEFENCE OF MICKEY ROURKE AND LINDSAY LOHAN

Forget the fact that our country just elected its first African-American president and that Connecticut started issuing marriage licences to gay couples today (not to mention that last week's Prop-8 vote was progress seeing as how in 2000 a similar Prop 22 passed by a margin of 13-14% versus the more encouraging 4% last Tuesday), because a modern popular culture that never had it so good just can't help but complain all the time.

Enter Mickey Rourke and Lindsay Lohan...


Mickey Rourke said this (on a rumor he was dating Evan Rachel Wood):

"Tell that faggot who wrote all that shit in the paper I'd like to break his fucking legs."


Lindsay Lohan said this (on Obama being elected):

"It was really exciting. It's an amazing feeling. It's our first colored president."


Of course, sensational opportunists like Perez Hilton jumped at the chance to label Rourke's comments "hate-speech". It makes me wonder... when Perez says "hate-speech", is he considering the "breaking someone's f*cking legs" part of that speech as well, or just the "fa**ot" part?

Meanwhile, type in Lindsay Lohan + racist into Google and you'll get more hits than if you type in "where is that $700 billion going exactly?". It makes me wonder... did the media stop to consider that Lohan also called the election of Obama "really exciting" and "amazing"? Next thing you know, some reporter will start digging to find out if one of her ancestors owned slaves.

Look. I'm not condoning loose lips slinging terms that others may find offensive, but when you read on blogs that Rourke's slip could cost him an Oscar nomination (btw... he's apologized), then you're getting into The Lives of Others territory (albeit much more cuddly and much less dangerous).

17 comments:

nick plowman said...

I mean, I get it, Rourke apologized and whatever, but whoever would say the word “faggot” in front of cameras that would obviously spread the word faster than the plague is damn stupid, as well as insensitive. It probably wont cost him an Oscar nomination because it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal in terms of the scope of the stories coverage, but surely someone who is on their way of getting an Oscar nomination would have more common sense? Looking at Rourke’s career prior to Sin City and The Wrestler, it is clear Rourke has no common sense whatsoever nor does he have as much public decency as I thought. Oscar nomination or not, it doesn’t matter, what he said was stupid, there are plenty of equally meaningful words to use besides “faggot,” seriously. The shit isn’t even right, no matter how you look at it, you say that word to someone and you suck, simple as that.

Fox said...

It's definitely a stupid thing to say, and as you alluded to, Rourke hasn't made the wisest life choices in his past. I'd just hate to see someone get a scarlet H permanently branded on their chest b/c they used the "F word".

I mean, do you really think Mickey Rourke hates gay people? I don't. If I did, then I would take his remarks differently. I think he was being an idiot in the moment and not a homophobe for life.

I mean, christ, gossip sites and bloggers say some of the nastiest things around. Most of their content is based around the embarrassment of others so you'd think they'd be a little more lenient when it comes to public flubs.

Sensitive would never be a word I would use to describe Perez Hilton.

Rick Olson said...

Lohan's comments about it's "really exciting" and "amazing" remind me pf the old "I love black folks ... some of my best friends are black people." No, I don't give her credit for saying "really exciting" and "amazing." I mean, I live in the real, deep South, and I haven't heard the word "colored" in decades.

I always listen to the stuff a person doesn't mean to say to judge what they really think. She meant to say "really exciting" and "amazing," but also said colored. That shows how out of it she really is.

But does it make any difference? Who gives a shit if a washed-up child star's a racist or not?

Fox said...

It's true, the last time I heard "colored" or "negro" were from my grandmother (or people from her generation) but I have a hard time thinking Lohan is racist b/c she used the word.

Like I asked Nick about Rourke and his "homophobia", do you really think Lohan is a racist? I don't. And, again, if I did then I would take her words much more seriously.

But does it make any difference? Who gives a shit if a washed-up child star's a racist or not?

I think it makes a difference, b/c in our culture's honorable attempt to become more wholly tolerant, we've become instantly judgmental of others in their slip-ups.

bill r. said...

Fox, I'm with you. This statement about Rourke --

I think he was being an idiot in the moment and not a homophobe for life.

-- nails it. What I find interesting is that if Rourke had called the guy a "cocksucker", no one would have considered that homophobic. But why not?

bill r. said...

Sorry, I meant to add:

But why not? Because they use that word all the time, and don't consider themselves homophobic?

Fox said...

On a side note, "cocksucker" has always been one of my all-time favorite curse words. Which is funny, b/c it isn't cursed at all... I mean, "cocksucker" is like calling someone a "boobsqueezer". It's a compliment!

But you're right, it originated as a word that was supposed to be disparaging, as in "you're gay".

But this goes back to "who is the person saying this" vs. the actual word. Meaning, if (when) I ran (run) into Chris Rock at Walgreens and he said (says) "Wassup, cracker?", I wouldn't (don't) think he's racist, but if Louis Farrakhan called me a cracker, I would.

Jason Bellamy said...

Combining bits of ideas expressed above, here's my take:

I find Rourke's comment more offensive, because I think it's obvious to everyone that "faggot" is a no-no term. This doesn't mean that Rourke is anti-gay. It means he's stupid or insensitive or both.

I think using "colored" is an easy slip to make. The word itself is perfectly acceptable if not tied to race. And in conversations of race, it is considered p.c. to say "people of color," which is pretty much the same thing. The difference is that "colored" has a, well, colored history. If there were signs above drinking fountains in the 50s that said "people of color," that currently acceptable expression would be a no-no, too.

Beyond that, as a few have pointed out, no one uses the word "colored" anymore, to the point that I'm not sure how a young person would learn NOT to use it. Follow me? We learn what's right and wrong from the behaviors of others. Yes, Lohan's use of the word COULD indicate that she's racist and/or hangs out with racist people. Or it could indicate that she had a slip of the tongue because she doesn't identify that as a no-no word, as she hopefully would with "n-----," which I won't even spell out.

I agree with Rick's thought process about the truth behind slips of the tongue in general, but not in this instance. "Exciting" and "amazing" were the words she chose because that's how she felt. "Colored" was a word she used along the way to expressing that. In this case, I think what she was trying to say says more about her. But it's a guess.

Is any of this a big deal? No. I could care less what Lohan says or thinks, provided it doesn't get out of hand to the point that she's shaping the culture. But I have to say I feel for her in this instance. We live in such a "gotcha" society now that a momentary lapse can get you branded for life. I don't see what we get out of that, other than drama and gossip. But that's just me.

Fox said...

Jason-

I would also guess that Lohan got that term from a family member in some trickle-down kind of way.

I also like how you brokedown the minor differences in the words "colored" vs. "person of color", b/c you're right, there is a HUGE gap in how those two phrases are perceived, yet they aren't too disimilar. It's another thing to think about when considering the origin of the powers that certain words/phrases carry.

But I respectfully disagree with you and Rick that this isn't a big deal. Well, big deal may be too heavy a phrase but I think it's relevant. Not relevant as it applies to Lohan and her career etc., but relevant to our culture.

I mean it wasn't so long ago that our Vice President elect was in hot water over his "Obama is a clean African-American" comment. Ten years ago I doubt it would've had legs, but with YouTube and the internet you gotta watch everything you do.

Scrutiny is good, but scrutiny to the point where every one of us may one day need a publicist is another.

Jason Bellamy said...

I'm not sure we disagree. I think this conversation is relevant. I just don't think Lohan's comment means much in the grand scheme of things, UNLESS it spreads to the point that it's influencing the culture. My guess though is that it's a one-week gossip item, with a few jokes at Lohan's expense here and there for the coming months and that's it.

Also, it's worth noting that she's just an actress. She isn't running for public office. My well-being isn't in her hands.

Still, even with our elected officials, I wish the media would tone down the 'gotcha' games so we could have conversations in which the ISSUES matter and not the execution of the conversation.

bryan h. said...

I don't really think homophobe and racist and dichotomous, either-you-are-or-you-aren't distinctions. Hence, I don't think either instance here is merely a benign slip of the tongue; I've managed to go years without calling someone colored or a faggot, and it hasn't been hard at all.

If I had to guess, I suppose I'd be surprised if M. Rourke was vehemently homophobic or L. Lohan was a segregationist at heart but that's not to say they shouldn't be called out for being douchbags.

Boo-hoo if he loses out on an Academy Award nomination. Perhaps it'll teach him not to publicly insult gay people; I hear there's a few of them in that industry.

Fox said...

Bryan-

I take your comment seriously, and its tone wasn't funny at all... but you put the image of Lohan The Segregationist in my head and it made me laugh. It's making me imagine an SNL skit, perhaps, this weekend.

MovieMan0283 said...

Bush has been such an awful president that it's almost made me forget how goddamn obnoxious liberals are capable of being.

Should Rourke have used the word? Of course not. He also shouldn't have threatened the guy, but as you point out only his slur is newsworthy. And if it really destroys his Oscar chances (which I doubt it will), that's pretty pathetic. I mean look at the loathsome people the Academy has bestowed little golden men on. Roman Polanski anyone?

They certainly don't hand them out for good manners (unless it's the Jean Hersholt Award).

And the Lohan thing is beneath even humoring. I'm 99% positive she thought of it as equivalent to the term "people of color."

I hate this language police crap. Please tell me we're not in for years of PC backlash now that Republicans are no longer in ascendency...

Fox said...

Movieman-

It will be interesting to follow the Rourke thing. The LA Times had a poll up on it yesterday.

nick plowman said...

Ugh, so damn late to reply here, my bad.

"I mean, do you really think Mickey Rourke hates gay people"

Nope, I don't, so I guess I can understand then why you "defended" him, I get that, I just would have thought Rourke would have been a tiny bit smarter about how he uses his mouth in front of cameras. Mostly I just think he's a bit of a fool to use that word in public, have absolutely nothing against you or your defending him, not at all, just with Rourke's lack of public decency (even if it is just that one time that he lets his tongue get the better of him, hopefully he has learned from it.)

Yeah, so none of this is a big deal at all, lol, kinda feel stupid myself for making it out like it is.

I have used all kinds of awful words in life, even "faggot," but I have never said them in front of anyone who would take offence to them or anything like that. Doesn't make me better than Rourke, just proves I have a tiny bit more of self-control.

In closing, "cocksucker" is a great, great curse word. One of the best.

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