Sunday, November 12, 2006

the real meaning of "punk"

now that the election is over, i'd been hoping advance indiana's gary welsh would chill out a bit so i could stop writing about him. alas, i got an email yesterday from wilson allen (former julia carson staffer and volunteer, as mentioned previously) noting that gary welsh had banned him from advance indiana because of comments he'd made on this post. my first reaction was surprise—not because i didn't think gary would do such a thing, but because i didn't know one could do such a thing using blogger and blogspot. the only way i know of to "ban" a commenter using blogger would be to turn on comment moderation and reject all that person's comments. technically, that would do the trick, but it seems like a lot of work just to spite one person. (and gary hasn't turned on comment moderation that i can see, either.)

after i got over my confusion, i took a closer look. in the post in question, gary links to a column by amos brown as proof that the infamous anti-dickerson mailers were targeted at white voters. of course, the column itself doesn't say that. gary's evidence is at best circumstancial; it surely doesn't prove his point. but anyway...

in the comments under that post, known homophobe jocelyn-tandy adande called wilson "punk46201". wilson objected, because "'punk' is a well-known offensive term used against gay males", and repeated the allegation (which he's made several times before) that jocelyn recently "screamed FAGGOT at me after a political event!"

a regular commenter called indyernie responded that wilson should get over it because "I'm sure Jocelyn isn't the first to call you a faggot." then gary responded, denying that punk is an antigay slur and threatening, "Keep it up and you will be barred from commenting further on this site." so whether gary actually did (or even can) ban wilson, he definitely threatened to do so.

so i went to urban dictionary, perhaps the best site on the net for looking up slang. there are currently 145 definitions up for "punk", the majority of which are white kids discussing "punk rock" and arguing whether bands like green day and good charlotte are "punk" or not. these definitions, taken as a whole, are an unintentionally hilarious peek into music snobbery, as various people try to prove that they're better (or at least "more punk") than the other posters. but i think we can all agree that jocelyn wasn't saying that wilson is a punk-rocker, so let's ignore all that silliness.

scroll down to definition #8 and we find this:

Originally, jail lingo for a subservient, cuckolded inmate indebted to another for protection and in return obliged to perform favors both of a sexual nature and otherwise.

i'm not sure this person knows what "cuckold" means, but that does sound like an antigay slur to me. moving on to page 2 of definitions, #s 15 and 18 have antigay connotations. on page 3, #s 21, 23, 24, 27, and 30 all list antigay connotations. and so on. in summary, "punk" is disparaging prison slang for a "bottom": the catcher, not the pitcher.

i posted a comment pointing this out, and gary replied that "It's quite a stretch when you have to look that deep into an obscure dictionary to get that kind of a meaning out of the word." (which is humorous considering how much he had to stretch for in his post.) so i looked it up on merriam webster. look at definition 3c: "slang : a young man used as a homosexual partner especially in a prison". encarta, too, and also dictionary.com.

clearly, no matter what gary says, "punk" is an antigay slur (when not referring to punk rock or those who listen to it), and given what we know about jocelyn-tandy's views on homosexuality, that is obviously what she meant. it's not surprising that commenters on a right-wing blog would gay-bash like that, but considering that gary himself is gay (and a big supporter of lgbt issues) it's disappointing to say the least that it goes on at advance indiana... and that gary is apparently now more likely to side with the gay-bashers than against them, to the point that he would threaten someone with banishment for even bringing it up.

as for whether gary actually has banned wilson, or whether he is even capable of doing so, i don't know. (i'm inclined to believe that he can't really ban anyone per se, though if he wanted to be really anal about it [excuse the pun], he could manually delete any of wilson's comments as soon as he discovers them.)

4 comments:

Steph Mineart said...

Punk is absolutely an alternative to "faggot" used in the black community, so not terribly surprising that she would throw it out. And I find it hard to believe that Gary doesn't know that.

And on top of that Adande outright called Wilson a fag in comments on IndyUndercover at one point, and several other commenters have spoken in equally disparaging ways about him on that site and then crossed over to make positive comments about Gary on Advance Indiana. So for Gary to sit around parsing the meaning of the word punk is pretty irrelevant, and to defend her or other commenters is disgusting.

One thing I also noticed recently that makes me laugh out loud -- Gary often refers to himself in the third person as AI, which makes me laugh given his attacks on you for having a pseudonym.

Wilson46201 said...

I doubt if I will even try to comment again at AI - poor Gary has so sunk into the cesspool of pathological Julia-hating that he welcomes well-known public homophobes as allies but excoriates and bans me for protesting such behavior ...

AdvanceIndiana is morphing into a blog for Eric Miller's AdvanceAmerica. Gary was even chortling with glee at having helped defeat Ed Mahern, one of the staunchest allies of LGBT folk at the Statehouse!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I had no idea this blog existed. I stumbled across it from a link at TDW today.

What a breath of fresh air! It's great to finally find a blog that understands what Gary and AI is about.

Every time I tried to post a comment to AI that Gary did not agree with, he refused to approve it for posting. Just the other day, after Wilson Allen made the comment about 'punk', I posted what would have been the first response to Wilson's post, a comment simply saying that 'punk' was a derogatory term, most often used in prisons, but clearly against gays and typically by blacks -- which he refused to post. It's a terribly demeaning term to call a black male (or any other man) a 'punk' -- it infers they're a 'lowly faggot'.

Contrary to Gary's snide remark about digging so deep to try to find a definition for 'punk' that was derogatory to gays, it's clearly such a term.

I remember when Gary began AI. I was filled with hope that it would be a wonderful breath of fresh air in the LGBT community, a counter to the WORD. Early on Gary demonstrated wonderful writing skills, and a journalism tone that was appreciated by many of us in the community. I thought he was a Republican, but that made no difference, since early on his sense of fairness, and 'just the news'-style of writing seemed great.

But then he turned. Or at least he began to reveal himself to be a rabid Republican who turned his blog into a hate-filled cesspool of anything anti-Democrat. It's not a stretch to consider that Gary may have some serious internal homophobia that he's dealing with as well. (As do many other gay Republicans)

Everything about Gary was suddenly revealed in the bright light of day as unattractive -- physically, morally and ethically. It's an ugly package. And that's too bad. Because he had a wonderful opportunity to make a contribution to our community. Now he's lost that chance. His is simply a dirty little blog of little consequence to anyone, run by an apparently nasty little man who's dealing with his own demons.

Glad to have found your blog!

Anonymous said...

Gary has posted on his AI blog that Indpls Monthly has given his blog a nice plug. Whenever I try to post a comment he deletes it. :0)

I'll post it here so he can read it:

"The magazine must have written the story before AI morphed into yet another cesspool of right wing nutterballs run by paranoid bloggers."