2.14.2011

Because I SAID SO

Dan Savage has now actually responded to Lindy West after it was presumably pointed out that his assholery was showing when he Ctrl-V'd his last one. Not that he does much better here.

You see, Dan Savage isn't fat bigot. Its just that all the bigoted things he says about fat people are true. Case closed.

Its the all too common "because I SAID SO" retort fat people get when they try to stand up for themselves. Fat acceptance is wrong, because it is wrong. Such rotund logic is never questioned or scrutinized. Fat people are all unhealthy because everyone knows fat people are unhealthy. Fat people choose to be fat because everyone knows fat people choose to be fat. Its not bullying to stigmatize fat people. Its just the truth. And helpful. Or both. Its certainly not bad, though, because everyone knows its right. It creates a vigorous feedback loop of concern trolling on display in pretty much all of the SLOG posts about this. Lots of people insisting that its not an insult because its true. One person even called on fat people to kill themselves and turned around and insisted they weren't against fat people.

The dangerous thing is they believe this. They are utterly oblivious to the fact that all bigots feel entitled to their prejudice. All bigots use the same exact defenses. Its not hate, because its true. It not bad, because I'm right. All they are really doing is reminding us that progressives are in no way immune from self-righteous bigotry. A chore, frankly, we could do with less of.

Dan says that he's not the enemy. That's just more delusion. What he means is that he feels a level of entitlement which affords him no remorse for his action. He tells us he is not the enemy because he doesn't feel like the enemy. He just feels right. He says he is not the enemy not to extend an olive branch, but to slap us into our place. Its not an expression of humility, but a command. He is not the enemy because HE SAID SO. He is demonstrating his disinterest in listening to us and opting instead to just assert.

The irony of this is that this dust-up started because Dan made fat people into the enemy. He defended gay marriage by acting like fat people were the opposition. He made us the enemy, but is outraged that the same might happen to him with far more justification. He is right and fat activists are just a bunch of dishonest liars for not agreeing with him. And vindictive. And codependent. But none of that is mean spirited. Its just right. Because HE SAID SO.

Its too easy to satirize this by pointing out how much he sounds like the homophobic bigot he rails against. All the same techniques he uses to demean and defame fat people should be REALLY familiar to him. It won't work, though. Not, at least, if we define working as getting Dan Savage to see the error in his ways. He'll no sooner do that that vicious anti-gay bigots who hate him. Here is the real big secret that Dan Savage will never be able to recognize even as its right in front of his face.

This isn't about him.

Oh, I'm sure a few people harbor some hope that he'll come around, but none of us who've dealt with his reflexive bigotry for years allows ourselves such misguided motivation. No, DAN, this isn't about you. Oh, sure, you've gotten us to say your name a lot. DAN. You should know better than that. You mock the morality police not to sway them, but to shame them. To make them fools before us all. Guess what, Dan. Its your turn.

We speak out against your vicious hatred for ourselves. We speak out against you to speak up for ourselves. To show others that we don't have to accept "Because I SAID SO" as a reason to keep quiet. To show that you will not and can not shut us up. We speak out for the same reasons so many stigmatized people have spoken out. To claim our voice from those who want to deny it from us. We speak out for the same reason you do, Dan. Its a shame you won't see that because you are too busy flattering your sense of moral righteousness. Its a shame you can't see the irony of your moralizing crusade. Its a shame, but its still not about you.

Because I said so. Because I get to decide my voice. Because I get to determine my own beliefs. Because this is the one time that retort makes sense.

12 comments:

Nancy Lebovitz said...

One more thing-- I think Dan Savage makes his living, not just as a sex advice columnist, but as a sex advice columnist who's insulting a lot of the time. He's got more to lose by giving up bigotry about fat people than most, though perhaps he can be convinced that being nasty about fatphobia will do him as much good as being nasty about homophobia.

Anonymous said...

Almost all the things you accuse Dan of saying in your "because I SAID SO" rant are things he didn't actually say. Pot meet kettle.

Go back and reread his "ban fat marriage" post. Then read this comment "I read your "Ban Fat Marriage" post. Applying the arguments for position X to analogous position Y in order to show that both arguments are spurious and indefensible is a standard and often effective tactic."

Stop playing the victim, it ruins your work.

Brian said...

It is telling, Anonymous, that your defense of Savage is "Because I SAID SO".

I've covered what is problematic about his Ban Fat Marriage post elsewhere. The "satire" of his call to ban fat marriage is undermined by the sincerity of the bigotry he expresses. The satire is premised on an acceptance of prejudice of fat people. Prejudice Dan Savage aggressively defends. That is a problem. That Savage doesn't agree is extraordinarily immaterial.

silentbeep said...

Dan is typical of so many people's reaction to fat people: Dan is a self-proclaimed expert on obesity apparently, since he apparently knows us better than we know ourselves! And the thing about self-proclaimed experts is that they know everything there is about being fat, and the people who currently actually are fat, know nothing. Dan has universalized his experience with fatness, to the entire planet.

Brian said...

The oblivious defenses of Savage are a sight to behold. So many people saying, "Calm down, it was just satire. Besides, it was true". You don't get to say both of those things. The second statement disproves the first.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
silentbeep said...

Anon: "atttention whore"? Nice slut shaming language there.

Brian said...

I was more forgiving than usual for the first "anonymous" post, but trolling is not tolerated here and will be removed.

Frances said...

"It sounds like you're externalizing an internal conflict about being fat"

OH, WHAT!?! I can't even...

Brian said...

Oh, didn't you know? If we take issue with dehumanizing treatment, its because we don't have a strong sense of self-worth. Obviously.

wriggles said...

Dear Anonymaus, were you able read it yourself from your position of supine genuflection?

His attempt at satire was derailed by his belief that they are not analogous thereby turning it into an injustice that fat people are not denied rights. Rather than about the denial of gay people or the arseholery of the senator.

He didn't even bother to check his assertions about life expectancy were correct. (They were not).

He could have asked why they do not allow lesbians to marry but no mind, we know about how they are often erased in discussions about gay people.

Sleepydumpling said...

I'm dealing with a lot of the same thing on the Facebook pages for the interviews a few of us here in Australia have done for Triple J's Hack programme. Your third paragraph sums up EVERY response that has appeared on the pages. And when those are challenged, we are called emotional, angry, bitter or as you yourself experienced, our comprehension and literacy are thrown into question.

These are tactics to just get us to shut up and go away. To shout us down with the same thing over and over and over, without ever acknowledging what we say. The thing is, it is so pointless even attempting to get past the BECAUSE I SAID SO argument that eventually we do just go away.

Frustration!

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