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VISIONS OF MANLINESS PRESENTS: Sportsblogging Without Balls

[Welcome back to your regularly scheduled Tiger Beatdown! But wait: IS it your regularly scheduled Tiger Beatdown? Maybe it is not! In fact, it is definitely not! Because we are currently in the midst of VISIONS OF MANLINESS, a very exciting Tiger Beatdown THEME POST PARTYYYY (woo) staffed entirely by Some Dudes! Talking about things of concern to the dudes! Like: Sports. Yes, sports. Look, the sporting contests are of some keen interest to the gentlemen, apparently, all right? And you know what's fun, when dudes get to talking about sports with dudes: You start to get the sense of what ELSE they're talking about, while you're in the kitchen with their girlfriends discussing, I don't know, whether you're actually wearing the right bra size. Or something. Today's manly contributor is familiar Tiger Beatdown guestfriend B. Michael Payne. A man with feelings about sports! And about how people discuss them!]

April is for two things: The opening day of baseball, and the one line everyone knows from that one TS Eliot poem. Since it is the time of year when even staunch sports agnostics may see the game on TV and ask, Hey what’s the score?, it seems like a good occasion to write about sports. So let’s talk about homophobia in popular sports culture.

gay rod

Drew Magary is a creative, intelligent writer. He’s a founding member of the once-funny sports blog Kissing Suzy Kolber. He is a published author with a real book. He’s been on TV. He now writes for Deadspin, the most popular sports blog on the Internet. I’d been a longtime reader of Kissing Suzy Kolber. (Let’s say, they were better before they signed to a major [blog] label.) When his book came out, I sat in Barnes and Noble, bought a large coffee, and skimmed almost all of it. I thought it was pretty funny! I think Magary’s funny and not at all rancorous. I’m sure his many, many readers likely feel similarly. He’s the cool older guy who’s lived in New York, and now he lives in the suburbs dispensing wisdom to a large number of 18 to 34 year old men. And it’s specifically this aspect of what I’ll call KSK culture, the “KSK Fantasy [sports]/Sex Advice Mailbags,” “Great Moments in Drunken Hookup Failure” (which could also be titled “Attempted Date Rape: The Ones Who Got Away”), and so on, that I want to talk about.

But you’re reading a feminist  blog. Why do you want to read about men and sports blogs? Well, let me tell you. Magary’s (and let’s just say right now, a large section of sportsblogging culture of which I specifically selected Magary–because his writing is good and popular while being bad in popular ways) his effect on his readers is ultimately pernicious, atavistic, and culturally important to everyone in the way that cancer would be physically important to you.

There’s not a lot of coverage of gays in sports, but it’s obviously an important thing to talk about:

  1. My limited empirical experience shows that the most casually homophobic-seeming people tend to be the biggest sports fans — young men — who use and abuse their mouths in lunchrooms, on Xbox Live, on campus, in the office, at the bar, in your house, everywhere.
  2. Sports is one of the deeply proscribed spheres that tolerates close, casual contact among people of the same sex. The stereotypical ass slap (the ‘good game’), group showers, shared hotel rooms — all these are ingrained aspects of sports.
  3. The issue of homosexuality in sports is analogous to homosexuality in the military, which is frequently a pretty fucking big deal. Last week, retired general John Sheehan blamed genocidal acts in Bosnia on homosexuality in the Dutch military. Such claims, most agree, are patently in-fucking-sane.

good game

On a related note, Drew Magary has a twice weekly question and answer column entitled “Fun Bags,” the idea for which he entirely did not borrow from Bill Simmons.

On 4 March 2010, a reader identified as ‘Trooper’ asks,

How long do you think it will be before we have an out and proud athlete in one of the four major American sports?

This is a more thoughtful brand of question than the Fun Bags usually see. Also, there is an answer to it, which means that Magary’s subsequent answer is actually, provably wrong, not to say completely unresearched. (It seems completely unresearched.) ESPN has an extremely thoughtful page, which is the first Google return for the search ‘openly gay pro athletes.’ It was published 18 December 1998, which is roughly twelve days after the Internet was invented. Not mentioned on this page is former NBA player John Amaechi, who came out after retirement.

I swear to god, I enjoy and appreciate Magary’s work roughly 54% of the time. And he gives a pretty reasonable-looking response to Trooper’s question.

It’ll be forever. Whoever does it will be someone who came out at an early age and enters whichever league an already-known gay quantity. I doubt you’ll ever see some guy who is already a pro suddenly pipe up, HEY! I’M GAY! There are a lot of reasons for this. First off, too many pro athletes are nutjob Evangelicals who fucking hate gays. How many white baseball players out there love to hunt and listen to country music? FUCKING ALL OF THEM. It’s uncanny. 75% of Rascal Flatts’ revenue comes from Major League Baseball players. Not the sort of guys who like themselves the gay. And I don’t think many Latino players are all that pro-gay, either. Very macho culture, as Razor Ramon taught me.

Stereotyping swaths of cultures as hating homosexuality seems a little broad-brush, but since I’m even writing this post, let’s accept Magary’s characterizations as eo ipso true. Many people hate homosexuality. Religious people are crazy. ‘Latino’ players—exemplified by a white, American wrestler play-acting an ethnic stereotype—are also too macho to tolerate homosexuality. Basically, to be gay is to be like a woman, and as this Tiger Beatdown makes clear (continuously), being a woman means you are bad. To be gay means to be bad, as well. Negativity is a transitive property based on what sort of external sex organs you want in and around you. Since all professional athletes of note are men, none of them are women. Therefore, none of them are gay. It’s unlikely there will be a professional gay athlete until there are professional women athletes (i.e., never).

Magary never seems to consider that the ‘very macho culture’ and Rascal Flatts-loving culture are created or at least reinforced by sports blogs like Deadspin and KSK. He treats them as a priori categories of human existence. As if country music preceded human existence. As if being masculine existed before men. As if our ideals of sexuality have existed as long as the houses of Gryffindor and Hufflepuff. I.e., he’s just pointing out the cultural problem, which he’s not a part of and in no way influences with his hugely popular sports blog posts.

Magary continues.

I’ll go ahead and freely admit now that, when I was in high school, I could easily be characterized as a homophobe. I used the word faggot all the time (even more than I do now!). I adored Dice Clay. I didn’t think gays deserved rights or anything else other than ridicule. I didn’t LIKE gays. At all. And not for any sort of bullshit moral reason. No, I was that way because I enjoyed it, and I suspect many other homophobes also hate gays simply because they like to hate them. I could blame youth or growing up in the ’80s for how I felt, but that’s a bullshit excuse. It’s embarrassing and shameful and I wish I’d never felt that way.

It didn’t take long for me to do a complete 180 on that old mentality and become extremely liberal in my attitudes towards gays and very supportive of gay rights. This is because I got older, settled down, and realized that inherently disliking gays (or any people outside of Duke fans) is pointless, stupid, and cruel. Some men need to grow up to reach that conclusion, and pro sports is an arena in which players are encouraged to NEVER grow up. Hence, HEY GUYS, GARY’S A FAG!!!!!

And:

I don’t think [there will be an ‘out and proud athlete’] for at least another 20 years. Sad but true.

Also, Jimmy Clausen eats cock.

Let’s retain the closing rhetorical gesture because it’s probably important, but I’ll start at the beginning. I’ve emphasized Magary’s characterization of his homophobia as being ‘characterizable as’ rather than being a full-blown case of hating the gays. But then he goes on to say that… he liked to hate gays. Anyway, I don’t think he’s distancing himself from his past. He seems really sincere, actually. But it’s really difficult to start out a paragraph by saying ‘I was a homophobe,’ and Magary doesn’t do that above. But he seems genuinely troubled by his former antipathy for gays. He seems like a mature guy who’s actually met and liked some gays.

drews twitter

It’s well taken, his point that professional sports fosters in its athletes a state of perpetual adolescence. There’s probably something to that. When you’re asked to perform the same action thousands of times per year in basically the same manner you have since age 4, it’s probably hard to be very self-reflexive. Keeping athletes in a perpetual state of adolescence is a sort of noble lie. But I’m guessing most of Magary’s readers aren’t pro athletes; they’re expected to grow up. And it’s Magary’s ostensible maturity that’s the pernicious part of the entire situation. For all of his grown-up attitudes and profession that ‘gays deserve rights,’ he’s very simply and effectively transmitting homophobia in its natural state. When he concludes his answer by saying, ‘Also, Jimmy Clausen eats cock,’ it’s as if he’s giving a big wink to the audience. He’s saying, ‘Ok guys. We had our serious talk. Don’t bash gays. Keep it clean, go out there, and play hard.’

It’s as when the speed limit is 65MPH, but you can really drive about 75MPH, but in this case ‘speed limit’ is ‘gays deserve rights’ and ‘really drive 75′ is ‘Jimmy Clausen eats a cock,’ i.e., ‘homophobia is still very funny to me and very much of a part of my life.’

Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. Magary’s beliefs are like the beliefs of basically everyone about basically everything. There’s a supposed law of logic called the Law of the Excluded Middle, which says briefly that it’s impossible for a thing to be a thing and not be that same thing, simultaneously. You can’t be alive and dead at the same time. Of course, we know that that’s not true at all in practice. What about the person in a coma? The patient etherized on the table? The cubicle drone? People all over the world are simultaneously alive and dead. In the same way, Magary (and us, very likely) are simultaneously homophobic and not homophobic. Most of our friends who say things like, ‘That shit’s so gay’ are not the same people who would beat the living hell out of a homosexual. But the sedimented notions of sexuality perform a subtle alchemy on our day-to-day lives that leads imperceptibly but inevitably to casual rape culture, misogyny, hate crimes—all the ugly shit no one owns up to but everyone contributes to.

On 23 March 2010, someone identified as ‘Price’ tells us about how he heard about people talking about Dominican baseball players’ sexual habits.

I want to let you know about what many Dominican baseball players do when they first come to the US. In the Dominican culture, it is acceptable to have sex with another man. There’s a bunch of stuff I’m not clear on about it, but from what I’ve heard the “pitcher” is not gay because he just needs a release, and the “catcher” isn’t gay because he is just helping out a buddy. But in some cases, the “catcher” is gay if he enjoys it. I don’t know, something like that.

Anyway, pro teams in the US have to spend a lot of time with some players to break them of the “habit” once they come stateside.

To hear Price talk, it sounds like Mark Greif was onto something. Gays really are our utopian heroes. They destabilize and reshape the existing social order of… baseball. Their practices are a ‘habit’ that needs to be broken. But what does ‘habit,’ really mean, here? The habit is the causality mechanism by which we can essentialize, separate, and ultimately eradicate homosexuality. If the sexual act is normal, i.e., involves the mere insertion of the penis into a warm, dark opening, then it is not gay. Because that’s what guys do. Guys want to stick their dicks into someone. And it’s not gay if you’re simply a hole. Because women who get fucked by men are not gay; they’re a hole for the dick. The normal sexual algebra of fucker = pleasure, fuckee = no pleasure is staunchly heterosexual. As soon as the fuckee = pleasure, though. Well, that is so gay. Dude.

Of course, when we frame things explicitly, as such, they sound ridiculous. And so of course, the reader is meant to think, ‘Yeah those Dominicans are wicked fucking gay.’ So how does Magary essentialize the Dominicans?

HOLY SHIT! Well, of course, there is some precedent to this accusation, yet I have so many questions. First of all, given their rules of what is “gay” and what is apparently “not gay,” is it fair to say that the Dominican Republic is clearly some kind of island prison? If the catcher isn’t gay just because he’s helping a friend, how do we explain away the cuddling?

And what goes into de-gaying these players? Do they bring in one of those reformed gay Evangelical guys who is still CLEARLY gay, in fact gayer than ever? Do the coaches have buckets of cold water ready to deploy at all times? If a Dominican player gets horny, does the team have a stable of available pussy ready to deploy so that the horny player does NOT fuck a man? How many cocks has Sammy Sosa sucked? I bet he’s sucked a BUSHEL of them. Do reformed gay Dominicans suck on bats to wean themselves?

This is (not) a perfectly reasonable response. On the one hand, Magary acknowledges the complete absurdity of the ‘de-gaying’ process. It is fun and easy to indicate the hypocrisy of religious and political leaders who are ostensibly homophobic while engaging in homosexual activity. On the other hand, Magary is magnanimously homophobic in his caricatured depiction of Sammy Sosa’s sucking a bushel of cocks. Because it’s funny. It’s funny that men suck other men’s cocks. Isn’t that funny? That’s really funny. Maybe they suck on baseball bats because they’re not allowed to suck on cocks. That’s hilarious. Clearly, ‘gays deserve rights,’ but those rights come at the cost of being made fun of at every step. Women ‘deserve rights,’ but they’re basically nothing more than a hole to fuck. It is funny/true that there would be a ‘stable of pussy’ available on demand to de-gay the Dominican baseball players. That’s very funny and definitely signals to the reader that gays and straights are pretty much cut from the same cloth, are meant to be treated fairly and equally.

Magary concludes,

I find this shit fascinating. You know those assholes who decry all the Tiger coverage and are always like, “Well, I don’t care WHAT he does in the privacy of his own bedroom.” Really? I do. I totally care. I’ll never stop being intrigued by golfers banging porn stars and Pedro Martinez boning his midget. And you can eat shit if you think you’re all above that.

Ultimately, this is probably the most troubling and harmful takeaway from Magary’s (and sportsblogging’s, blogging’s, culture’s, the dominant heteronormative paradigm’s) work: We need to know about your business. We need to know if you’re gay or not because gaydar isn’t a real thing and we need to know whether we can 1.) trust you around our precious assholes; 2.) engage in pretty fucking gay stuff with you without actually being gay (known as the It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia Casual Homophobia For LOLz Corollary); 3.) make fun of you behind and in front of your back. Athletes’ code of sexual conduct needs to be in the open because it’s nearly impossible to essentialize professional athletes as homosexual. Pro athletes are practically eo ipso heterosexual, so we need to know what they do in bed. And if you think you’re ‘above’ that, then fuck you. (But not literally.) (Unless you’re a woman.)

Why is it important to know athletes’ sexuality? There are theoretical works and books by people significantly more perspicuous than us. My idea is that this knowledge is generally desirable because it’s interesting. It’s interesting to know that your neighbor’s upside down on his mortgage. It’s interesting to know that your boss has a cocaine problem. It’s interesting to know about people’s flaws. And to a homophobe, homosexuality is a flaw. I personally find it sickening that Magary tweets daily about his healthful life decisions, that he writes about being a parent, that he writes about his vague idea that ‘gays deserve rights’ while he continuously undermines the ostensibly mature thrust of his writing. Because he has a huge audience. His words reach, I surmise,  fucking lots of people. Every week he likely receives hundreds of emails to publish, and every week he publishes a disgusting email about gays or women, thereby inviting more. Every week he thinks he’s doing good when he’s really only doing well.

I imagine his main defense would sound pretty cogent: ‘Hey, I just write dick jokes. I write about bowel movements. I write about fucking grown men wearing tights trying to hit a tiny ball with a piece of wood. It’s not important.’ But more eloquent people have made the same defense. (‘The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls.‘) I wasn’t really impressed then, and I’m still not. Magary reaches thousands of people, and more importantly, most of his audience is comprised of the very people who are susceptible to homophobia. Because by his own admission and by my own fucking reading his columns all the time, we both know that his audience is immature, crass, young, and male. His audience is made up, very likely and in large part, of the homophobes.

So what I’m basically claiming is that, to use his own terms, Magary is a man with no balls. He fails to stand up to rampant homophobia and sexism because it’s fucking easy and it gets pageviews and makes him money. I’m interested to see if Magary has a set.

[B. Michael Payne web 2.0s at The Cost of B. Michael's Truly Epic Shit and various projects linked from there.]

21 Comments

  1. GarlandGrey wrote:

    His point is further undercut by the fact that Rascal Flatts came out with a song last year, “Love Who You Love,” which was profile on CMT’s web site (http://ow.ly/1wjbQ). And the kicker? The band didn’t totally distance itself from a gay reading of the song: “If you are someone who’s gay or someone who’s straight, you still feel something from the song, and that’s what we want.”

    I think part of Magary macho swagger bad boy image is undercut by the fact that he still feels compelled to play to the chuckleheads that call into AM radio programs to yell stupid things and be embarrassing.

    This is a great post. I’m reminded of the flak surrounding Kazuhito Tadano, the former pitcher for the Indians, when it came out that he had done gay porn. When the controversy broke he was trotted out to assert over and over again that he wasn’t gay. Everyone rallied around him for the cameras, then they unloaded him as soon as they could to a team from Japan. Disgusting.

    Thursday, April 8, 2010 at 10:18 pm | Permalink
  2. Jess wrote:

    I am super-tired, so I have very little constructive feedback at present. To air my rough and unedited thoughts, though: I participated in a sports culture when I was in school (I was part of two varsity sports, one club) and found the attitude to be very similar. Common among the men I played with was the “apology through allusion to faggotry” maneuver. If a guy said something hurtful to another man — especially if the first guy was an alpha male in the group — he would make up for it by lisping, talking in a high pitched voice, and groping the other man. It was a temporary disempowerment, engaged as a way of undermining his hurtful statement. I think this contributed to a culture where I felt grateful that I (as a lesbian) was ‘allowed’ and ‘included’ on the team. (Note: I was the womens team captain, so this is extra-absurd. Hey hey internalized homophobia!)

    Finally, I wanted to note that I am super-gay for you, BMichael! Good game!

    Friday, April 9, 2010 at 12:18 am | Permalink
  3. Samantha b. wrote:

    “No, I was that way because I enjoyed it, and I suspect many other homophobes also hate gays simply because they like to hate them.
    I wonder to what extent homophobia here is simply a straight up power play, an assertion of privilege with no specific aim beyond the assertion of privilege. I’m no sports fan, so I’m probably/definitely not at all the right person to address this, but it strikes me that there’s somewhat a dichotomy going on for many fans. My sense is that there is, for many, a vicarious assertion of power, a sense of alpha maleness by the transitive property. And yet on the other hand, once they go down this road, they’re simultaneously affirming their own submissiveness. It may give them a (probably fleeting) sense of primacy over the schmuck down the street, but you know, it’s also categorizes them as, hey, A-rod’s bitch, as it were. They’re categorically not at the tippy top of the social hierarchy by their own set of terms. So the homophobia here is often just a means to push back at that sense of male inadequacy, to push one’s self higher up on the societal totem pole?

    Friday, April 9, 2010 at 8:44 am | Permalink
  4. Sarah TX wrote:

    On the ladies side of this equation, there’s good ol’ women’s college basketball, where coaches openly and actively participate in both negative recruiting and outright discrimination of lesbian players.

    And here’s a Washington Post article about negative recruiting in college basketball.

    Friday, April 9, 2010 at 10:17 am | Permalink
  5. emjaybee wrote:

    Like the military, sports bears the burden of being The Way That Boys are Made Into Men. Goes back to the 19th century, when organized sports began, and the obsession with health/purity/manliness, and sports was designated a way to inculcate those values in young men and boys. (WHY the 19th century was so obsessed with these things is a matter of debate, but surely the rise of the first women’s-rights movements and the fears of immigrant “impurity” played a role).

    So the role of *organized* sports has, in a sense, *always* been about homophobia, or rather about the Fear of Insufficient Masculinity. I mean, take Teddy Roosevelt as Exhibit No. 1 and go from there.

    Which is why there is so much resistance to change. Many men seem to derive their identities, as men, from their connection to sports. Make sports gay-friendly and woman-friendly, (and the military too) and there’s no space for the Cult of Real Masculinity to call home anymore. Except maybe in the survivalist camps and cults.

    Friday, April 9, 2010 at 11:48 am | Permalink
  6. V. wrote:

    The funny part is, I have little doubt that if a star baseball player came out, the fans of his team would do an abrupt about-face on their casual homophobia. They’d go into apoplexies of righteousness at the opposing fans’ gay jokes, and agitate to ban crude t-shirts, and so on and so forth. (And then as soon as the gay player had a bad game/week/month, the homophobia would creep back in, slower and more coded.)

    The amnesiac switches I have seen fans do, once a player they formerly hated is in the proper-colored laundry! An openly gay pro player would face a lot of hardship I have no doubt, but it would also be a darkly hilarious social experiment.

    Friday, April 9, 2010 at 11:54 am | Permalink
  7. Brownie wrote:

    I agree with all of this, but I think that in order to be effective in writing for this audience (instead of that annoying guy yelling at them to stop doing what they like to do) Magary has to talk their language to a certain extent. For instance, I really loved this question/answer from Tuesday’s mailbag:

    Jake:

    Would you rather have a gay son or a daughter that is a huge porn star. This was a pretty big debate among my roommates. If the gay son was real flamboyant and a figure skater or something I would rather have the porn star.

    Then you’re a fucking idiot. I get this question all the time. “Hey, would you rather have a gay kid or a retarded kid?” It’s 2010, people. I’d FAR prefer the gay kid. Any day. Fuck, I’d prefer to have a gay kid over a hetero kid. They’d be cleaner. They’d enjoy cooking with me. They’d be less likely to have grandkids, which I’d have to end up supporting. A porn star kid? No fucking thank you. A well-adjusted gay kid? I’d go to fucking church every week for that. If he ends up just like Anthony from Project Runway, all the better. That guy is the SHIT.
    —-

    Sure, there’s some casual stereotypes in there too, but in order to not be taken as a strident ass who no one is going to listen to, I think he almost has to do that.

    Friday, April 9, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Permalink
  8. Sady wrote:

    @Brownie: Actually, the “A porn star kid? No fucking thank you” line is really reprehensible in and of itself. I totally love it when dudes cure The Social Ills of Homophobia by talking about how much they just fucking hate sluts, don’t you?

    Friday, April 9, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Permalink
  9. b michael wrote:

    @brownie I totally saw that one and I was like, *relish,* and at first I thought, Well, that’s a reasonable answer. And then, I was like, well except for the being down on women and putting gays into a neat heterosexually constituted eidos. Gays are fine as long as they don’t *ever* seem like they’re sexually interested in a straight dude and as long as they stick to Bravo channel shows and cook/clean–oh yeah, like women.

    Friday, April 9, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Permalink
  10. Katarin wrote:

    ESPN recently asked NHL players a bunch of random questions. One of them was, “Do you think there are gay players in your locker room” and 42 percent said yes. So the idea that somehow players aren’t down with it is sort of ridiculous.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nhl/insider/news/story?id=5025296&action=login&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fnhl%2finsider%2fnews%2fstory%3fid%3d5025296

    Friday, April 9, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Permalink
  11. Yes, it’s very clear that you *don’t* read KSK any more, because Drew hasn’t been responsible for the sex and fantasy football mailbag for about a year now. If you HAD been reading, you’d know that I, the author of those mailbags, go to great lengths to dispel typical jock/fratboy/homophobic behavior.

    If the KSK mailbag is, as you say, part of “the KSK culture,” then our culture is one that’s moving the gay rights forward much more effectively than yours. Piss off and die alone.

    Friday, April 9, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Permalink
  12. Sarah TX wrote:

    Ah yes, insulting porn stars and “retarded kids”, all the while implying that gay kids are exactly like Anthony from Project Runway.

    I love Anthony to death, but I can guarantee his cheerfulness is a huge defense that he puts up to protect himself. Magary only “likes” gay people if they smile and caper and let him ignore the fact that he’s hella privileged to be a straight, white male in this country.

    Friday, April 9, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Permalink
  13. Amanda wrote:

    The KSK-ification of Deadspin is pretty much the reason I stopped reading there, after having been a commenter when the site first launched. I was never the target audience, obviously, but it’s gotten a lot more overtly hostile to anyone who’s not a straight dude. Even if the homophobia and sexism is supposed to be ironic, it’s way too toxic for me. (And Deadspin isn’t the only offender here, obviously, but it was disappointing to watch its decline in search of pageviews.)

    Friday, April 9, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Permalink
  14. Amanda wrote:

    And I just realized I put my group making-fun-of-bad-hair blog link here. Oops! It has now been corrected to my personal Tumblr. Which no one really cares about, but it was bugging me, so.

    Friday, April 9, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Permalink
  15. thebogusman wrote:

    This is sort of beside the point, but that ESPN article you link to about gay athletes does not appear to provide an answer to the reader’s question (has there been an openly gay athlete in one of the major American sports?), though you imply that it does. All I see are two former NFL players who came out after retirement, but I am assuming when the reader posed the question he was talking about active, out athletes.

    So all the athletes on that page either came out after retirement or competed in a sport that was of peripheral interest to mainstream American sports fans. I think that’s an important distinction, because that’s what was really behind the question: it’s not about whether homosexuals can compete with heterosexuals, since that question’s obviously absurd, but whether mainstream sports culture will grow tolerant enough so that the notion of an out athlete becomes feasible.

    I guess one notable player is Dennis Rodman, who identified as bisexual in his book, according to wikipedia

    Friday, April 9, 2010 at 11:19 pm | Permalink
  16. Sady wrote:

    @”Captain Caveman”: I’ll admit that I have a much easier time taking people seriously and not automatically dismissing them in my responses when they publish under their names, and not cute little monikers that make them sound like wacky morning DJs. And I think Payne may respond to you himself. But, as his editor, allow me to say:

    Stick it up your fun bags, “Captain Caveman.” I don’t read your shit, because it’s really clearly designed to be hostile to women and to keep them out of the conversation around sports, but you’re guilty of exactly the same sins Payne points out in Magary’s writing. There’s this mealy-mouthed “maturity” that consists of oh, okay, maayyyyyyyybe admitting that women and gays are like people or whatever, but it’s constantly undermined by an “ironic” (in the Alanis sense) embrace of objectification and language that continually degrades and demeans those groups.

    This is from the most recent Fantasy/Sports sex advice column. You answer a letter from a man who refers to a girl as a “sloppy drunken whore, and good to have around if you need a slump/nut busted.” (“He likely receives hundreds of emails to publish, and every week he publishes a disgusting email about gays or women, thereby inviting more.”)

    This dude is pretty fucking incoherent, but he seems to be worried that his plan to have a threesome with one of his dudebros, and also this girl, in the “least gay” manner possible, has resulted in this girl being offended and “she is really mad and sent me a mad/sad/funny text bitching about how we acted towards her.” Women and their bitching about blatant disrespect, am I right? (“Attempted Date Rape: The Ones Who Got Away.”)

    Your very mature advice is that this dude is totally fuckin so gay, and also, he needs to Respect Women More, which is of course exemplified by your writing that “sluts who you enjoy keeping around for your drunken desires should get BETTER treatment than, say, prissy bitches who don’t put out.” It’s as when the speed limit is 65mph but you can really go about 75, where “speed limit” is “treat women with respect” and “really go 75″ is “sluts who you enjoy keeping around for YOUR drunken desires (and not HERS, of course: the “normal sexual algebra” of fucker=pleasure, fuckee=no pleasure is not disturbed here) versus prissy bitches who don’t give out,” i.e., “I fucking hate women if they have sex with me, but having sex with me is all women are good for, so I hate them if they don’t let me have sex with them, also; basically, I just fucking hate women. Bitches and whores, every single one of them.”

    Yeah. You’re a fucking saint. They should give you a fucking Nobel Peace Prize for that one.

    I can verify that Payne is (not to overshare) a straight dude, who has, as a straight dude, been given plenty of opportunities to benefit from the widespread hatred for and degradation of women and gays. (Because if we’re all by default terrible bitch whore faggot sissy queer cunts, that gives y’all a chance to get ahead on our backs and seem that much better by comparison, right?) What he does instead is to treat people with respect, and contribute a substantial amount of his time and energy to writing about forms of oppression that don’t affect him directly (like: more, I think, than he ever writes about the ways he is in fact oppressed! And there are some fairly severe forms of discrimination that do affect him directly) and to building people up so that one day we can all just be treated like people. As a man who does this, he is well-liked, well-beloved, a favorite of the ladies, and substantially unlikely to ever be, much less die, alone.

    You, on the other hand. You might want to work on that “not alienating over 51% of the world’s population, and thereby denying yourself meaningful human contact” issue, I would think.

    And Payne never said that Magary was currently writing that column. And the articles he linked to, with dates, were from fucking Deadspin. Add “substantially illiterate, or just a lazy reader, which is fucking tragic for a dude who has to read and respond to things for a living” to your list of charming qualities, I guess.

    Saturday, April 10, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Permalink
  17. Brad Nelson wrote:

    But the sedimented notions of sexuality perform a subtle alchemy on our day-to-day lives that leads imperceptibly but inevitably to casual rape culture, misogyny, hate crimes—all the ugly shit no one owns up to but everyone contributes to.

    This is always an important thing to say. Thank you for saying it, B.

    Saturday, April 10, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Permalink
  18. blucas wrote:

    “(But not literally.) (Unless you’re a woman.)”

    This is making me wish you’d do a 1 x 10E10 word post examining various uses of the phrase “(no homo)” in rap music.

    Also this:

    “When you’re asked to perform the same action thousands of times per year in basically the same manner you have since age 4, it’s probably hard to be very self-reflexive.”

    brought to mind this interview with Jim Tressel from last week:

    http://www.outsports.com/os/index.php/component/content/article/57-interviews/302-jim-tressel-everybody-is-important

    —-

    “What we have, quite often, with our athletes, and with a number of young people in any sport, is that from the time they were 6 or 7 years old, their identity has been through sports,” Coach says. “You’re the tallest, you’re the fastest, you’re the best player. All their feedback has come in terms of their role as a player, and they are often hesitant to go beyond that narrow role.”

    “An opportunity, and a real challenge, we have when they come to college is to get them to see themselves with a broader lens. What are their interests? What are their dreams? What are the principles they believe in? We want our guys to define themselves in terms of ‘who they are’ and not simply ‘what they do’ with a certain block of their time. The greatest achievement we can have as coaches is that a young man leaves us with a concept of who he is, what he wants from life, and what he can share with others – someone who is ‘comfortable in his own skin,’ and that identity can go in a number of directions.”

    But what if a player on the OSU football team were to come out as gay, I want to know. What advice would Tressel offer him? Would the team, fans and University be supportive?

    “We strive to teach and model appreciation for everyone,” Tressel says. “One, we are a family. If you haven’t learned from your family at home that people have differences and those strengthen the whole, then you are hopefully going to learn it as part of the Ohio State football family.”

    —-

    So maybe it won’t be so long before we see a prominent out-and-proud athlete, after all.

    And finally, HI BRAD NELSON

    Saturday, April 10, 2010 at 9:51 pm | Permalink
  19. Bmichael wrote:

    Caveman

    I am -really- glad you read this post. Ostensibly. You are right–I really don’t read ksk anymore. I said that and it’s true. If
    you really wanted to flex nuts, you could have done some reading comp and noticed I cited the (my words) ksk-ification of sports culture and blogging. So yeah, I know drew doesn’t write those simmons-aping columns on ksk. He’s too busy ripping off simmons on a more popular blog.

    The larger reason I don’t read ksk anymore,
    honestly, is that it is alarmingly unfunny. Sorry I’m not familiar with the roster. Who captions the funny Jerry Jones photos now? Is it you? Who captions the Phil Rivers
    photos? It is -so hard- to keep your authorial voices straight. Which one of
    you is responsible for making fun of the sawwwwx fan, again? That one is pretty funny. It’s great that you point out his closet/blatant racism and homophobia. Those Pats fans are so obnoxious, amiright? Unlike all the other ones.

    Anyway, ksk writer(s), I sincerely hope you all have a good time of it and take care and consider the language you use to talk about women the minorities and the gays. Or, you know. What’s the common Internet salutation? Eat a warm bag of dicks? I know ice t said
    that recently.

    Saturday, April 10, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Permalink
  20. Brad Nelson wrote:

    “This is making me wish you’d do a 1 x 10E10 word post examining various uses of the phrase “(no homo)” in rap music.”

    This is way back from the dark year of 2008, but in Nicki Minaj’s “Grindin’” freestyle, “no homo” is appropriated for this elaborate Lil Mama takedown (?) (!) that may be less a takedown actually and more some vague edge to her usual free-associative patchwork. But it’s the first I’ve heard the phrase used in a distinctly lesbian context (full line: “Ye’ ain’t sayin’ nothin’, Lil Mama, I got those / and I’m ’bout to bl- blow like snot nose / Oh no, no homo”). Which is interesting to me (this means I have nothing of value to say about it yet), given its origins with Cam’ron and co., and how it was used to undermine Cam’ron’s occasional pink capitalist display/transvestism (I am reaching here), to solidify his essential maleness.

    Also HELLO BLUCAS.

    Sunday, April 11, 2010 at 2:24 am | Permalink
  21. Sady wrote:

    @Everyone: The original title for this post was a play on the whole “No Homo” thing! But I thought that, considering how my MASSIVELY ILL-ADVISED HEADLINE CHOICES last time around informed the way people read B’s previous post, and how provocative that phrase would undoubtedly be for our readers, we had better steer clear of it, so that people would respond to the post and not the headline of the post. If that makes sense.

    Sunday, April 11, 2010 at 10:21 am | Permalink

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  1. uberVU - social comments on Thursday, April 8, 2010 at 11:12 pm

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  2. Qvoice.us » Who Qualifies as a Homophobe? on Friday, April 9, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    [...] (a) “Visions of Manliness”? How can I say no? and (b) VOM guest-blogger B. Michael Payne made a really interesting point about who qualifies as a homophobe in our culture and who [...]