regulation August 24, 2007 12:43 PM   Subscribe

Recently jessamyn rushed to edit the title of an Ask Metafilter question, changing it from "Nice bag that isn't gay" to simply "Nice bag." Today, on Metafilter, there is "It's harder than you think to differentiate between what's gay and what's High School Musical." Why is one offensive, and one is not, if they both reference ideas that are generally accepted as being attractive to gay men?
posted by four panels to Etiquette/Policy at 12:43 PM (75 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

You should give "grudge holding" lessons.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:50 PM on August 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


Gay bags threaten the sanctity of heterosexual carrying.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 12:51 PM on August 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think in the first reference the "gay" is pretty clearly being used as a pejorative adjective, while in the second reference it is merely an adjective, although the fundamental meaning, which I would argue would more accurately be described as putting one in mind of homosexuality, is the same, and it's a fine line and a judgment call.

Also, whereas in the AskMe it's an unnecessary reference pretty much guaranteed to derail and ruin the thread, while in the Metafilter thread it is the whole point of the link and if there is a lively, even heated discussion about what being "gay" means with reference to visual images, well, that pretty much fits there.
posted by nanojath at 12:51 PM on August 24, 2007


Bags don't suck cock - people do.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:52 PM on August 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


The bag post uses gay as "lame" or "stupid" etc, and is offensive. (High School Musical really is lame and stupid, however.) Radar, tho, has a long history of comparing stuff like that (and means it as gay--but also stereotypical--and not just lame and stupid) They've gotten in trouble for it in the past.
posted by amberglow at 12:53 PM on August 24, 2007


and the Radar link was a self-post and was deleted anyway, no?
posted by amberglow at 12:54 PM on August 24, 2007


the moderation here is really gay.
posted by quonsar at 12:54 PM on August 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


There you go, four panels!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:55 PM on August 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Rendered moot
posted by nanojath at 12:55 PM on August 24, 2007


One's a direct quote. One was a totally avoidable, not-explained, not neccessary post title that a lot of people flagged and had at least one reading of "help me not look like a gay person while still carrying a bag." One was on MeFi and one was on AskMe where the guidelines are somewhat different. One was your own words and one was a copy/paste from another website.

Basically it's the difference between saying "He called me a fag." and "I don't want to look like a fag." Generally speaking the latter is more offensive than the former, the second sentence more clearly pushes the "gay=bad" agenda which is annoying and avoidable and in a big diverse community such as this one, not a bright idea.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:56 PM on August 24, 2007


(oops--i confused Radar and Details-- Radar's done it too tho, and they both stole it from Blair Mag)
posted by amberglow at 12:58 PM on August 24, 2007


You did see the bit about self-links being a bannable offense, right?

You know what else is a bannable offense? That handbag with that shirt. This whole ensemble is a drag.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:59 PM on August 24, 2007 [3 favorites]


I think my explanation of your motivations was a little bit more convincing, jessamyn.
posted by nanojath at 1:00 PM on August 24, 2007


Another grudge metatalk post from four panels. Shocker.
posted by puke & cry at 1:01 PM on August 24, 2007


This whole ensemble is a drag.

*snare, kick, crash*
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:01 PM on August 24, 2007


Weak sauce, four panels.
posted by sneakin at 1:02 PM on August 24, 2007


I think my explanation of your motivations was a little bit more convincing, jessamyn.

Sure enough. Can I get you to write my MeTa replies in the future?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:02 PM on August 24, 2007


jessamyn, of course you'll do as you please.
But I'd like to point out that "help me not look like a gay person while still carrying a bag." coming from a heterosexual man does not imply a "gay=bad" agenda. I think it's perfectly normal for a hetero guy not to want to come across as gay and that that does not imply any negative judgement on being gay.
I think you're taking the defense of the diversity of mefi a bit too far here.
posted by jouke at 1:04 PM on August 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Weak sauce, four panels.

The sauce may be weak, but the meat wasn't even there in the first place, if you know what I mean.

and i hope you do, because I sure as hell don't.
posted by dersins at 1:04 PM on August 24, 2007


dersins, I am looking at you and holding up two fingers to my eyes and moving them toward your eyes and back at mine.
posted by sneakin at 1:06 PM on August 24, 2007


Basically it's the difference between saying "He called me a fag." and "I don't want to look like a fag." Generally speaking the latter is more offensive than the former, the second sentence more clearly pushes the "gay=bad" agenda which is annoying and avoidable and in a big diverse community such as this one, not a bright idea.

Really? It's offensive for a straight person to ask for help to not be confused for a gay person?

What if the questioner was looking for a "nice briefcase that doesn't look lawyery," would that be offensive to the lawyers in our midst?
posted by timeistight at 1:06 PM on August 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


I take it you weren't around for that gripefest when someone described a suit coat as "fruity," jouke.
posted by nanojath at 1:07 PM on August 24, 2007


What everyone else has said.

Plus, the Nice Bag, Not Gay headline is seriously unhelpful (unless what you want is a shitstorm); what does "not gay" mean? Obviously, it means something to you, but the reader doesn't know what that is. You explained in the "more inside", but you weren't terribly more informative about what was unnacceptable. Like, you didn't say "must not have sequins", or "must not have iPod holder that looks like a cockring."

Living in the Gay Capital of America, I have never, ever looked at a guy carrying a bag and deciphered his sexuality based solely on the bag. Even that drag queen, with the hair this high and the heels like so, and that darling little purse? For all I know, s/he's happily heterosexually married and the proud father of twelve kids.
posted by rtha at 1:08 PM on August 24, 2007


Probably not, timeistight. Then again, I've never seen high school jocks drive past someone and scream "laywer" at 'em.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:09 PM on August 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


Bags don't suck cock - people do.

Now you tell me. I thought this thing was broken or something...
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:10 PM on August 24, 2007 [5 favorites]


Thank you, cortex. Exactly.
posted by sneakin at 1:11 PM on August 24, 2007


if they both reference ideas that are generally accepted as being attractive to gay men?

I'd call you a moron for making such a patently ridiculous statement, but that would insult all of the adults out there with a mental age between 8 and 12.
posted by mkultra at 1:12 PM on August 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Guess somebody's going to Hell in a handbag.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:13 PM on August 24, 2007


Grudges are bad for the complexion.
posted by sneakin at 1:14 PM on August 24, 2007


It's offensive for a straight person to ask for help to not be confused for a gay person?

No, but without more information (noticably lacking in the question itself) it read ambiguously which made a lot of people flag the question as offensive and email me about it. It was easy to fix. I made a note in the thread. If four panels wanted to explain himself more fully, he could have.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:14 PM on August 24, 2007


The fact is that jessamyn saved fourpanel's question from from being rendered less helpful from an all but inevitable derail and now he's pissing and moaning about it. What an asshole.
posted by nanojath at 1:15 PM on August 24, 2007


Has no one mentioned the previous incident involving the cheap and pointless insult?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:23 PM on August 24, 2007


Then again, I've never seen high school jocks drive past someone and scream "laywer" at 'em.

Dyslexic jocks, I suppose.

That's actually kind of an appealing idea. I think I'll drive by the courthouse on my way home from work. Maybe I can start a trend.
posted by timeistight at 1:25 PM on August 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


This one, Burhanistan?
posted by sneakin at 1:26 PM on August 24, 2007


I take it you weren't around for that gripefest when someone described a suit coat as "fruity," jouke.
nanojath, no I wasn't and I'm not sure why that's relevant.

Anyhow; mefi imo is sensitive to diversity which is wonderful and has a tendency to overgeneralise this and take offense where no offense was intended or implied. I dislike that because I've seen it lead to dogmatic groupthink and suppression of common sense.
But hey, knock yourselves out.
posted by jouke at 1:32 PM on August 24, 2007


Yes, that one. Weird that he doesn't learn. I suppose it's like dogs returning to their own vomit because the way their memory encodes doesn't allow for a robust association between that strange smelly puddle on the floor and the unpleasant coughing and barfing that happened slightly prior.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:33 PM on August 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


nanojath, no I wasn't and I'm not sure why that's relevant.

It's relevant simply because (I link to the in-thread discussion in my last comment, which discussion led to an equally tedious Metatalk thread) my impression is that these types of edits are mainly about keeping AskMe threads tidy and on-topic.

By way of contrast, the AskMe about stereotypical "gay" mannerisms was not deleted, although it was quite contentious and some people obviously found the question itself offensive, because the contention was the point of the thread. I honestly don't discount your concerns, though it's clear I'm less worried than some about the amount and motivation of moderation on the site, I just don't think they really apply in this case.
posted by nanojath at 1:43 PM on August 24, 2007


That AskMe wasn't deleted because the asker was asking a question that could be answered. The answering was contentitious and kinda shitstormy, but pretty useful.

How would you answer "Nice bag that isn't gay"? Given the information that wasn't there, really, how can that question produce anything but a huge kerfluffle, which we now have here?
posted by rtha at 1:50 PM on August 24, 2007


Was four panels self imposed break from metafilter the shortest one ever? Does anyone keep track of stuff like that?
posted by chunking express at 1:54 PM on August 24, 2007


four panels is the guy who called Jessamyn creepy? What a jerk. Creepy is the last thing that comes to mind about Jessamyn (well there was that chicken stuffing incident, but you could argue that it was just her super librarian skills at work).
posted by caddis at 1:54 PM on August 24, 2007


Was four panels self imposed break from metafilter the shortest one ever? Does anyone keep track of stuff like that?

Mine was recently only 3 days, but I didn't make an exhibition of it beforehand.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:57 PM on August 24, 2007


I think we're arguing the same point, rtha. I'm saying that deleting the reference to gay was a good decision to make the question work better, and that if the site was driven by hypersensitivity to "gay issues" that "why are gays so flamboyant" question would likely have been deleted. And now I think I've really wasted far too many words on this.
posted by nanojath at 2:01 PM on August 24, 2007


Does this handbag make my kerfluffle look huge?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:03 PM on August 24, 2007


Gotcha. Apologies for the misread.
posted by rtha at 2:05 PM on August 24, 2007


(sorry - that was to nanojath.)

(IRFL - yes, but a big kerfluffle is a lovely thing!)
posted by rtha at 2:06 PM on August 24, 2007


I almost posted an answer to that question, but once I saw it was from four panels, I decided to keep my awesome, handcrafted-from-recycled-materials messenger bag to myself.
posted by slogger at 2:12 PM on August 24, 2007


The rules in the Green are different than in the Blue.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 2:30 PM on August 24, 2007


This callout is full of drama-queens.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:44 PM on August 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


This trend of editing rather than deleting—otherwise known as signing people's names to things they didn't say—is disturbing.
posted by oaf at 2:59 PM on August 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oy gevalt. There is no trend to speak of.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:03 PM on August 24, 2007


I almost posted an answer to that question, but once I saw it was from four panels, I decided to keep my awesome, handcrafted-from-recycled-materials messenger bag to myself.

Hey! fourpanels isn't the only one who reads AskMe. Other people* might want to know about awesome, &c. messenger bags.

*me.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:28 PM on August 24, 2007


There is no trend to speak of.

The fact that it's happened twice recently, and that previously, comments were just deleted (right?) seems to show a trend.
posted by oaf at 3:53 PM on August 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Here ya go, oneirodynia.
posted by slogger at 3:54 PM on August 24, 2007


Well, we're talking about changing the title field of an askme thread, in this case; there is no "deleting the comment" alternative here short of nuking four panel's askme outright, which seems like kind of a shitty deal.

I remember there being a thing about a comment edit in the last few months, though I can't remember what it was exactly; the takeaway is that these sort of inline edits are (a) extremely dang rare and (b) not something we're actually at all interested in doing. There was a lot of back in forth in that previous thread, but I think it was pretty clear that the trend you're supposing doesn't exist. We don't like editing for content, and pretty much never do—this is not the one soul in a thousand who dared speak up against the shadow campaign of revisionism. It's hard to know how to put it beyond that, because we actually agree with the concern.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:08 PM on August 24, 2007


oneiro: there's freitag, at freitag.ch, and Boris Bros, which is new, from Vancouver, and is made of the vinyl from billboards and not the tarps from trucks.
posted by heeeraldo at 4:09 PM on August 24, 2007


Appreciating a dude's bag is pretty gay.
posted by jonmc at 5:06 PM on August 24, 2007


It'd be pretty cool if someone came out with a bag that had little LEDs wired into it that blinked out I AM GAY in time to a smooth dance beat.
posted by cmonkey at 5:07 PM on August 24, 2007


I believe that last MeTa in this purported
"trend" was from a Methylviolet, now that was a shitfest
posted by edgeways at 5:23 PM on August 24, 2007


But editing robs readers of the four panels experience!
posted by Rhomboid at 5:40 PM on August 24, 2007


Three panels should be enough for anybody.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:46 PM on August 24, 2007


The question needed an edit because it so strongly encouraged askme's no.1 sin, namely challenging the asker's premise instead of answering the question. Q: Help me cure annoying Windows behavior X. A: do0d, get a Mac. Or in this case Q: help me find a man-bag that looks butch; A: if you're a guy and you feel any impulse to carry a bag, your first priority before anything else should be coming to terms with your polyvalent gender identity.
posted by jfuller at 6:05 PM on August 24, 2007


Appreciating a dude's bag is pretty gay.
posted by jonmc at 12:06 AM on August 25 [+] [!] No other comments.


jon, don't come out with shit like that and then defend/retract/remind us of all your gay mates.

How does that help?
posted by dash_slot- at 6:37 PM on August 24, 2007


Heard on my local grapevine: relatively new police recruit is seen by his old-school country-town inspector, carrying a rather nice handbag while out and about in uniform. Inspector becomes somewhat apoplectic and instructs sergeant to "have a word" with new recruit. Sergeant mentions handbag incident to new recruit, who shows him the handbag in question and blithely informs him that it's not a handbag; it's a mouch (man pouch?). Sergeant relays interview result to inspector.

Since nobody can find any dress code regulations pertaining to mouches, the new recruit is still happily carrying his around town :-)
posted by flabdablet at 6:39 PM on August 24, 2007



jon, don't come out with shit like that and then defend/retract/remind us of all your gay mates.


Dude, I menat bag as in 'nutsack' aka 'scrotum.'

chalk it up as a failed pun.
posted by jonmc at 7:13 PM on August 24, 2007


Got it. [chalk it up as 'plain text doesn't convey irony'.] Apologies for the terse callout. (",)
posted by dash_slot- at 7:25 PM on August 24, 2007


Don't sweat it, man.
posted by jonmc at 7:30 PM on August 24, 2007


This callout is full of drama-queens.

*sputters furiously, checks self in mirror, thinks of sweaty bags*
posted by mediareport at 7:58 PM on August 24, 2007


I find this whole affair just gawkingly ridiculous. Did I just read hundreds of words about a throwaway clause on a thread title on a subsection of an interweb site? I can't do this sort of thing much longer man. Not when there's so much neglected paint left unhuffed.
posted by Firas at 8:08 PM on August 24, 2007


Basically it's the difference between saying "He called me a fag." and "I don't want to look like a fag." Generally speaking the latter is more offensive than the former, the second sentence more clearly pushes the "gay=bad" agenda which is annoying and avoidable and in a big diverse community such as this one, not a bright idea.

I don't get this. It requires an assumption on your part that the poster intended gay to mean "bad." It's easily possible that the poster didn't want a bag to make him look gay because, well, he's not gay. I don't see anything pejorative about that.
posted by jmd82 at 8:15 PM on August 24, 2007


Posts have been edited for a while in Ask Me. If you haven't noticed, you aren't refreshing and reading fast enough, because the admins sure are quick about it.

For instance, [more inside] jokes last about 3 minutes, thank God, and posts by people who don't understand that the title doesn't show up on the main page are fixed right quick. Or did you think that people were actually getting smarter and reading the instructional text???
posted by smackfu at 8:48 PM on August 24, 2007


For instance, [more inside] jokes last about 3 minutes, thank God, and posts by people who don't understand that the title doesn't show up on the main page are fixed right quick.

It makes me wonder how many people have actually read AskMe, ever, before posting to it.
posted by oaf at 4:57 AM on August 25, 2007


I don't get this. It requires an assumption on your part that the poster intended gay to mean "bad." It's easily possible that the poster didn't want a bag to make him look gay because, well, he's not gay. I don't see anything pejorative about that.

Well, perhaps you could start by telling us what "gay" looks like.

I live in Park Slope, Brooklyn, which has a very high concentration of gay folk, who come in all matter of appearance. If you're going to insist on drawing some kind of parallel between "handbag" and "gay", I'd counter that I don't see handbags among even the more flamboyant men, and that the butch lesbians wouldn't be caught dead with one. So, really, the kind of bag the OP was implying is probably statistically LESS common.
posted by mkultra at 8:22 AM on August 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've fucked my share of bags.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:57 AM on August 25, 2007


Thanks, slogger! (and heeraldo, too)
posted by oneirodynia at 2:09 PM on August 25, 2007


I don't see handbags among even the more flamboyant men, and that the butch lesbians wouldn't be caught dead with one.

Reminds me of a joke I heard recently--

What's the difference between Portland hipster boys and Portland lesbians?

The lesbians don't carry purses.
posted by dersins at 5:06 PM on August 25, 2007


« Older I am the photographer O Zhang   |   BANHAMMER Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments