Creative Prose Musings

kill yourself, you hipster faggot

some anonymous little merican sent poppa some h8 mail and poppa aint havin none of it

On this blog, Triumph of the Now, there is a little box on the page titled ‘About & Contact’ where one is able to send me direct messages. Every few weeks, something pings through. Usually it’s someone sharing an opinion on a book I’ve written about or, better, an offer for a review gig. Yesterday, for the very first time, it was used for something different.

Last night I was the recipient of my first online abuse:

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 19.53.06

kill yourself, you hipster faggot.

From an IP address registered to Singapore at 2104 BST on a Sunday night in beautiful July (i.e. 4am Monday in Singapore, if poster was even there), someone gave a fake email address, named themself ‘Scott’s conscience’ and sent me a misguided attempt at hate speech:

kill yourself, you hipster faggot.

The first thing I noticed, of course, was the punctuation.

The comma in the middle shows a coherent and correct understanding of written English, and is a necessary comma in its position but one often ignored in common usage, especially in moments of heightened emotion, or when someone is trying to insult or encourage. An obvious example to demonstrate this is thinking about the difference between cards saying “Come on, Mum!” and “Come on Mum!” One is an instruction to the mother, one is very much not. Commas are important, and this cheeky internet commentator has them down.

Perhaps, though, I’m giving ‘Scott’s conscience’ too much credit, as the word previous to “you” is “yourself”, and I can just about believe that someone who thinks “faggot” is an acceptable word to use might cognitively understand that the phrase “kill yourself, you hipster faggot” contains two clauses. The subject is the second person, and clarity almost insists on putting some kind of break between two words that have a similar meaning. Realistically, though, the “you” is unnecessary.

The first clause makes such a clear address towards the reader – to me – there was no way I would have read a secondary clause of “hipster faggot” without understanding I too was its addressee. “kill yourself, hipster faggot” makes no less sense than the final version decided on by the writer, and its immediacy through truncation makes the attack seem more aggressive. Aggression is powerful through frankness. I.e. a fist is a fist is a fist, but a hand can caress. To cut the sentence down to all it needs would have added impact, and I believe the writer’s lack of confidence in his or her clarity lead him or her to indicate TWICE who is being addressed. This is a tautology, and diminishes the message’s power.

The other sign of absent confidence is the fake email address and the lack of a name. The web form requires an email address to send a message, but rather than provide a real one, this is a button-bashed fake. No care was taken to even make one up (why not scottsconscience@gmail.com?), which shows a sloppiness in the writer’s style. Why bother making such an outlandish statement without offering the means of debate?

If someone wanted to properly critique my blog, I’d suggest drawing attention to my over-reliance on biographical exploration when discussing fiction – that’s a real, perceived, weakness, though I could argue against it. A novel – often the product of years of a writer’s life and thought – takes a huge amount of material from its creator’s life, and even if this isn’t literally so (i.e. plot), a writer’s thoughts are influenced by the things that happen in and outside of it, so a novel soaks these things up like a fancy sponge.

Next, the language:

We must remember that “faggot” is considered an offensive term, although as a heterosexual who sees no shame in being gay (alas, I’m not*) I am no more insulted by being called “faggot” than I would be by being called “nigger”. These are both loaded terms used as insults by bigots, and though both have been reclaimed to some extent by the people they are meant to insult, the use of the term by someone who identifies as outside the group is meant to disparage. The writer of the message thought calling me a “faggot” would insult me, which I don’t understand. a) Why would it matter if I was gay, and b) Why would I be insulted by a gay slur if I wasn’t?

Oh no, an anonymous person on the internet thinks I’m gay and he doesn’t like gays, I should change my behaviour.

Of course that’s ridiculous, here’s a picture of my arse, my hips pulled in to look feminine and my ballsack shrouded in shadow:

Photo on 25-07-2016 at 20.27 #3

To use “faggot” as an intended insult is intolerant and could be considered a hate crime.

To use hipster, however, is fair enough.

“Hipster” is a word that’s meant young(ish) and trendy(ish) for decades. It appears in the writing of Ginsberg:

angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection

From Howl

It is an old word, and an apt word. But one that I think it’s legitimate to use as an insult if one is annoyed by hipster culture. You don’t like wanky millennials? That’s fine. You don’t like homosexuals? Not fine.

In fact, showing a colossal lack of irony, this email pinged into my giant phone whilst I was doing temp work at a pop-up crazy golf course in a field in East London, as part of an immersive cinematic experience, the uber-millenial Secret Cinema. And that wasn’t even me reaching peak hipster, I’ve done things far more hipster than that, look at the cocktail bars I’ve worked in and the parties I’ve been to and the business I’m launching in a couple of months.

I AM HIPSTER.

On LinkedIn, I list my occupation as ‘Hipsterpreneur’. (That’s not a joke.) I write reviews of independently published books for an East London zine. I have a Masters degree from Goldsmiths College. I’ve backpacked around Morocco. I’ve had depression. I spend more money on clothes than I do on public transport. I have a fluffy dog named after the producer of the James Bond films. I read and walk. I wear a lot of hats. I run a fucking literary blog that I’ve actually got paid work off the back of. I occasionally rap. I’m a member of the Liberal Democrats. I have a recognisable laugh. I’ve been in the background of scripted reality television shows. I use the word “bang” to mean ingest but not fuck. Pubs annoy me because they don’t make negronis. I don’t watch scheduled television. I own shoes made of cork. I’m a vegetarian.

I’m about as fucking hipster as it gets (other than no facial hair or tattoos), so to think that I’d find the word insulting begets great ignorance.

And as to the instruction to kill myself, it is a thought I had on my own many times before, in the past. And how did I shake that feeling?

It was by learning to understand who I was and learning to feel no self-hatred. No, I don’t want to fuck men but I do want to dress up in elaborate drag and perform from time to time, and I don’t feel that necessitates any internal confusion or turmoil. I like talking about books and I’m not ashamed to do it whilst flashing my nipples or buttocks. I am a staunch political centrist but spent all day today in a cap with Lenin’s face on, because I think it looks cool. I’m vacuous and over-educated and I don’t care.

I am what I am / I am my own special creation

‘I am What I am’, Gloria Gaynor

The last reason on earth for me to kill myself is because some vitriolic homophobe thinks I’m gay and trendy. Why would either even matter? Live and let live. Eee tee cee

I’m excited by my first experience of online abuse because I’m aware that as my viewcount continues to rise it will happen again. Gaining traction, gaining popularity, gaining responses.

There’s one thing you can’t say about this message, and that is that it evidences a lack of reaction. There is a reaction, and a reaction is engagement and engagement is good. More engagement please, however it makes you, the reader, feel.

A view is a view. And more of them means I can start getting ad revenue. And that, my friends (which all of you are), is the dream.

Photo on 25-07-2016 at 21.01

_____________________

Believe me, I tried. Being gay would suit my persona and allow me to take on a real kind of “outsider” identity, but the bit that actually matters just isn’t my kinda thing.

5 comments on “kill yourself, you hipster faggot

  1. Jonathan

    Oh dear! I think he secretly loves you.

    BTW The Only Ones’ song Why Don’t You Kill Yourself is an alltime favourite of mine. Enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Far be it from me to lecture a complete stranger on their diet, but not eating meat is fucking stupid. Seriously. You’ve just written a monologue bemoaning your lack of locks. Your diet is at least partly to blame.

    Y’see, there are several nutrients essential for healthy hair:

    Biotin
    Iron
    Selenium
    Zinc

    And despite what the NHS says (the NHS knows precisely fuck all about diet and nutrition – almost impossible to believe considering it’s SUPPOSED to be a health service, but the eat well plate is the exact polar opposite of healthy) Homo sapiens, being what I term a ‘carnivorous omnivore’ (meaning eating meat is vital to our health, but eating plants isn’t) can’t assimilate them from plants (one of the commonest deficiencies amongst veggies and vegans is pernicious anaemia). The NHS will tell you that iron comes from green leafy veg – it does, but green leafy veg also contains oxalate which prevents us from assimilating it.

    Biotin: the best, most easily accessible, sources of biotin are liver and poultry.

    Selenium: best sources of selenium are egg yolks, beef,,lamb and turkey. It is found in tofu, but the phytoestrogens prevent assimilation (phytoestrogens are pretty fucking evil, they fuck with your thyroid, your liver (interfering with its cholesterol regulation – cholesterol is vital for health; it protects the heart against heart disease, the brain against dementia and is vital for healthy sperm (just in case you ever wanted to be a daddy). I will add at this juncture that soy is NOT a complete protein source anyway and, as with all plant protein, we can only assimilate around 10%.

    Zinc: this is another mineral veggies and vegans often lack (when did you go veggie, and when did you first notice you were going bald…?) it is another mineral, like iron, that we simply CANNOT assimilate from plants, the best sources are red meat an animal liver.

    B12: not required for hair growth, but vital for a healthy brain (B12, along with cholesterol, saturated fat and choline, is VITAL for preventing dementia). B12 is ONLY found in animal foods because herbivores synthesise it in their guts. There are NO plant sources of B12 (nope, not even seaweed (it contains a B12 analogue which is a substance that mimics B12, tricking the body into believing it’s getting B12 when it isn’t).

    Finally, a word about grains: the NHS wants you to believe that grains are some kind of superfood, but the nutrients they contain are inaccessible to us; not only have we not evolved to digest them, but they contain phytic acid (aka phytate) which binds to nutrients causing them to be excreted rather than absorbed, thus rendering fortification ineffective (and I’m of the belief that any ‘food’ that requires fortification isn’t a food). Furthermore, grains cause disease (IBDs, IBS, obesity, diabetes, coeliac disease, heart disease dementia (aka type 3 diabetes). You might say that it’s only wheat gluten that affects coeliacs, and that those without CD can eat wheat, but that’s akin to saying either those with – or those without – CD aren’t human. You have to remember that we only began cultivating grains 10,000 years ago, so our bodies simply haven’t adapted.

    I strongly recommend you watch Cereal Killers (http://www.cerealkillersmovie.com). I have no affiliation with it whatsoever, but I recommend it as a comprehensible way to understand why grains are toxic and evil and deserve no place in the human diet.

    Okay, I’ll STFU and fuck off (need to try and get some kip!). Want/need any more info, or simply want to tell me where to get off (please don’t, I’m sensitive… 🙁) feel free to email me.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Bald And Under Thirty: Are You Gay Or Racist, Mate? | agaara

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  5. Clearly you’re straight: those curtains! And crediting “I Am What I Am” to Gloria Gaynor instead of dear, dear Jerry Herman confirms it.

    Nice arse, though.

    Liked by 1 person

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