In this article we are going to be addressing the 2nd of 3 questions that we’ve asked about Podtrash, which is, Is Podtrash Racists and/or homophobic? To recap, the 3 questions are as follows;
- Does Podtrash Have an Alcohol/Drug Problem?
- Is Podtrash Racists and/or Homophobic?
- Will Podtrash survive in 2017?
So is PT racist and/or homophobic? First off, I don’t know what the hell I was thinking when I proposed these damn questions. I’ve revisited this draft at least 4 times and it keeps getting longer and more complicated. I found myself researching basic shit that to be honest, I really don’t care much about. None of it plays out in my real life because I’m just a middle aged dude surrounded by corn and nervous dear. I just want to work, love, live and laugh like everyone else, and let me tell you, there is absolutely no fun to be found in writing about this stuff. I’d rather watch internet bowling than do this again. Really. But I started down this rabbit hole so might as well give it a go.
Now that we’ve established what a great attitude I have, let’s start by simplifying the question a bit. Let us consider whether or not PT content disparages a group of people based on either their sexuality or race, so another way to put it would be, “Is PT racist OR homophobic? So if you’re a gay PT podcaster that hates Mexicans (sorry Andy) then the simple answer for that individual would be a yes. But if we’re going to “go there”, I think it’s more relevant to look at PT as a whole, or a brand, versus breaking it down into its small parts. First up, homophobia. The following tidbits of knowledge are what our society (and the internet) has agreed on to define what homophobia is;
Homophobia encompasses a range of negative attitudes and feelings toward homosexuality or people who are identified or perceived as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). It has been defined as contempt, prejudice, aversion, hatred or antipathy, may be based on irrational fear, and is often related to religious beliefs.
So if you expresses or act on any of those negative feelings (contempt, prejudice, etc.) towards any of those LGBT persons, in the context of those designations, then you’re being a homophobic son of a bitch. Or at least being a homophobe, maybe you aren’t a SOB. Now, can someone claim that they have no issue with gay people but take umbrage with transgenders? Sure, and we’ve heard that exact situation play-out on PT podcasts. But we have to be real, what a transgender person does with their genitals or bodies is not really at issue. The fuel or ideas that feed the fires of prejudice insofar as transgenders are concerned, for example, are the same ideas that stoke the fires of homophobia. They derive from a lack of understanding how someone’s mind can function like that. So a typical homophobic based response to a transgener person might go something like, “They must be sick, right? They have to have a mental illness of some kind. Gross. How the hell can they think like that? It’s not fucking normal.” Well generally speaking, us humans are not that much different from our monkey cousins, or other groups of social animals, in that we see an “abnormality” in the pack and we demote those individuals socially. In the context of instinct, negative treatment of “abnormals” decreases their opportunity to effect the gene pool. My god man, save the children! No seriously though, that’s a primitive perspective but it may not be far off.
Before answering this question fairly, we have to consider some factors first. Racist or homophobic ideologies are largely emotional based concepts or opinions, so human nature should at least be considered before people go around slapping homophobic or racist labels on things. So first let’s consider when people discuss sex or related topics. Our reactions or responses for sex related topics, generally speaking, are more susceptible to our emotional reasoning versus say, discussing how long it takes to get to the center of a fucking tootsie pop (and it’s more than 3 you asshole owl). Even if sex isn’t directly playing into a conversation, as far as the subject matter of LGBT is concerned, our brains still maintain an association with sex. To a casual observer, the discussions that involve LGBT can essentially be broken down to what those people are doing with their vaginas or penises, and other peoples reaction to it. But that whole conversation can quickly turn into this big emotional mess of opinions and non-quantifiable reactions. People’s brains just ‘tick’ differently when the subject of sex is involved insofar as how we exercise reason, judgment and conclusions. Just try to start a conversation with a friend or family member and start with something like, “did you hear about who got caught jacking off at McDonalds”, or “did you hear about what Linda Loose Lips did with Semen Sam?”, you’ll see their ears perk up, their brows furrow or eyebrows raise. You will have captured their undivided attention. As Frankie the weather guy would say, be prepared;
Our brains soak that stuff up like a sponge does water, and not too much unlike how homophobia embraces the “sexual deviance” part of homosexuality or gender as it relates to their ideas of perversion, sex or morality. Bringing sex into a conversation, or thinking about sex in a “deviant” form, is just down right fascinating to people. I know, duh. That point seems kind of obvious but when considering it, it does help put into perspective how some people’s ideas can be so different from others. It can also highlight how the emotional based concepts we maintain stick around a lot longer than the non-emotional ones. For example, let say we have an idea about which car purchase is the best bang for our buck. A car salesman might change our mind, but that salesman is not going to convince orthodox Catholic holy roller no anal Norman, that there’s nothing wrong with a little man on man butt play. Not to mention that there’s nothing us apes like more than to point our fingers at the pervert in the room, and make sure we tell all of our friends about them. In cases of child predators or rapists, of course those reactions are justified and serve the purpose of protection for society, but ideas that maintain homophobic principles also attempt to place certain groups of people into their own perverted pile, with the purpose of ostracizing them and letting others know how fucked up they are. That reminds me of the story of a local guy in my neck of the woods called ‘Ted the Handyman’.
Ted the Handyman. I’ll make this brief, because this article is too long already, and I’m only telling it because it has relevance to points being made, and it is a true story. On a fine Spring morning several years back, Ted got caught masturbating in our local community college parking lot to the girls walking by, he didn’t expose himself to anyone and as the story goes he was trying to be sneaky about it, but he was caught by a security guard doing his rounds. Ted made our local newspaper along with the associated charges. He was a social guy even after masturbation-gate. He had a full time job, wife and kids, the whole 9 yards. The town I lived in had a population of around 15k or so, and I’d see Ted out and about all the time. I knew him well enough that we’d say hello and he was one of those really nice guys that never had a bad word to say about anyone. I’d see him at the local restaurants, movie theater or even at our local bars. On at least 20 different occasions, no matter where I was at or who was around or what we were talking about, someone always made a point to ask me if I had heard about ‘Ted the Handyman’. This happened even years after Ted’s incident, and whenever he was around. The first few times were funny, and I know I re-told the story at least once, but after that I just felt pity for Ted, and eventually the Ted the Handyman story just pissed me off. It was reasonable to conclude that not one of those pricks that told that story (all dudes) were innocent of jerking off, they’d all probably jerked it to legal teen porn on the internet, and none of those shit bags were free of sin. Unless Ted moves, no matter what he accomplishes in his life, he’ll always be known as Ted the Handyman aka the college parking lot jerk off guy.
The moral to that story I and how it relates to homophobia is, that it’s within our nature to judge others, especially when it involves things about sex, and the associated stigma that can happen as a result can be permanent, although not everyone may deserve that “life sentence”. So it stands to reason, why calling out homophobic ideas are so important to so many people. That stigma not only follows those individuals around, but often includes their family members. So in considering those points I think it’s at least understandable why homophobic ideas in general are becoming our societies hot button issue to take offence to. But it’s also worthy to note that the whole LGBT equal rights movement is annoying to a large number of people because they think it’s a waste of time and resources, and we’re better off focusing on “real” issues. That’s a whole other can of worms that I definitely don’t intend to open, so we’ll just say that there is a significant amount of LGBT backlash and those lines in the sand often match up pretty closely to our collective political lines in the sand.
"To say of men that they are bad is to say they are worse than we think we are,
or worse than the ideal man whose image we have built up on the basis of a certain few."
~ Jean Rostand
So is PT homophobic? I know, it took too long to get here. First we have to consider over the “air” content and what has been allowed, and consequently archived. By definition those podcasts are being supported by the network, whether it’s an ‘I agree with that’ kind of thing, or just airing and storing podcasts to provide download access, support is support. Out of the hundreds of shows recorded it’s fair to say there are at least dozens of podcast in which homophobic ideas or stereotypes are perpetuated, either expressed directly through language or under the blanket of comedy and not necessarily discreetly. So yes, PT could justifiably be considered homophobic, as it openly supports those who present ideas or material that would be considered homophobic in nature.
Racism and the comedic conundrum. So what about racism, is PT racist as an entity or brand? From the inside looking out (which is sort of my perspective) it’s easy to say no, PT is not. Although It’s accurate to say that many of the podcasters on PT use the N word frequently, but it’s mostly done to get a cheap laugh. There are genuine feelings among some podcasters about certain races being shit compared to theirs, but generally speaking most PT podcasters approach the subject of race in jest and don’t ponder on it long. Although that is not always the case, and there’s some irony involved with the question of racism (and homophobia) on PT. As an example, one of the most heard voices on the network (we’ll call him Chap) shouts the loudest about others being racist or homophobic, but his favorite drop is an audio clip saying ‘faggot’ and he has an original song, which he seems very proud of as he plays it often, which has lyrics that warn “the niggers are coming”. So while an insider could claim PT is not racist and it’s in the spirit of uncensored comedic podcasts, the conclusion of a typical outsider looking in could be short and not so sweet. Without any knowledge of the podcasters as individuals or the network as a whole or any pre-conceived notion about PT, the conclusion of whether PT is racist, as it supports a variety of content that can be construed as racist, could be a justifiable, yes.
So let’s summarize this discussion. The answer to whether or not PT is homophobic or racist, similarly to the first question of the three we’re addressing, I believe is an unavoidable, yes. To give PT an honest examination as far as this question is concerned you have to consider the outside perspective, which is to look at all the pieces of the whole without prior knowledge of any particular personality. And when one takes into account business principles, instead of personal ones, when determining this answer, it becomes even more relevant for those involved. After all, that’s how the world of branding works, it’s all about appearance. No matter what values a particular brand claims, in the end if what that brand produces has the perception of racism or homophobia, that’s what it will be associated with. The smaller the brand, the less important those negatively perceived factors may appear, but when you consider real growth in a well-established market (like podcasting), those once seemingly unimportant issues of race and/or homophobia head straight to the front of the line. It doesn’t matter if you tout yourself as a golden nugget like flower blooming pedals of pure fucking joy, if that perception of racisms or homophobia is present, then just like Ted the Handy man’s nickname, it never goes away.