Marcia’s Law – Beavis and Butt-head; Scoreless in Game Changer
Beavis: Hey Beavis, you know how sometimes we get a ride home from school, and there’s all those dudes crammed together in the backseat?
Butt-head: Yeah, why?
Beavis: Um, heh heh, is it normal to get wood?
Butt-head: Beavis, you boner-popping pervert…it’s not even normal to ASK!
I’m not much of a television watcher. I’d much rather cozy up to a good book and let my imagination soar. But, once in a while I’m too tired to read and not sleepy enough to go to bed, so I turn on the TV; that usually puts me right out!
One night, however, I tuned into the newest reality show; this one was about (as best as I could determine) people from a southern state who didn’t wash, had long, overgrown beards and hair, treated women like animals, and shot at anything in sight…including each other. While it may have constituted light entertainment for others, it provoked me into turning off the television in disgust and retrieving the dictionary. I quickly memorized as many words containing three or more syllables as I could. I finally fell into a disgruntled, but exhausted sleep.
It also got me thinking about why it is considered entertaining to watch people with limited intellectual capacity and minimal verbal skills say and do stupid things while acting mean. Millions of Americans stay glued to their TV’s and watch this mind-numbing degeneracy. They do not recognize that by watching behaviors that both titillate and repel, they internalize them.
Whether a result of television or a culture that simply thrives on the puerile pedantry of the lowest common denominator, many people engage in this coarse humor. There are many real-life examples of the Beavis and Butthead mentality alive and well in America. And, they are especially crass and disrespectful to LGBTQ individuals.
For example, 49er cornerback Chris Culliver stated that gay players were not welcome on his team. Culliver made the remarks during a Super Bowl media day interview, telling a radio host: “I don’t do the gay guys man. I don’t do that. No, we don’t got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do. Can’t be with that sweet stuff. Nah…can’t be…in the locker room man” (http://www.facebook.com/humanrightscampaign).
HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz condemned Culliver’s remarks stating that, “Chris Culliver’s comments represent the height of ignorance and the type of homophobic banter that professional athletes rarely use anymore. His irrational rant against LGBT people is reprehensible.”
The San Francisco 49ers play in one of the most tolerant cities in the world and, to their credit, quickly distanced themselves from his comments. Team CEO Jed York has vowed to take Culliver to volunteer at groups in the Bay Area’s LGBT community, and head coach Jim Harbaugh emphatically stated, “We reject what he said.”
I don’t pretend to know much about what goes on in men’s locker rooms across this country, but I do know that the response to Culliver’s pejorative remarks represents a dramatic shift in the “good-ole boy” mentality that elevated the denigration of women, minorities, and homosexuals to an art form. And it’s about time.
As a result of his team’s sanctions and the public outcry regarding his comments, Culliver apologized in public. He has vowed, albeit not in a very convincing manner, to make amends.
Maybe Culliver can turn himself around and use the public relations disaster he created as a starting point to become a more tolerant individual. At the very least, he’ll think twice – and perhaps give caution to others who act similarly – before behaving so badly on this issue again.
And, that is what is important. Chris Culliver can think whatever he wants to think. However, when we tolerate language that denigrates another human, we accept and, by default, allow bigotry, discrimination, and hatred to flourish. The team is not allowing that to happen. The 49ers are taking this opportunity to reeducate one of their players. By taking this proactive position, they create a culture in which acceptance can grow. And that can only be positive.
Chris Culliver’s interview reminded me that we remain perilously close, and in some cases only one step removed, from the trash can humor of Beavis and Butthead. Still, score one for a changing world. Maybe we are only one step away from ridding ourselves of public figures outright gay bashing, but, we ARE that one step further. And that’s a game changer!
…And I’m just a mom who loves her son…