Spring brings with it many things. Incessant chirping from our feathered friends, blooming flowers, shortening of skirts, tightening of shirts, and the rise of misplaced outrage. The latter refers to Bruce Thao and Vanessa Fabbre, two SSA Ph.D. students, who expressed their concern over the behavior of some fraternity brothers during Westboro Baptist Church’s hateful protest (“Frat Brothers Should Not Perpetuate Stereotypes,” 4/3/09). Thao and Fabbre were “offended,” “appalled,” and “disappointed” that in response to placards reading “God Hates Fags,” some decided to flamboyantly dance to ABBA. Look, ABBA can be offensive. Like when “Dancing Queen” comes on during a party for the 267th time. Now, that would put me on suicide watch.
Listening to “Dancing Queen” and wearing pink, however, is not exactly the offensive equivalent of wearing blackface to mock a racist protest, as Thao and Fabbre asserted. Or, perhaps I slept through the lecture on the relationship between Swedish pop tunes and the Ku Klux Klan in Political Correctness 101.
Also, when did pink clothing become the sole province of homosexuals? Because I for one have been known to enjoy a fine pair of pink Bermuda shorts and a cold bottle of Miller High Life during a relaxing game of sunrise Bocce.
People get offended by a lot of things and everyone retains the right to do so. However, getting riled up because someone may mock using stereotypes distracts one from the terrifying reality that religious fanatics like WBC possess sincere messages of hate aimed both at the LGBTQ community and society at large. Straight dudes wearing feather boas and ass-less chaps while rhythmically gyrating do not.
Thao and Fabbre’s letter further perpetuated the myth that U of C Ph.D. students are pretentious, humorless pseudo-intellectuals constantly brimming with self-important indignation. But, I suppose some stereotypes are based on fact.
Class of 2008