Sunday, 29 July 2007

Is being gay as bad as being a prude?

In a letter to the editor of the Sunday Times Lifestyle today (29 July), reader Robby Vogt wrote by email to complain of ‘attractive female’ correspondent Daniella Renzon’s ‘disgusting remarks’ in her En Passant column of 15 July. The ‘vulgar statement’ that so annoyed Mr Vogt was ‘the long journey back from my arse’. (All phrases in inverted commas, save the last, are Mr Vogt’s.)

‘Respect flies out the window when disgusting remarks like this are made by the fairer sex,’ wrote Mr Vogt. (‘The fairer sex’, Mr Vogt? What century are you living in?)

Daniella’s column, titled ‘More Bridget Jones than Bertolucci’, was an intelligent and entertaining rant about cinema-nouveau movie critics. Admitting that she is a ‘recovering pseudo amateur film critic’ and that she, too, once spent quite a bit of time up her own arse (my phrase) when it came to movies, she wrote, ‘After watching the biggest self-obsessed crap ever to find its way onto the big or small screen, I finally became concerned with my fascination for dark and distressing stories and began the long journey back from out of my own arse, or was it navel?’

Ironically, however, it is Mr Vogt and not the fair Daniella who is the author of the most offensive phrase in this little battle of words. ‘I am neither a prude nor am I gay,’ he wrote, ‘but I was taught by my mother to have respect for women.

Read that first phrase again: ‘I am neither a prude nor am I gay’.

As the mother of a gay son, and someone who proudly counts among her friends several kind and loyal men who also happen to be gay, I would like to know, Mr Vogt, exactly what you mean by this. That being gay automatically gives you licence to ‘trash yourself’ (again, Mr Vogt’s phrase)? Or that gay men have no respect for women? Or that (perhaps even more bizarrely) if you are gay, your respect for women is ipso facto so deep that you can be excused for taking issue with those women who make ‘vulgar statements’?

Whatever it means, it’s clear that Mr Vogt considers being gay as undesirable as being a prude. What a pity Mr Vogt’s mother didn’t teach him respect for all people, regardless of their sexual orientation.

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meggie said...

Like you, I coudn't make sense of that peculiar person's comment!

Richard Catto said...

Nevertheless, regardless of how the complaining reader chose to express himself, the phrase "and began the long journey back from out of my own arse" is certainly vulgar and offensive.

I am offended by it.

Juno said...

Yes, that comment struck me as bizarre too. In fact, the whole letter was odd. I don't find the reference to 'arse' vulgar or offensive (Richard, are you for real?)

What motivates a person to put pen to paper, or finger to keyboard, and write such a letter? Aren't there more pressing things to complain about?

If I had to make a list of five thousand things that I find grossly vulgar and offensive, among the top 50 would be: war, poverty, racism, murder, oppression, child abductions, disease, hypocrisy, corruption, starvation, genital mutilation, intolerance, terrorism, global warming, sexism, ageism, homophobia, women abuse, cruelty to animals... I could go on and on.

The mentioning of the arse of a member of the 'fairer sex' wouldn't come close to cracking the nod on this list.

meggie said...

Laughing here, as I read your reply Juno!
And I agree!

angel said...

what a strange thing for him to say...
i also enjoyed her article and i don't have a clue what he's griping about!

Mandi said...

Absolutely - to both Muriel and Juno! I hope Richard reads them and does a little re-prioritising.

I love your blog, Muriel - and I love you