Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It’s Only Words

For certain Filipinos the word “bakla” has become the derogatory equivalent of “faggot” in the US. It’s meant to be a harsh put-down.

But I can never forget this story from a friend of mine, who claims this happened back when he was in high school. One day his school bus stopped at an intersection. The high school kids inside spotted a parlorista sashaying on the sidewalk. The kids yelled and taunted, “Bakla! Bakla! Bakla!” Whereupon the parlorista turned to them and said, “Oo, bakla nga ako,” in a nonchalant, matter-of-fact tone, before sashaying once more down the street. The kids were dumbfounded. By appropriating the word, the parlorista turned a hurtful taunt into a harmless non-issue.

Words have as much or as little power as you choose them to be. The real power lies in the ideas behind the words. And at the end of the day, sticks and stones will still be the ones that’ll really hurt.

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“Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof.” – from the movie V for Vendetta.


Dexter's Faggotory said...

I have a friend with a similar story. He was yelled at with the same words while crossing the street. Not wanting to be abashed by such words, he turned at the guy and shouted "Lalake!". Turned back around then went on his way with much gratification.

joelmcvie said...

@DEXTER: And neither was insulted. Unless the other guy was, in fact, a long-haired girl. Or in the closet. =)

Aris said...

"bakla" ang madalas na tawagan namin ng bestfriend ko pero ang kasingkahulugan nito para sa amin ay "dear" o "sweetie". :)

ethan h said...

It's about sources and uses of power. By removing the taunters power to use the word "bakla," the parlorista won.