To the Editor:
Performing Politics, Inc. posted the Facebook profiles of students in an attempt to offer evidence of homophobia and misogyny at Yale. In this action, they defamed every one of the individuals whose profiles were posted and broke the contract they entered for use of facebook.com.
The comments struck me as ironic, but let’s suppose they were actually offensive. Why didn’t PPI try to confront those people, tell them they were offended and explain why?
No one ever got anywhere by doing little artsy-fartsy things anonymously. People who feel oppressed should seize power. Demonstrate competence. Engage in local and national politics. Start dialogues with the people who disagree with you.
Tony Kushner showed a kind of demonic genius when he used the voice of Roy Cohn to condemn the “ineffectual homosexual,” a vicious stereotype that is waning in 2006 but was common enough in the Reagan era. In “Angels in America,” Cohn explains to his doctor why it is he is not a homosexual even though he does have sex with men:
“Like all labels they tell you one thing and one thing only: Where does an individual so identified fit in the food chain, in the pecking order? Not ideology, or sexual taste, but something much simpler: clout. Not who I f– or who f–s me, but who will come to the phone when I call, who owes me favors. This is what a label refers to. Now to someone who does not understand this, a homosexual is what I am because I have sex with men. But really this is wrong. Homosexuals are not men who sleep with other men. Homosexuals are men who in 15 years of trying cannot get a pissant antidiscrimination bill through City Council. Homosexuals are men who know nobody and who nobody knows. Who have zero clout. Does this sound like me, Henry?”
I don’t advocate the politics or personality of a Roy Cohn. I do encourage PPI to leave off anonymous expressions on bulletin boards and instead start amassing “clout” — actual power, actual expertise, actual influence. Posters are great, but legislation, public office, authority — these things will serve you better. The left needs fewer people whining expressively at the sidelines and more people calling the shots. Stop whining and get to work.
Zach Victor GRD ’06
Feb. 3, 2006