May 28th, 2002


On the Practice and Definition of Disgust

I've always had this sort of gut recoil reaction to bigotry and those who practice it. Partly because that was how I was raised - to believe that discriminating against anyone for an illogical reason amounted to an immoral act. Stupidity, essentially, is wrong, at least when it is stupidity practiced by choice. I still hold this to be true. And when it concerns bigotry, it's not just wrong, it's offensive. And disgusting.

I suppose I've gotten pretty comfortable, over the years, with the state and practice of my own disgust. I knew, with fairly clear boundaries, where it stopped being "stupid" and became "wrong" - about the point where you judge morally or practice hatred against someone in the course of the belief. I knew where the boundaries were, to such a point that I and the illogic that disgusted me were obviously, at least, in my mind, separate and distinct. And I could be comforted by the knowledge that even if those disgusting people would always be there, while they would always practice that stupidity in some form, and even though I couldn't necessarily *stop* them, I could exercise my right of disapproval: by refusing to associate with them, or approve of them. I had that ability, and it was comforting. I told myself that even if I couldn't stop them, I'd never let them think anything other than what was fact - that I despised everything they stood for. I thought it was clear.

Tonight I got a nasty shock.

(Please note that when I say "tonight" I mean... well... last night, I guess. But if I say "last night", it'll throw my mental clock all out of whack and it will be confusing. So. Tonight.)

It started out quite benignly - Shannon called at around four or five to ask if I wanted to go to Tim Horton's. So she got a ride over, and I grabbed my car keys, and we were off. First we went to Changes to return some recyclables, and we went to Save-On-Foods to retrieve some things she left in her locker. At Changes, we ran into Kristine, and we decided we'd pick her up after we'd done there and all go to Tim Horton's together.

So about an hour later, we fetched Kristine, and after picking up her little sister from a friend's house and dropping *her* off at home, off Kristine, Shannon and I went to Tim Horton's. Where we mocked the high schoolers crowding the place, and reminisced about *our* days in high school, and ate soup. And things made of strawberries.

After which we went back to my house. And I played some of the recordings of my songs. And I showed them S-11 Redux - which everyone should see.

After that, we started talking about 9/11, and various related topics. At some point, I developed a craving for ice cream - and we spent ten minutes trying to figure out if there was anything open at eleven that served *real* ice cream, not soft serve. We settled on Denny's.

At Denny's, we talked about... well, I can't remember where the discussion started, but at some point something turned it toward the gay marriage initiative in BC. And as I was filling Shannon in on the BCSC trial last year, Kristine suddenly says: "I think that's wrong."

And I stopped. And I turned. And I looked at her, and I said: "What?"

I swear, I thought I'd heard her wrong. I *hoped* I had. But she just shrugged, and said: "I think it's wrong. Homosexuality. Gay marriage. It's --" [/paraphrased]

(At this point, I figured out she seemed to actually mean it, and I gaped at her, and said:)


She blinked at me. She actually seemed *surprised*. o.O

Kristine has always been a crazy - but the harmless, amusing kind. Even at Christmas, when she was spouting off "God hasn't told me that part yet" when asked about her plans for the future, she was still the harmless, amusing kind. She's never, I think, been really zealous or devoted enough to be a *real* religious crazy - it's more that she likes some of the associations with *being* a religious crazy, and she likes the way it looks. That's not a dig, it's just the way she's always been. And when she decided to go to Bridal -- *ahem* I mean Bible -- College, I thought: "Okay, she can be harmless and amusing on a larger scale, get a "degree" for it, then hit the world at twenty-four and have no qualifications and hermit habits. No biggie. She'll adjust.

I never really thought it would *twist* her like this. Her school has PDA's - rules about physical contact in public. Funny, because there are no rules for girls being in contact with other girls - just boy/boy, and girl/boy. Funny.

But at Christmas, she was spouting off all these new nut-habits she'd acquired (what the rest of us were calling them), and it was a bit odd, because Kristine was one of those "Happy-happy, love anyone, hold hands and dance in a circle" kind of Christians before, and she never talked about even premarital sex being a no-no. But suddenly she was, and I sort of went "Eh..." and left it at that. But I did get her alone for a few minutes one night, and ask her "Along with all these new ideas of yours, you haven't decided that gay people are evil too, have you?" I think I was half-joking - but she laughed, and said "No, nothing like that."

So when I pointed out, in repulsed surprise, that she hadn't been spouting this bullshit two, three, four months ago, she just rolled her eyes, shrugged, and said that yes, she had, she'd *always* thought that, but she'd never said anything.

Okay; number one, bullshit. She wasn't spouting this crap at Christmas. It's *new*. Two, where the hell does she get off DEFENDING herself?

When I realized she was serious, I *recoiled*. I did. I felt, almost immediately, somewhat ill. Actually, very ill. Lost all appetite. As she continued to "explain herself", it got worse and worse. And when she *finally* realized that I was actually *not* accepting this with calm indifference, she looked at me and said: "Wow." She compared homosexuality to swearing. And then, in her "defense", said, placatingly, that "it's not any worse than anything she does."

Oh, WOW. How generous of you. HOW FUCKING MAGNANIMOUS OF YOU, Saint Kristine. I guess since God came down and gave you the special privilege to judge other people from that magical moral high ground, you get to be wonderful and giving like that, HUH? Must be FANTASTICALLY rewarding.

It was a bit like she was going down a list in her head - like she was reading from a script. Because every time I pointed out that one of her arguments was full of gaping holes, she'd move right on with a new, hugely flawed childish argument - ones that she fairly evidently didn't come up with herself. And if there's anything that makes me angrier than a bigot, it's someone who acts like a bigot FOR SOMEONE ELSE'S REASONS. Someone who doesn't think for themself. And whatever else she is, Kristine's not stupid. I certainly didn't think she was *this* stupid.

"The worst sin of all is stupidity you know about. The second worst is pretending you have no idea."

And she kept denying that she was homophobic, or a bigot - but especially homophobic. And I said: "What do you THINK IT MEANS?"

Apparently, homosexual relatioships can't include love, because "it's unnatural", and people who "think they're gay" have been "convinced they're that way by other people, who told them they were gay", and that "homosexual relationships don't include love," because "they're not really in love."

(At that point, Shannon -- in a moment that made me as proud of her as I haven't been since that time when we were fourteen that the scary street-preacher targetted Shannon, who is rather large in the chest, for a spur-of-the-moment-psycho-sermon on how "all women are evil sacks of amoral filth", and she flashed him -- and raised an eyebrow at Kristine, and said: "Oh, yeah, because it's so much fun, right? And trendy. And they have nothing but *fun* "pretending" to be gay. Right? YEAH.")

It was when she started defining homosexuality as a mental disorder that I walked out of the Denny's. Mainly because if I'd stayed inside five seconds longer I would have hit her. Very hard. And hurt her. And suddenly there was no little voice saying "She's your friend, you mustn't kill her".

I can track back to within a fifteen minute period the exact time when I was last that angry - it was five years ago. When I get *really* angry, I get REALLY angry. Which is why I very rarely get *really* angry.

Tonight I was so angry I was shaking. And swearing - which I don't do all that often. Hitting was a strong likelihood. Not so good.

On the ride home, she was trying to defend herself some more - and I think, within the last five-or-so minutes of the ride, I just drowned her out, telling her *exactly* what I thought of what she thought. I may have yelled. I know I was angry, probably sounded like I was spitting venom.

We pulled into her driveway, and she'd started talking again - and I wanted nothing more for her to just get out of my car. I can't remember what I said, exactly - something along the lines of the fact that if she now thinks this way, I don't think I can be friends with her anymore.

Then I told her to get out. And she did.

By then both Shannon and I were pretty angry - so we decided to go see Nadia and tell *her* what Kristine had picked up at school. Unfortunately, Nadia didn't seem to be home, at least she wasn't picking up her phone. So instead we just drove out to her place, and knocked on the door. No Nadia, but Brad was home. So we told him. And after we'd finished venting, the next few hours dissolve into caffeine haze. I vaguely recall sitting in the living room of Brad and Nadia's apartment, listening to something scratch around in the walls. It might have been mice.

To say I am shaken would be a serious understatement. I'm sickened, actually. This isn't like any other nasty shock I've ever experienced - this is that someone I thought I knew fairly well has suddenly revealed itself to be something evil and vile. I'm sickened, and there's a faint undercurrent of guilt for having ever associated with her, for being friendly with her, because it goes against *my* principles. I feel... soiled. And there's a strong sense of betrayal for being lied to for four years about what she's really like, what she really *is*.

Because yes, in my mind, bigots are vile monsters. And I do not, and shall not make qualifying statements on this. If she truly is this way, truly now thinks this way, I don't think I can be friends with her. I just... can't. Because it repulses me. And if she always *has* been this way, then she's been lying fantastically for several years, and I don't want to be friends with her anyway. Because you can do a lot of things to me, and I'll still forgive you, but you DO NOT FUCKING LIE TO ME. I don't fraternize with people who choose to be horrible people. I just... don't. Won't.

And if she isn't really, if she is (as I'm sort of hoping) just acting this way because her *school* teaches this (and if they do, I'll be sending some nasty e-mails) or because the guy she's dating thinks this way and she's doing it to *please* someone, she's still an idiot. But this is still the one I'm hoping for, because it just requires a few swift kicks in the head, and she'll be her harmless crazy self again. Hopefully.

But I can't seem to wrap my head around that - because I *know* she's not stupid. And intelligent people are not bigots. Not unless they're criminally insane, anyway. Because bigotry is illogical, and therefore...

Willing stupidity is the vilest sin. And if any *more* of my friends just happen to be closet bigots, tell me now so I'm spared the trauma of finding out by *surprise*, please?

Thing is, I *know* all religious people aren't this stupid. Know it for a fact. She wasn't, even, before. But suddenly... she is. It makes no sense. Something happened, or someone. And both are frightening. And... sigh.

*heavy sigh*. I'm still shaking a bit. And my shoulders are all bunchy. And my throat's all tight from not yelling. And my stomach is... roiling. And I still want to hit something. Or cry. But mostly hit something. And scream.

I'm exhausted. And since I'm puttering off into incoherence, I'm passing out now.
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