Gratuitous, perhaps, but offensive, never

My nomination for the “Best UK Weblog” category of the Queerday.com Queeries award (see this post) has caused something of a storm in a teacup in far-off Scotland, where my erroneous nomination has gravely distressed one of my co-nominees:

Queer Day removed a nominee from our first annual Queery Awards for Best UK Weblog. Ironically, we recently learned an Australian weblog, Buggery.org, somehow found itself in the UK competition. Perhaps nominating participants assumed buggery was a strictly British practice – we’re admittedly baffled. And while Buggery will remain listed under Best UK Weblog, another UK nominee asked to be withdrawn. “Would you please remove my site, Naked Blog, from your Best UK weblog poll. I don’t wish to occupy the same platform as an unpleasantly-named site featuring a gratuitously offensive picture. (The site in question isn’t even British, so far as I can tell.)” Voting in all categories continues through Sunday at midnight.

Let’s address the old queen’s concerns in turn. But first, there’s still a little time to vote for me. Go! Quick! Closes soon!

Firstly, is the name ‘buggery.org’ unpleasant?

The word buggery has been in the English language since at least the time of King Henry VIII. It appears in the statute books. It comes from the French bougre (a heretic) and eventually traces its lineage back to a pejorative term used against the Albigensian heretics, orthodox Christians who were said to do evil things such as fail to acknowledge the primacy of the Roman Pope. The word is ultimately derived from mediaeval Latin Bulgarus (a Bulgarian).

My Oxford dictionary lists buggery, without a suggestion that it is vulgar or taboo, at least in it’s primary meaning.

Australians know and love the word buggery and its many derived forms well. Here’s the relevant entry from the Macquarie Dictionary:

buggery noun 1. anal intercourse with a human or with an animal; the practice of sodomy or bestiality.

–phrase 2. as (all) buggery, Colloquial (an intensifier): hot as buggery. 3. go to buggery, Colloquial a. (an exclamation of dismissal, contempt, etc.) b. to deteriorate: the school has gone to buggery since the principal left. 4. like buggery, Colloquial considerably: it hurts like buggery. 5. off to buggery, Colloquial a. greatly off course; in error; astray. b. a long way away.

Secondly, is the picture above “gratuitously offensive”? Obviously that’s a matter of personal taste, but you should know I searched long and hard for a title image for this site which would be suitably edgy without being in any way pornographic. The picture at the top of this page was chosen specifically because you can’t see any actual sex, just one disembodied torso grasping another. My mother-in-law reads this website (hi Mom) as do many members of my family (both here and in Canada) who range in age from toddlers to octagenarians. No-one has ever complained that the site was inappropriate, scandalous, or NSFW.

If you go to Naked Blog you’ll be confronted by a photograph of Jackie Stallone which is, in my humble opinion, infinitely less tasteful.

Mr Naked Blog takes the time to explain his decision to quit the Queery awards thus:

I’ve written to the organisers of this, asking to be removed from their competition. See yesterday. (Now removed.)

Reasons?

First off, ghettoisation. Naked Blog is not a “gay blog”. There’s little or no (Kylie, Madonna-based) gay material here. We don’t do discos, clubs, drugs, sex, or even the Scissor Sisters. As a gay man I’m a sheer disgrace, existing purely on memories of younger, slimmer, less-lined days. Although I don’t try to disguise the reality, that doesn’t mean a need to celebrate it. I hate being gay. Hate it with a vengeance.

Also I’m not doolally enough yet to ignore the tokenism going on here. Two blogs in England, one in Wales and one in Scotland.

But one in Australia? G’day mate, but no thank you. I’ve removed all linking to that site, now that I’ve had a look. Naked Blog is a respectable written entertainment. It does not, and will not ever, link to sites containing explicit sexual imagery.

Oh, luvvie, you are in a tizz. There is not, and has never been, any “explicit sexual imagery” on buggery.org. For a long time, there was a link from here to Naked Blog, but I took it off a while ago when I got bored with his daily accounts of bingo calling, crisp eating and fag smoking.

Next, let’s address his contention that he withdrew because his is “not a ‘gay blog’” due to the absence of mentions of Kylie or Madonna. Buggery.org has never talked about Madonna, and has discussed Kylie only in the context of a post about AIDS fundraising and the red ribbon. Scroll down the page and you’ll find my views on the war on terror, religious intolerance, the movies of Woody Allen, and the respective (and very different!) legacies of Ronald Reagan and Susan Sontag. It’s hardly the kind of thing you’d find on the front cover of your local homo mag, but I’m more than happy to be classified as a “gay blogger” because, on both counts, it’s true.

Is that “ghettoisation” or merely a recognition of the facts? At least it’s not closeted or, worse yet, self-loathing.

In his most recent post, Mr Naked Blog proudly announces that he has been the lead story on Queer Day for 24 hours, and has garnered 200 visitors from the publicity. He then sarcastically attacks his own readers for failing to leave a comment, and announces that he’s going out for the evening to “get rat-arsed.”

Have one for me, mate.