Talk about a bad break-up!

Oh Terry McMillan, you poor poor sista girl! You got your groove back only to find out that your man liked other men and instead of keeping it all civil considering the way you’ve written one woman handling things you had to go and call him names and lo and behold he goes and reveals the names you called him — McMillan refers to her ex as a “little fag” who is a “common fucking criminal, a common extortionist.”. Will $40 million really soothe your soul and reputation?

In a recent interview, Terry said:

I’m really getting tired of the fact that people get upset that I use the F-word to refer to Jonathan. It was the only weapon that I have. It offends me that gay men think they are above criticism. If you criticize them, you’re automatically a homophobe; I’m starting to think they’re heterophobes. I still see betrayal as betrayal. I don’t care how long he’s been in the closet; I didn’t put him in there.

[NY Mag Daily Intelligencer | Terry McMillan Reminds You That Her Ex-Husband Is the One Harming Her Reputation]

Now I can understand someone like Isiah Washington saying that the F-word was his only weapon, he’s a man that is paid to have someone else put words in his mouth. But Terry, you’re a writer and we’re supposed to believe that you couldn’t think of more creative words to detail how this man made you feel? (Word of advice during a divorce, going off on an answering machine tape will always come back to bite you in the ass) I’m so sorry that you can’t handle criticism because you spouted hate language. Golly where do we get off expecting better of you and then calling you on your shit when you act like a normal person? Oh wait, I see… it offends you that gay men think they are above criticism because we’re taking the slot that YOU wanted.

I’m not even sure why this bothers me so much. It’s probably the thought that it should be “no big deal” that people in the public eye are just as messed up as the people who adore them and the idea that gays are still so marginalized a group that it’s “ok” to call them names. There have been a long line of divisions along gender, class, race, nationality where using certain words was “ok” and nobody blinked but as people evolve, those words vanish – or at least they should.

It also ties into points Keith Boykin recently made in his post Why Are Whites So Homophobic?. White people get away with so much more subtle and blatant homophobia than blacks and other minorities. In the aftermath of the Washington slur, Sharon Stone and Kathy Griffin both spoke up with statements similar to “What’s the big deal? I call my gay friends that all the time!” almost giving back permission without context. We barely bat an eye when someone at the top of the food chain does it, but let a minority do it and it’s like society thinks, “Hey, they shouldn’t be saying that, they’re in the same boat!” They just think such a thing in the proper circles with like-minded people.

I think the general level of outrage is “improving” (?) in recent times, but still if it’s a high profile caucasoid saying something “wrong” they have to be someone you’re inclined not to like (or at least not agree with) such as Ann Coulter or The Greaseman, or someone who represents an institution you don’t care for like General Pace. I do feel bad for Terry as almost anyone that’s been through a break-up where you found out you didn’t really know who the other person was – though in her case it was a little more severe. But she won’t find me supporting actions and statements like that when the dirty laundry is aired. I’m sure there are details to the case that we don’t know, but I think she could handle herself with a bit more class instead of coming off like a character straight out of one of her books. Or worse yet, a character out of someone else’s books.

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1 Response

  1. shindo says:

    I have to admit, I am disappointed in Terry McMillan. Her rage and feeling of betrayal are understandable, but using the “F” word shouldn’t be her only weapon. As you mentioned, she is a writer so the basic lesson from creative writing courses apply here: SHOW, not TELL. Which means, she should articulate more of her issues, show exactly what gripes she has with this guy. In some cases, if people simply told the truth about something instead resorting to other tactics, they may have a more effective weapon.

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