YTAH's Weblog

Jon Qwelane Wants You to Take Him Seriously.

Posted in queer (gay),satire by YTAH on July 29, 2008
Tags: , ,

If you’ve read Jon Qwelane’s column in the Noonday Sun, or whatever it’s called, you’ll know that he wants you to call him names. (He says so in his title: “Call me names, but gay is NOT okay”.) So please, call him anything you like. Write him letters; phone him at home; start Facebook petitions called “Jon Qwelane is an ignorant cunt who should be stoned to death with hunks of dried-up cowshit”. I’m sure he won’t mind. (Actually, I’m not sure if that’s exactly what he meant. After all, I’m gay, so I’m only half-human anyway. Maybe I misunderstood. Oh well. Time to take a breather, so I may as well break out the frilly pink thong, high heels, and make-up, and go shopping for gay porn.)

John Q PublicSpazzwank, clitwort, fucktard: Any name will do.

Once you’ve read the article, you may also know a little about Jon’s beliefs. For instance, you would know that “wrong is wrong!”, and that he will under no circumstances “write letters to the [Human Rights Commission] explaining [his] thoughts”. When you read this, you may think something derogatory, like “You’ve never had any ‘thoughts’, you miserable twat”. Or perhaps you thought, “What a queer little man.” But if you did, you would be wrong. Because this column is satire. Didn’t pick that up? That’s because you haven’t read it with all due care and attention. Confused? Don’t worry. Despite my homosexuality and the obvious disadvantages that this entails, I shall endeavour to clarify this, after which I shall obligingly go away and change my sexual orientation to something more in line with my colleague’s unsullied moral standards.

Welcome to Satire: Population … ?

To grasp my point, you need only consider the following paragraph, which is a magnificent example of misdirection:

This time, some leftists among the Anglican Communion want not only more homosexuals ordained as bishops, but women as well.

There. See? Satire, pure and simple. You can tell, because the main point of his article is about how homosexuals are evil. He rails against what he “misleadingly termed … ‘lifestyle and sexual preference'” – but here he’s employing classic satiric techniques, anti-climax and misdirection, to provoke a laugh. Brilliant. It’s a diversionary tactic, meant to elicit guffaws of laughter. And my god, when I read this, hilarity ensued, I assure you.

Minstrel in blackfaceBlack people – they’re so funny!

To anyone paying attention, it’s quite clear what’s happening. Even his name illustrates his satiric conceit. Jon Qwelane – Jon Q. – John Q. Public, the man in the street, the common view, the lowest common denominator. And this is the secret clue that will unlock this entire puzzle: to wit, the revelation that our esteemed colleague is poking fun at his own persona: that of the backward, uneducated, politically dubious, reactionary, and downright boorish fool – basically, the same stereotype of the black man that the Apartheid regime used to justify their own system of oppression. After all, what issue better exemplifies our Constitution’s open-minded, progressive nature, its difference from those of other nations (including the United States), than this one entrenched right, the freedom from any “unfair” oppression based on sexual orientation? Race, gender, religion – as rights go, all these things are old hat. Almost every damn country has provisions protecting people against unfair discrimination on such grounds, but relatively few have embraced sexual identity as a Constitutional right. Most other countries, when faced with the prospect of homosexual marriage, gay adoption, etc. etc., need to navigate a legal quagmire; here, we simply turn to the first page and – voilà! – you have your answer. Clearly, he is adopting the persona of the ignorant buffoon in order to show up the illogicalities and absurdities of John Everyman’s view of the world, and to make us question his assumptions. Once you realize the rhetorical value of this persona, the brilliance of the conceit will become apparent.

How clever is Jon Qwelane?

Consider the following jest:

Why, only this very month – you’d better believe this – a man, in a homosexual relationship with another man, gave birth to a child!

Now, on first reading this, it may strike you as simply a feeble attempt at humour by a barely-literate cunt – someone who doesn’t get out much, hasn’t passed the intellectual and emotional maturity of an 11-year-old, and still thinks that adding an exclamation point to a sentence makes everything hilarious. But do not be deceived, for this is a masterful subversion of the stereotype. It’s as if he’s saying, “Look, I am not a moron; I know that Apartheid politicians, Klan leaders, and bigots of all stripes have always defended their intolerance on some perceived biological difference between people of their fair-skinned races and those of the darker. I realize that what has helped uphold this argument is the caricature of the black man as an uncivilized buffoon, hardly more evolved than the gorillas. But I am not that person. I’ve read satire; I’ve made my living as a writer; I know things. And I know that this caricature is unfair. Therefore I shall adopt this persona satirically, in order to undermine the untenable viewpoint I put forward in my article.” See? Satire.

Qwelane - what he's got to say this weekWho will take Jon Qwelane seriously? Answer below.

So when you read about his prayer for the day when politicians with “their heads firmly affixed to their necks” and their balls firmly attached to their (presumably male) genitals would rewrite the constitution, don’t make the mistake of assuming that the columnist’s point is the obvious one. Don’t waste time, for instance, trying to convince him that his suggestion – that we allow reactionaries to rewrite the Constitution – points the way down a dangerously slippery slope, yada yada. And it is equally pointless to argue that his stated proposition echoes the opinions of those who believe that all of our country’s problems – crime, poverty, unemployment, power crises, inflation, etc. – would all magically disappear with the return of the white Baas and the pass laws. It is futile to do so, because he’s not seriously trying to convince you that this is a good idea. If he did, he would have come up with a more convincing, considered justification. As it is, his position couldn’t convince a goat.

Nothing but mammals

No, indeed. Again, I can only deduce that what we have here is a momentous case of misdirection. I think that what our friend Jon is really objecting to is interracial marriage. Why do I say that? Because of his last paragraph, dear reader. As someone who writes satire, and enjoys reading it when he can, I realize the power of a final paragraph. It’s more than an opportunity for a final jibe or a pithy moral; it’s also a significant locus of rhetorical purpose – the thought the writer hopes to leave you with when you put down his article. So let us consider now Jon’s final thought, the culmination of this most magnificent piece of writing, where he gives his ostensible rationale for excising “those sections” of the Constitution “which give licence to men ‘marrying’ other men, and ditto women”:

Otherwise, at this rate, how soon before some idiot demands to “marry” an animal, and argues that this constitution “allows” it?

Nazi ghosts say 'We Will'The Jon Q Fanclub.

Again, at first, you may think this simply another throwaway gag, an afterthought; a casual, ill-advised joke made by a mindless wankstain – not so. For herein lies his entire argument, and a worthy one it is too. As Adolph Hitler put it so eloquently in his magnum opus, Mein Kampf, that unparalleled tome of philosophical power and insight, what are we if not animals? Thus, when our esteemed colleague conflates the example of two men marrying and that of a man marrying an animal, what other conclusion may we draw but this: that he too believes that man is but another animal? Now, are not some animals superior to others, and therefore more worthy of consideration and power? And is it not immoral to yoke animals of unequal quality to one another? And what is our esteemed colleague Qwelane doing here but employing the same impeccable logic as our friend Adolph, when he implies that certain types, classes, or categories of people should not be considered fit to be yoked together. Surely we can draw no other conclusion, for his logic is unassailable.

Of course, there is one small problem with his logic, and it runs thus: are men not more equally yoked to other men, rather than to women? For surely, as he implies when he says that women shouldn’t be ordained as bishops, he believes that women are inferior to men. But this leaves us with a quandary: if men are equal, and women are equal, what does this imply about homosexual men and homosexual women? Are they beneath heterosexuals of both genders, or only below heterosexual men? And are homosexual women ranked higher than homosexual men because they’re more mannish, or do the rules apply differently to sub-humans? The system at this point is unclear. Perhaps when he has time the esteemed columnist can further refine his system for us.

More about how clever Jon Qwelane is

But I think that once again our esteemed colleague has bamboozled us, using another classic strategy of satire – deliberate contradiction. Often, when crafting a satiric text, the author hides a subtle counter-argument somewhere within the text itself, trusting that the reader will disregard the ludicrous, exaggerated argument put forward by the narrator and embrace instead the more convincing, nuanced, and logical viewpoint obscured within the text. Once you recognize that you’re reading a piece of satire, you can draw your own conclusions – and often these will be quite counter to the narrator’s stated position.

Charlie Sheen, Hugh Grant, Heidi Fleiss, toiletsFamily photo: Some Johns and their Madams.

Thus, when faced with a satiric piece of writing, something written in a polemical style meant to provoke a reaction, you should carefully re-read the text to ensure you get the true meaning behind all the blather. Because let’s face it: there’s something strange about this guy’s argument. Specifically, if he’s so opposed to gay culture, why is he so familiar with it? I mean, he talks about “regularly see[ing] men kissing other men in public, walking holding hands and shamelessly flaunting … their ‘lifestyle’ and ‘sexual preferences'”. Now, I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember the last time I saw a gay couple on the streets holding hands, unless they were walking past a gay bar or wandering around the gay quarter. How does a self-proclaimed bigot have such an intimate knowledge of homosexual activities? Well – don’t you see? The guy has obviously been hanging around … in gay bars! Where else in this oh-so-liberated country do you see two blokes snogging in public? No wonder he’s afraid that we’re going to call him gay. He and senator Craig should start a support group. Or maybe they can start a Facebook group of their own: “Psychologically Stunted Cunts for Their Right to Be Confused”.

My apologues

But back to our colleague’s argument: what is so repugnant to him is not the thought of two men marrying each other, but the thought of a black man marrying a white woman, or vice versa. (For readers who are also gay and therefore slow of wit: vice versa in this case means “with the gender of the participants swapped around”, not the words “black man” and “white woman”. Everyone knows women shouldn’t be allowed to make those kinds of decisions themselves.) Perhaps you still don’t understand how I came to this conclusion. But don’t worry, I will explain.

What our columnist is doing is employing allusion, a rhetorical device used frequently by the Romans. This can involve anything from the citation of famous texts, legends, or myths; subtle references to well-known historical examples or figures; or the invocation of a familiar trope or argument. And what, you may ask, is our esteemed columnist alluding to in his concluding jest when he compares certain people types of people to animals? Why, the insights of those unimpeachable moral thinkers, the Nazis, the authors of those eternally true and relevant tomes of moral argument, who argue that it is both moral and just to delineate entire groups of people as sub-human, based on one’s own narrow, uninformed beliefs. And which demographic group has their science shown as sub-human more often, more convincingly, and more resolutely, than uppity black folk who believe that they are “human beings like us” and who therefore imagine that they have some claim to our sympathy, dignity, and a right to life? Anyone with half a brain would agree. I mean, “what these people have against the natural order of things”? After all, the white supremacists have been telling us for years: aren’t black people just animals, anyway?

I find it tremendously brave of someone who is themselves black to be bringing this analogy to our attention. To criticize his own demographic, and embrace the views of those misleadingly termed “oppressors” of his people in such a way, must have taken tremendous courage. It is something for which the rest of his race will no doubt have ample opportunity to thank him in the coming time. And indeed, it is surely time to cast off “the rapid degradation of values and traditions by the so-called liberal influences of nowadays” and go back to the better days of yesteryear, when black people could get shot, or worse, for even looking at the Baas’s wife, nevermind thinking of marrying her.

Eventually, we’ll get around to excising all those pesky provisions, such as the freedom of speech and the right to human dignity. But in the meantime, use your freedom of speech: call Jon Qwelane a cunt. He wants you to.

Yours truly, asshole.


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