The Revolution Will Be Blogged

I intellectually know better than making this post at 2 a.m. because it’s going to be rough and raw and will not be polished properly. I’m gonna do it anyway, though, because damn. Damn. This is insane.

I love this article. I do. Because it’s written like an exact “How To Belittle The Experiences Of Women and Gay People Who Talk About Harassment” Primer.

April 12, 2007 — One of them was “slightly pretty,” so the freelance film director decided to say hi.

Next thing he knew, he was encircled, beaten and knifed in the gut right there on a Greenwich Village sidewalk - by seven bloodthirsty young lesbians.

It came out of nowhere! It did! He was just walking along, minding his own business, when those lesbians (must make sure we know they’re young and lesbian) just attacked him for being friendly! That’s totally how this happened!

“The girls started coming out of nowhere,” Dwayne Buckle told a Manhattan jury yesterday, describing the bizarre beat-down he suffered last summer, allegedly at the hands of a seething sapphic septet from Newark, N.J. “I felt like I was going to die.”

“Seething sapphic septet”? That’s actually funny. I will totally give it extra points for that.

[Since it came up at work last week, Sappho was a Greek poet who wrote about loving other women. She’s from the isle of Lesbos. We get the term Lesbian from her. Without checking it in the dictionary, sapphic refers to women-focused or women-loving women type stuff. I was floored, being that I work with college graduates, that a good chunk had never heard of Sappho, which I think says more about me than them.]

Buckle, 29, of Queens, took the stand in Manhattan Supreme Court yesterday to admit he was defenseless and terrified after his simple “hello” spurred a predawn melee on Sixth Avenue at West 4th Street. Three of the original seven women are currently serving six-month jail sentences for attempted assault. But four others are on trial on first-degree gang-assault charges that could get them anywhere from three to 25 years in prison.

The accused ringleader - Patreese Johnson, 20, whom Buckle called the “slightly pretty one” - is additionally charged with attempted murder for allegedly pulling a knife from her purse and slashing Buckle repeatedly, lacerating his liver and stomach.

I want you to remember whose story was told first, and the incredibly sensationalised way it was just told. A simple hello! Defenseless and terrified! The slightly pretty one just came at him for no reason!

Hmm… That just strikes me as a bit odd. But then, I didn’t grow up in the city. And I understand girls are now meaner, and these were young lesbians, so maybe they’re part of that. Damn. Poor guy.

Oh. Wait. There was a video tape of this attack.

The women, in turn, claim they were defending themselves against a violent, anti-gay bigot, and counter that Buckle provoked them as he sat outside the IFC Center movie theater trying to talk pedestrians into buying his latest movie. When they rebuffed his advances - telling him he wasn’t their type - he began calling them “f- - -ing dykes,” they say. He then spat on them, threw a cigarette at them, and even grabbed one of them by the throat -which, like much of the melee, was caught on an IFC video security camera.

Right… that’s just “saying hello” in … some other language? Like Klingon?

“I’ll f- - - you straight, sweetheart,” he told defendant Venice Brown, 19, before choking her, her lawyer, Michael Mays, told jurors.

… You know, I don’t have a witty comment to make to that. It’s been too long a week.

Buckle told a different story on the stand, assigning many of his alleged attackers monikers. There was Brown, the one he admittedly called an “elephant.” Then there was the one with the “low haircut,” do-rag and wife-beater T-shirt,whom he admittedly called “a man,” and the “slightly pretty” one to whom he first said hello. It all started, he said, when the first two walked by. “They looked effeminate [sic] and one of them was slightly pretty, so I said ‘hi’ to them,” he said. But the “heavier girl, she started to dog me out,” Buckle said. “What does that, perchance, mean,” asked the judge, Justice Edward McLaughlin. “Just disrespect me,” Buckle explained. Then “more girls started coming out of nowhere.”

But I’m sure that he just “said hello”, right? And then suddenly seven sapphic samarai just jumped him, for no reason!

Buckle admitted he retaliated,telling the one with the “low haircut” that “she looks like a man.” He felt spit on the back of his neck, and spat back. That’s when the women’s fists began flying. “I had my hands in the air in defense of their blows,” he said. Then “I felt like a nick in my abdomen. I didn’t know what happened. “Everybody just jumped me,” he added, including three male passers-by recruited on the spot by the women. “It felt like it was 10, 20 people.” By the end, “I was messed up,” he said.

Which is, of course, earlier contradicted in this article by the mention of video evidence that he choked one of them after throwing a lit cigarette at them, blah blah. We don’t need to present the facts, though. We need sensational articles! We need it to be all about One Lone Man standing off against the Evil Seven Sapphic Sisters! Ack, the horrors of women - lesbian women, no less - and the way they’ll go at you if you let them out in groups!

So, let’s review:

- Women are just walking down the street, minding their own business, when some guy demands they buy his videos
- Women refuse, and for some reason that he’s not their type comes up
- Man starts hurling abuse at them for daring to be lesbians
- At some point a cigarette is flicked, a woman is choked, stuff like that
- Women fight back against their attacker
- Man = victim

Yes, I will totally agree that the man was knifed and that is horrible and bad. And yes, I will totally agree that violence isn’t the answer to street harassment (although did you hear about the woman who ignored the catcalls from a truck and the guy who was catcalling was so mad he ran over her. Last I heard she may die.).

But why the HELL is he being presented as an innocent victim in the lead in to this article? Why is it being presented as these wild and insane women (gay women!) just going off on him for no reason for the first few paragraphs?

This is my theory:

Because the women being lesbians is titilating. It’s an amusing image. It’s women’s sexuality, and we can’t make it not about the sex.

Look, I know sex sells. I do. But does it bloody well have to sell a violent attack on someone? Does it *really*? Can’t it just be about how a group of women retaliating after a gay-bashing incident? Doesn’t that make the whole thing a bit more serious? And shouldn’t the whole thing be taken a bit more seriously? The guy was knifed, for crying out loud. After attacking the women for not wanting to sleep with him. After choking one of them for… what, not wanting to sleep with him?

Why is this even considered journalism? It’s the New York Post for crying out loud. That’s… something, right?

Lord, I’m tired. If this comes across as sounding like I don’t think the women should be punished in any way, please believe me that I’m not trying to say that. They attacked him, that’s serious, and should be punished by the law.

But to pretend for just a minute that nothing else was going on here is a bit much.

I’m going to bed. Someone wake me when the revolution comes.

7 Responses to “The Revolution Will Be Blogged”

  1. nokie Says:

    Fabulous write up. I remember this happening and thought it odd that he only said hello. I’ll tell you, by the time I make it home, I am so tired of nonsense from grown men who should know better that I sometimes feel ready to cut somebody. I haven’t, though. I wear my headphones everywhere I go so that I don’t have to deal with having my ears raped daily.

    Even last year, the idea was that the women were crazy, and not that the guy had done anything wrong. Usually, guys who are bold enough to say hello to a woman or group of women on the street, are saying more than just hello. Phucked up world we live in with equally phucked up gender roles/expectations. The cherry on top of this poop is the incompetant media. What’s a girl to do?

    (Sorry about all of the phucks)

  2. Blue Gal Says:

    wanted to stop by and say congrats for the C&L link. Your blog is very well written, deserves high traffic and lotsa linky love. I was gonna say fabulous, but Nokie said it first.

    Love n’ panties,

    Blue Gal

  3. BAC Says:

    Blue Gal sent me the link to your post, and I’m glad because it’s excellent. I’d like to see the video of the incident to see what story it tells.

    I told BG this reminded me of an incident that took place in Florida in the early 1990s. I was a field organizer for NOW, and in the state to help organize a march and rally against hate (imagine the irony coming …). A co-worker was with me, an older African American man, and we were joined by a lesbian couple from the DC area who had come down to help. We were leaving a restaurant on the beach, and the lesbian couple made the “mistake” of walking arm-in-arm. I didn’t think much of it, because lots of women gay and straight walk arm-in-arm sometimes. It just didn’t seem like a big deal.

    Well, it was a big deal to the white guy driving a Mercedes, who started yelling at us. One of the women took offense to this and started yelling back. My co-worker and I were walking behind them and he turned to me and said – and I quote — “I’m getting in the car, because they always kill the colored guy first.” I told him I’d try and get our friend to just get in the car so we could leave. That was easier said than done, because she was really angry.

    The guy circled around us in his car. His girlfriend, and the couple in the back seat, seemed equally uncomfortable with what was happening. He finally stopped the car, with the car facing us, got out and proceeded to reach under the front seat. I suddenly saw my life flash before me and thought – “I’m too young to die. I haven’t done all the shit I want to do yet!” He stood up, with nothing in his hand, and said “scared you didn’t I.”

    This made my friend even angrier and she started to charge toward him. I stepped in front of her to try and talk her out of it, as he drove by. Unfortunately, I was the one closest to him when he decided to spit on us, and I caught it all. He drove off, we got in the car and I couldn’t help thinking to myself …”this is precisely why I’m here organizing a march against hate.”

  4. dejah Says:

    I’m wondering here if a key piece of information is missing here. I see an odd juxtaposition between this attack and the “AG” or “aggressive” lesbian scene I read about in an article (NYT? Salon? Just a blog somewhere?) this week. It rings right: the “slight” girlish femme lesbian, the tough talking, short-haired butch AG lesbian. What does this have to do with anything? Damned if I know.

    So okay, they should not have attacked him, knifed him and beaten him. You can’t advocate that course of action in a civilized society at any time. But what exactly WERE they supposed to do? “Just walk away”?

    GOSH, THAT’S EFFECTIVE.

    NOT.

    When he laid hands on one of them, and choked her, that was assault, they certainly could have grabbed a cell phone and called the police. Beyond that, what recourse is there in “civil” society for nipping gay bashing in the bud?

    As far as the NY Post goes, they are a notorious right-wing publication, known also for their sensationalism. Their coverage sounds like par for the course as far as they are concerned.

  5. Anna Says:

    I have no idea what the answer is - I have had people insisting they should have walked away, but I have no idea how you walk away from abuse, from someone choking you. Obviously something needed to be done, and as someone who wasn’t there, and has never lived in a big city like that, I don’t know what that something should have been. I don’t mean to sound like I think the women did the wrong thing in fighting back, or in defending themselves.

    A friend of mine broke it to me gently that the Post is a freakin’ rag and I may as well good and balanced news coverage from the Enquirer. Pretty eye opening to me since major cities in Canada only have two papers, and there’s only two national papers, so I’ve never really thought about a spectrum of reporting before.

  6. Jo Says:

    Yes, it was the New York Post, which is about as good as the Enquirer.

    It is, however, in print.

    This is the sort of stuff that is being fed to the less-rational among us (i.e., readers of the Enquirer) for news, and the more-rational of us (the Times’ readers, maybe) for the humor.

    And this is Not. Funny.

    So yeah, it’s from a rag. Doesn’t mean it’s not supporting the patriarchy like everything else.

  7. belledame222 Says:

    the post is actually worse than the Enquirer: it’s a Murdoch rag.

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