The Other Side of Life: Effs to Give

By : Jason Leclerc
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Quite aside from our traditional definitions of masculinity within an institutionalized top-down order, we have built our own prejudices into our supposedly diverse LGBTQ community. The striations inherent in our growing acronym are still built upon prejudices in which some of us eff while others of us get effed.

In our case, it’s literal. As a totem to the wider society, the idea of effing versus getting effed is as much an idea as it is its own reality. For the most powerful among us, simply grabbing another’s genitals or exposing one’s own is its best own display of power: simply hinting that the power gradients are so ingrained in our social order is enough to reify that order.

And so, as we look outward from within the ostensive safety of our ever-elongating, rainbow-tinged alphabet soup, we know that there are those within our wider orbit who are simply, institutionally and historically effed. While we have our own implicit hierarchy within the LGBTQ community, as a monolithic group, we – along with women and people of color in America – have been effed. Except to the extent that members of the community have been able to openly assert their membership in other, less effed groups, all else equal, lesbians and gays and bisexuals and queers and trans-folks have been over-marginalized. Underlying most modern identity politics, much to the contrary misrepresentation by those who push back against it, is little more than demonstration that injustice persists. Sit-ins, Pride parades and boycotts are peaceful, generally passive, rally points meant to bring attention to the wider society that the order is steadily stacked tops upon bottoms.

We are all, eventually, on the receiving end.

While some of us have learned to take it, there remains ingrained in Western culture – and even hearkening Eden – a romanticized revenge culture. It seeps into every level of human interaction. St. Thomas wrote, “Now just vengeance is taken only for that which is done unjustly; hence that which provokes anger is always something considered in the light of an injustice.”

Vengeance became the capital that fueled a millennias-long stalemate of near-constant warring amongst empires and tyrants. Rather than leaving vengeance to God, warlords invoked gods to justify the waste of subjects’ souls and treasure. Like trade, where each transaction is returned with mutual benefit ad infinitum, war perpetually returns war.

Vengeance begets vengeance.

Traditionally and historically, and propping the tenets of transactional trade,  there are those for whom the approach is, “When they eff you, eff  ‘em back.” Effing came to be treated as an allocation of scarce resources. Comparative advantages in the activities of effing gave way to pissing contests for capital. It invokes a tendency to despotism.

George Washington warned that the political institutionalization of tyranny from, “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge … which has perpetuated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.” In America, we have discovered that free trade, despite its inherent benefits – like promoting innovation and equality – can quickly devolve into schemes (if not natural market tendencies) to reduce competition. Trade, when coupled with corruption, builds systemic barriers to market participation: a despotic, “Eff ‘em before they eff you.”

Those factionalists who subscribe to this strategy must always be on offense – as we see, offending. Everybody is seen as a rival for – if not scarce resources – power. The restrictive market for power has been institutionalized, inscribed upon the way they, with privilege, have risen beyond the quest for visibility or even good old fashioned vengeance. Most market bottoms don’t even recognize the markets that they are frozen out of. Most of us are too busy rapt in the petty vengeance that the preemptive effers use to distract us from a level of effing that is mostly unavailable to us. It takes a special – narcissistic verging on sociopathic – breed to engage this on a personal level.

Witness the systemic perversions of glass ceilings, disenfranchisement, wars on drugs and dehumanization of sexual and gender identities to know that such institutional barriers to entry are the stock and trade for those with the most power. For those in the visibly marginalized groups, those who’ve taken to and accepted the bottom, there is a tacit commisery with those who’ve accepted victimhood (those further up the effing ladder) who are the quiet acceptors of this power gradient.

And then there is true evil: the complete abandonment of human, social decency:  “Eff for eff’s sake.” There are people for whom, regardless of how much power or money or vassals they’ve accumulated throughout their lifetimes, there exists no greater pleasure – even when given the opportunity to engage in Bacchanalia, which is often also available – than power-effing others. The monsters who engage this apparatus are driven by something deep inside themselves, what would otherwise be a horrific extension of hell’s grasp. Occasionally, these raw-effers rise to the heights of power as poseurs, dropping bits of their own diseased evil into others’ susceptibly human hearts.

If a prayer remains for the vast numbers of effed people on Earth, it is that the effed might claim a power from their historic effedness: a celebration of the fantastical beauty that we bring to the world. With even a simple inversion of the ‘L’ and ‘G,’ lesbians climbed up within the political hierarchy – the subtle cultural awareness – of the rainbow community. Similarly, the alpha male imprint upon that community increasingly yields to the power of the bottom. Masculinity, as a construct, is under assault. It should be. Masculinity, as a real and enduring way of being should give way to the market for power – barriers be damned.

It’s time for the effed to get hard – to stand like a wall – against the systemic injustices that have held them in victimhood. It’s time for the effed, with martyred heroes like Oscar Wilde and Alan Turing and the countless souls stolen by violence and AIDS, to rise up, to claim power: to rise from the bottom’s passive effed-ness.

The other side of market positions resides in the power of the consumer: for those who’ve taken it – for those too long on their knees, for those too long prostrate to the pleasures of the effers, for those too long on their backs with feet kicked skyward – to claim their part of the power-market from the tyrannical, factional, barrier-to-entry-protected, effing-oligopolists.

If it means using our hands for a while, and that becomes a symbol-come-weapon of resistance, then watch the effers crumble beneath our fists. It’s time to emerge from the cover of victimhood – to eschew “just vengeance” and “factional … despotism” and claim power in the carnal acts of living – to display the power of democracy: bottom up.

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