Mr Garrison's Homophobia

Jump to: navigation, search

In the episode "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride (#1.4)" (1997) of the satire/comedy series South Park, a teacher named Mr. Garrison gives his students the following brief speech as his explanation of what homosexuality is:

Gay people, well, gay people are EVIL, evil right down to their cold black hearts which pump not blood like yours or mine, but rather a thick, vomitous oil that oozes through their rotten veins and clots in their pea-sized brains which becomes the cause of their Nazi-esque patterns of violent behavior. Do you understand?

How is this speech homophobic? Of course it is homophobic. But how is it homophobic?

Homophobia is a focus of categorism. In this particular case it is on the individual level (although it certainly has implications on other levels as well), as this is the ramblings of a single individual. What facets and abstractions of categorism is contain within Garrisons short rambling speech? Well, lets break it down...

  • 1. "are EVIL, evil right down to their cold black hearts" = Demonization: Gay people are depicted as evil and awful.
  • 2. "which" = equivocation: The word "which" is here used to seamlessly blend two very different definitions of the word "heart" with each other, thus seamlessly transitioning the rant from demonization to dehumanization.
  • 3. "pump not blood like yours or mine, but rather a thick, vomitous oil that oozes through their rotten veins and clots in" = Dehumanization: Constructing gay people as being something else (and less) than real human beings.
  • 4. "their" = othering: He constructs gay people as being "them, not us". (On an unrelated note: In later seasons, Garrison is revealed to actually be gay.)
  • 5. "pea-sized brains" = Stigmatization: Regardless of whether this part is taken literally enough to be dehumanizing, it is definitely a case of stigmatization. Note that the entire speech is stigmatizing, not limited to this phrase.
  • 7. "of violent behavior." = Narrempiry: Garrison claims that gays as being "violent", but seem to base this supposed fact simply on the fact that them being violent fits into his narrative.
  • 8. "Do you understand?" = Incomprehensibilization: No, they don't understand. Because there is nothing to understand - Garrisson's explanation makes it harder to understand gay people, not easier. His "explanation" is, among other things, an act of making gay people incomprehensible. Note that the entire speech is this, not limited to the rhetorical question at the end.

Breaking the brief speech down like this works only because the context of the speech is still implied. It is how the words are used, in context, that are facets of categorism. Not the words themselves.

This page is a hypothetical example of categorism.