Warwick Boar column which I described the editor as “One true anecdote from a friend, two classic American bands, and one joke about computer scientists.” A computer scientist who may or may not have been the one referenced texted me on the day of publication! Nice work Mike…
We all love a good stereotype, don’t we? There’s nothing more entertaining than sitting in your lectures imagining all your international (and northern) friends engaged in hilariously stereotypical activities. It makes up for a reality in which that French guy who lives on your corridor is never ever going wear a stripy shirt, beret, and onions, a combination infinitely more amusing than that slightly faded Ramones teeshirt he insists on wearing to every Union event. Especially the ones which don’t play The Ramones. Most of the time the nearest thing you will get to any stereotypes is the Irish and Russian students stumbling around drunk and incoherent. Sadly you probably won’t notice as you too will be incoherent and drunk as well. It’s called Top B.
We’re all smart enough to know that stereotypes can be fun if everyone within range is aware that they are just stereotypes. If anything those of us who defy certain stereotypes find it amusing to debunk them – in my case I love nothing better than revealing to people that despite being a diehard member of a top sporting club at this university, and a Score regular, I am in fact teetotal. In this I am pleased to be joined by those other magnificent impossibilities, the female engineer, the computer science student who has a girlfriend, and the English student who has risen at 9am.
Things are not always as they seem. To celebrate LGBTU Awareness Week I’ve even exhumed the memory of pioneering 1980s alt rock trio Hüsker Dü. As the band rose to fame rumours began to circulate that one of the members was gay. Most who heard the rumours took one look at the band and concluded it was bassist Greg Norton with his large, Freddy Mercury-like, moustache, and culinary tendencies. As it turned out he was the only straight member of the band, his two hetero looking bandmates were the source of the rumours (though they were not a couple as later rumours insisted).
Whilst the news that gays don’t conform to easily identified stereotypes may come as bad news to homophobes all over the country (now how can they gaybash without accidentally getting a straight person?) for everyone else it’s more a matter of common sense. After all, if the French don’t want to be pigeon holed by should anyone else? Why should the French get all the freedom? Eh?
So as communication spreads the sheer unrelenting normality of all folks across the internet we should take time to remember that people just aren’t as exciting as they might seem. It’s hard to find someone to truly ridicule when you can see they’re not so different (cue soppy music) hence why stereotypes must be invented and unrealistic fantasies hatched. Take my friend Kat. One of Kat’s internet quirks is going into lesbian chatrooms and playing havoc with one of the groups most commonly found in such chatrooms – men. A man in a lesbian chatroom is apparently really easy to spot, he’s the one with the unconvincing profile picture (almost always just stolen from a random porn site) who keeps asking questions to which real lesbians already know the answers . They’re also the ones most desperate for one-on-one chats, probably of a gynaecological nature. Kat’s role in all this is to approach the men and set them up for these chats… with other men. It’s for the best really. They’d only be disappointed when it turns out all the hot, real life lesbians want to talk about is how to convince their friend on their corridor not to wear that damn Ramones teeshirt for the sixth night running.