Midway through a climb on one of the favorite local cycling roads I had the pedals moving at a good cadence and was feeling good about this year’s fitness when a red pickup truck flew by in the other direction as a voice called out from inside the cab.
“Faggot!” someone yelled.
I get the culture differences going on here. We all know that certain people don’t like to share the roads with cyclists. The argument typically goes like this: people who drive motorized vehicles are the ones that pay the taxes that fund the roads. Therefore, those who drive cars and trucks have more rights than cyclists, who supposedly don’t pay a dime for the roads.
Only that’s not how reality works. Millions of cyclists also drive cars and pay the same fees and taxes that other people pay. The Rules of the Road very specifically guarantee cyclists the right to use public roads. In fact, drivers of motorized vehicles are in many places legally required to give cyclists a full three feet of space when passing a person riding a bike traveling in the same direction in the same traffic lane.
Many motorists consider cyclists these rules an inconvenience at best and an annoyance as a matter of daily existence. There is also a breed of motorists who view cyclists as an affront to their God-given right to drive on the road without interference. These motorists think like the lead character Todd Rundgren song Emperor of the Highway:
I am the Emperor of the Highway
I wield the Universal Will
One might chance to overlook on my Divineness
Unless I’m sitting in the Imperial Poupe de Ville
Leave it to Todd to cut through the crap. It’s the perceived presumption that cyclists think they’re better than everyone else that pisses off so many motorists. This presumption enrages people who think their personal rights are being infringed by having to actually accommodate cyclists on the road. It’s an affront to their sensibilities in the driving sphere.
Those so offended will use almost any excuse and express their frustration through insults at any cyclist they encounter on the road. They make no distinction. They plainly hate all cyclists, from little old ladies pedaling putz bikes to road cyclists in close-fitting kits.
The angry reactions directed at cyclists can get quickly personal. When angry motorists can’t think of anything intelligent or sufficiently forceful to say, they tend to use insults that are easy to shout, and don’t take too much thinking.
That’s why the word “faggot” as shouted out the window of the red pickup. Clearly the goal was to insult my masculinity somehow. Faggot is a term once-used to describe homosexual men. It was originally meant to be derogatory, but as noted on Dictionary.com: “The terms faggot and fag are both used with disparaging intent and are perceived as highly insulting. However, faggot (but not fag) is sometimes used within the gay community as a positive term of self-reference.”
It’s the same thing with the term “nigger.” When used by black people to discuss black issues, the term nigger takes on entirely different meanings. Nigger can become almost a term of endearment or relationship when used as an inside joke to describe problems common to the black community.
That use of the term “nigger” is almost a reverse parallel to the manner in which the Inuit people have a vocabulary that includes many different terms for snow. It’s all about sharing common experience and its practical applications. When something is seemingly similar but really is not, it can be quite empowering to take hold of that dynamic and own it.
Now that we’re culturally working through new range (and age) of gender identity issues, there is plenty of backlash toward those advocating more rights about gender identity. The Internet is abuzz about companies seeking to accommodate people who are transgender or who claim a gender identity of the so-called opposite sex. To clarify, this is how Gender Identity is defined for cultural purposes: Gender identity is one’s personal experience of one’s own gender. All societies have a set of gender categories that can serve as the basis of the formation of a person’s social identity in relation to other members of society.
Hundreds of thousands of years of human evolution have produced considerable variation in the bodies and minds of the human race. Yet it seems there are people who still can’t handle the fact that diversity in race and gender have always played a part in that biological history.
To some people, that diversity is a fact to be celebrated. To others, it’s a cause for tribal reaction. In one of its most massively flawed explanations for the diversity of the human race, a story from the Bible about the Tower of Babel insinuates that the many languages that evolved among human beings over the centuries was the direct product of God shattering common language and scattering people over the face of the earth.
3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
This act apparently pissed off God pretty thoroughly. Here’s what God was supposed to have thought and done:
5 But the Lord came down to see the city (Babel) and the tower the people were building.6 The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel[c]—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.”
This tale seems to contradict the entire mission of Jesus Christ, which is to unify the peoples of the world under one common faith. Yet Christianity struggles even to agree on the interpretation of the opening chapters of Genesis and whether God literally or metaphorically created the world in seven days.
So people struggle to find a common narrative in all this anti-historical nonsense we’re taught to believe about the world. As a result, some make choices based on the lowest common denominator they can find.
For example, they take the Bible also at its literal word about sexuality. This becomes a common denominator of sorts. And in defense of this archaic worldview, there have many insults invented to describe all those who don’t abide by the same tribal background or behaviors. Each new wave of immigrants to America gets the stiff-arm treatment. Catholics and Protestants for centuries fought over their relative interpretations of the bible. And where the Christian faith does not preside, Muslims have also resorted to tribal responses and slaughter each other with veritable glee to this day.
So the foundations of all this fuss over “gender identity” has deep, tribal roots going back to the dawn of recorded history. People can’t handle the idea that someone outside their “tribe” of heterogamy should have even basic rights such as access to the restroom of their choice.
It goes to show where the real asses of this world can be found. It also explains how people who think of themselves as righteous can actually turn into plain and simple assholes.
If they follow the example of how God acted in the whole Tower of Babel story, it’s no wonder people are such jerks to each other. Go back and read that piece of inane literature about the Tower of Babel again. It’s not even a good folk tale. Seriously: Is almighty God really threatened by the idea that the human race is going to climb up a Tower and get him? And we really must ask this question: does God also hate capitalism, because he seems to genuinely fear human enterprise at its core.
We don’t hear these types of questions coming out of the tribal mouths of cultural and capitalist warriors. Whenever the Bible or some other book contradicts their entire worldview, they just don’t want to hear it. They’d rather drive a curious or considerate soul right off the road than have to slow down to question their own ideas about who owns what.
With God as their original witness, perhaps the road hogs of this world are simply following a really bad example from scripture. They prefer the petty, jealous and possessive God to the God of Grace and love. They turn their God into the Emperor of the Highway, and happily abide by his example both on the road and in the restroom, where no transgender or gender identity cheek shall ever meet the same seat as those who claim to be Emperor of the Toilet as well:
I am the Emperor of the Highway
Strapped with foolish mortals such as these
I need never indicate my intentions
I can stop and go and turn just as I please
SEEK JUSTICE. LIVE FULLY.