Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Some English Student: So you're reading about Harvey Milk?

Me: What? Oh, uh, no. Here.

I hand my copy of Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages over to fellow student.

SES: Why would you want to read about milk?

Me: Because it's interesting to me and it might help with my thesis.

SES: Well, why not read about Harvey Milk, he was a gay rights activist.

Me: I know. Don't really know much about him though. I just honestly don't have much interest.

SES: Aren't your kind supposed to care about this kind of stuff?

And now we reach the point where my eyes widen just enough to let him know that I'm struggling to hold back verbal abuse and viciously beating him with a wooden chair.

I've learned in the past few weeks that I'm now apparently known by people in the English department as "the Food Guy." Literally. I've actually met people for the first time in my department who have heard of me and now refer to me this way. "Oh, you're the food writer." It's also known I'm gay. What else is being circulated, I'm unaware. I prefer to keep it that way.

However, this "your kind" crap is a bit out of line (by which I mean completely). Now this may be a joke but from the tone of voice I have no idea. It could be an honest question, it could be friendly sarcasm, maybe he's trying to be offensive, or it could just be plum stupidity. Even if it is supposedly friendly I've only shared words with this person once before. I wouldn't even call him an acquaintance. To be this frank and offensive without any proper context is either dumb or he really is just in need of a good
ass kicking lecture.

Me: Uh... well, I've been busy.

SES: Well, I guess as long as it's one kind of milk or another I guess the gays are happy, right?

Fellow student laughs. Normally I just wave crap like this off. For some reason, today, not so. I. Am. Enraged.

Me: Fuck you. The book is about milk because I'm interested in the history of the subject. Furthermore, I don't even have time for the rest of what you just said and just what was so 'effed up about it! Just...

My voice trails off. I gather my backpack and walk out and away as fast as possible. My entire self is balanced between exploding in anger and violence, breaking down and crying, and dying of embarrassment. I'm literally so pissed off that for once in my overly verbose and talkative life I can't actually speak anymore. My brain tells me to bolt out of the building. To hide. I need to hide. I do not want to prolong this or have a second encounter.

I exit the building and hide behind a giant piece of what I assume is air conditioning equipment or a generator the size of a mac truck. I attempt to remind myself to breathe, my lungs beginning to suck in air greedily and push it out as fast as possible without lapsing into hyperventilation. Quietly, I swear to myself in a chain of colorful language that would peel paint of a wall and cause babies to cry.

Slowly, my anger subsides. I was never able to hold onto a bad mood. A good thing I guess. However, being around me during the 10 minutes I'm pissed is inadvisable, many innocents have been tongue lashed to near death. However, the fire burns out quickly and my rational mind kicks back in. I simply cannot stay angry at a situation or person for very long.

I am now left with 23 minutes before class to figure out 1) how people can be this stupid, 2) when I can see the Milk movie because, sadly, I really don't know jack about the guy, and 3) how someone can confuse a book with a giant milk bottle on the cover for a biography about a dead politician.


  1. Thank heavens you weren't reading a history of wieners.

  2. Garrett I have always felt that stupid people should not breed.

    You really do make me laugh. I can relate to having those moments. Quite a few of those lately. I just wish I had the guts to say to someone or a few people rather. Fuck you. I love it. You're brilliant. Glad you don't hang onto anger either. That's healthy.

  3. YOU handled that well. :) What an idiot. Obviously he hadn't seen the movie either. I just recently discovered your blog, and I love it! Your food photographs are lovely.

  4. Unless you fear for your life(physical and professional), speak up. Tell him how unacceptable his bigoted comment was.If repeated, report his harassing behavior.People laugh when uncomfortable as well as when amused: most people don't know how to deal with transgressive behaviors other than to snigger and be uncomfortable. All evil needs is for good men to not speak.

  5. ugh. so lame.



    and best of luck with your thesis. you're gonna rock it.

  6. What a stupid guy, maybe when he said the "your kind" comment you should have asked him to clarify why decent educated intelligent people (your kind) should be interested in Harvey Milk.

  7. I would have beaten the ignoramus into a mushy pulp of mush. Yep, you handled it much better than I would have.

    Good luck with the thesis!

  8. Have you considered applying a clue-by-four to the students head? They sound like they need some sense knocked into them.

    But, I admit, I was distracted from idiot by the book. Someone wrote a book about milk??? Who? And what on earth is it covering? Are you going to do a bookr eview?

  9. Well, you certainly handled it better than I would have!

    And Deb's right -- idiots shouldn't breed.

  10. stupidity seems to be in unlimited stock for some people.... :-/

  11. You know, I don't even know what he MEANS, and I was mad for you.

    The blessing, of course, is that he DOESN'T realize what a f**k-tard he is... because his life would be too unendurable if he were to grasp that fact. It's a beautiful design, really.

    And, of course, we just get to feel relieved not to be so foolish and idiotic... we get to feel SORRY for him (hopefully you're past the mad stage and on to pity... it's far more empowering and pleasant to feel benevolent pity for the foo'... rather than the dissonance produced by helpless rage).

    Glad you did some deep breathing... glad you didn't pass out. Looking forward to a milk blog.


  12. Ew. I have no patience for stupidity or intolerance. What an ass.

  13. Garrett,
    All that separates you from him (I still have a tendency to assume that only guys display that level of ignorance publicly) is that he saw the movie.

    Being known as the gay food writer is a lot better than being woefully ignorant.

    Hell, you could be me, the jobless food writer.


  14. I have not seen the Sean Penn Milk movie, but I recommend the documentary, which is on Hulu here:

    I might just have to read that book. But how anyone could see the cover and not realize it's about milk the beverage is beyond me.

    word verification: untspank. Wow.

  15. We just saw Milk and we loved it. I didn't know anything about him either..other than knowing he'd been killed at city hall.

    I did watch the documentary as well..and am thinkin' Sean Penn did a remarkable job as Harvy.

    People can be stupid..I have been before. I hope the guy thinks about what a stupid remark he made to you. Geez.

  16. What a dumbass; I mean, it was an honest initial mistake, as Harvey Milk has been in the news a lot, but for him to keep pressing that that is, well, depressing. It's more of that "some of my best friends are gay" kind of crap. Sigh.

  17. It is amazing how ignorant some people are. You handled that well, I think I would have beat him with my book.

  18. Seriously? You got that physically and emotionally wound up over a little comment?

    Sorry but I think you overreacted.
    It was logical to assume the book was about Harvey Milk.

    Gay rights is an extemely important topic in our society at this time. I'm straight and I am an advocate for gay rights. Why are you offended that someone would suggest to you that you should have a modicum of knowledge about the subject?

  19. Have been reading your blog for a while. Love the food-related posts and think your recipes are fabulous.

    Don't love the ones where you get angry at people in (supermarkets, coffee shops, restaurants). There are stupid people in the world. Accept this and put your energy into more useful new cupcakes :)

    Just my $.02.

  20. Who was this asshole? Do I know him? I can't believe that!

  21. You handled it well, far better than I would have. Lately four letter words are easier than trying to explain to the determinedly stupid the ifs hows and whys of things.

    I have a colleague at work who is constantly trying to catch me out - I am gay, but until recently have not been open about that, and still do not feel the need to shout it from the rooftops - the people who know know, the others can work it out out or just ask.

    This one just insinuates, and asks the odd leading question to try and catch me out. So far it has been a kind of game, but it is getting irritating now.

    Making such biased, and crass assumptions as that one did with you is just wrong, and is the kind of behaviour that I find inexcusable and intolerable.

    Again, fair play to you for the way that you dealt with it.

  22. Anonymous #2 - I'm not sure even where to begin with that...

  23. Kudos to you for not hurling the book at his head (though that would have been sad as it likely would have damaged the book).

    My life is all about milk...but the beverage, not the guy; I'll have to read this.

  24. Movies, great novels, enduring stories are about that guy that you were in that moment...why? Maybe it's because you are far more interesting than that insipid person making insensitive comments
    to you dear Garrett.
    Anyways that's my take. I'd rather fly kites with you anytime than waste a single moment with him.

  25. Garrett

    A long time lurker here. Good for you!! I cannot count the number of times I get asked if I personally know Kim Jong-Il. Yes, because ALL KOREANS PERSONALLY know him! ::eye rolls::

    BTW, I loved Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages. So yes exactly, fuck them ! :-D

  26. Oh, man, I'm sorry you had to go through that. I still don't get why people have to assume everyone fits inside their cartoon stereotypes. So, because you are gay means you gotta be a certain way, like certain things?

    I used to have a gay friend, we used to get along until one day he questioned my sexuality. Apparently if I'm bisexual I cannot have a boyfriend and I gotta act and look butch. He even said that I couldn't be bi because "I carry a purse". I replied that maybe I should just carry a monkey wrench around and stopped talking to him.

  27. Hoo boy... I had a moment not unlike this a month or so ago at work. A co worker stopped in my office to bring me a loaf of bread a student asked her to deliver to me when I came back to my office.

    She made some comment about how she was starving and had to deal with the smell of freshly baked bread wafting out of the paper, so I opened the bag and and tore a piece off the perfect, little round loaf.

    "I'm so glad you know how to tear bread because you're a Jew!"


    "You know, the tearing of the bread."

    "What do you mean?" At this point, I really had no idea what she was talking about, just that somehow I was being stereotyped.

    "Well, the father at the Jewish wedding I went to was throwing bread at people."

    Wow. Ain't ignorance grand?

  28. p.s. I'm very fond of your blog ~ your recipes are lovely, complimented by wonderfully witty and insightful writing!

  29. Oh, honey. The good news is that "stupid" isn't contagious.


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