Humor isn't an excuse for hate

Dixon Vice Mayor Ted Hickman went viral last month after penning a column in which he called for a “Straight Patriotic American Pride” month. When his words were met with criticism and protest, he claimed that he was only making a joke.

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I have three deeply held convictions that I wish to share with the community.

  1. Cats are just sleepy raccoons that people let pee in their houses for some reason.
  2. Girl babies shouldn’t wear headbands so that people will know that they’re girls. Nobody should care if a baby is a boy or a girl, because all babies are the same gender: potato.
  3. Maybe white people should take a break for a little while? I’m just saying that I think we’ve probably done enough.
Have my convictions offended you? They shouldn’t. I was joking! It was all just a hilarious joke, and therefore I should not be held accountable for my statements. If you are offended by my tongue-in-cheek opinions, then you are being unreasonable. I, the person who just referred to cats as ‘sleepy raccoons’, am obviously the reasonable one here. This is the defense that Ted Hickman, vice mayor of Dixon, used to explain away his hate-filled column in the Dixon Independent Voice. In his column he referred to gay people as “tinker bells” who hold pride parades to alleviate their “inferiority complex.” He called for a “Straight Patriotic American Month” in July, apparently in order to counteract the effects of any Pride celebrations that took place in June. When hundreds of people showed up to protest his statements at a recent city meeting, Hickman went on the defense. He claimed that this article was meant to be taken as a joke. He was using tongue-in-cheek humor, he said, and that it was the “thin-skinned people” who got offended. Here are some examples of the many side-splitting gems in Hickman’s one-man stand-up special. “Now hundreds of millions of the rest of us can celebrate our month, peaking on July 4th, as healthy, heterosexual, fairly monogamous, keep our kinky stuff to ourselves… Americans,” Hickman wrote. “We ARE different from them… We work, have families (and babies we make) enjoy and love the company (and marriage) of the opposite sex and don’t flaunt our differences dressing up like faries (sic) and prancing by the thousands in a parade in nearby San Francisco to be televised all over the world.” Do you get it? The punchline is…actually I’m not sure what the punchline is. Maybe it’s something to do with the fact that this man is somehow still running for reelection in November. What even is a ‘vice mayor’? Vice mayor doesn’t sound like a political position, it sounds like something a high school student made up to use as filler for their resume. I wish to extend my deepest apologies to the vice mayor of Winters (whoever you are). Dear sir or madam, I am sorry if I have offended you. I was just making a very witty joke, so if you are offended then that’s really on you. I also can’t get over the fact that he misspelled the word “faries.” I feel like the correct use and spelling of derogatory names for LGBTQ+ people must be pretty high on the agenda at the local Make America Straight Again meetings. I would like to take this moment to apologize to all people who would attend Make America Straight Again meetings if they could. Most of you are good people, I’m sure, but I know that there are some thin-skinned homophobic people out there who just can’t take a joke. Look Hickman, nobody was expecting you to apologize. If you have made it all the way to 2018 and still think that straight people are superior because they can get married and procreate, then there’s no hope for you. Same-sex couples have had the right to marry in all 50 states since 2015, and at this point you should have at the very least figured out that no gay couple ever got drunk and woke up the next morning having accidentally adopted a kid. The issue with Hickman isn’t just his bigotry, it’s the excuses that he uses to defend it. Hateful language doesn’t disappear because the speaker pretends that they were telling a joke, and humor isn’t a get-out-of-consequences-free card that turns minority groups and their allies into toothless whiners. Humor is supposed to be edgy. An old white man writing about a minority group as if they were freakish, second class citizens is about as cutting edge as, well, an old white man. Dear old white men, I am sorry if I have offended you. That one’s on me.  ]]>

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8 comments
  1. Great column. Ms. Johnson’s humor-writing exhibits grace, charm and thoughtfulness — qualities clearly lacking in Hickman’s sorry diatribe that he’s apparently trying to pass off as “funny.”

  2. Great column. Ms. Johnson’s humor-writing exhibits grace, charm and thoughtfulness — qualities clearly lacking in Hickman’s sorry diatribe that he’s apparently trying to pass off as “funny.”

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