Brush up thy insults

Ramblin’ Educat is sick of her students calling everything unpleasant or distasteful “gay.”

My tests? Gay. Five minute passing periods? Gay. The rule against bringing your baby to school on carnival day (or any other)? Gay.

For years, I’ve been fighting it by arguing that my tests, the passing periods, and leaving your baby at home have no sexual preference. While I respect that these things don’t make you happy, they’re not homosexual.

Today, I hit a wall with “gay.” I have now decided that I will respond to that word in kind. I will use other laws from the book of Leviticus as insults.

* “Man, you need to quit! That’s so crazy it allows cattle to graze with cattle of other kinds!”
* “Oooh, you totally wear clothing made from more than one kind of fabric.”
* “You touch the skin of unclean animals. You do it alla time, so’s your momma!”

In response to a request for more Levitican insults, commenter Dee suggests: “Man your grain offering is soooo full of yeast!” Bev adds: “Man, this test is jus’ unclean, that’s all. Un. Clean.” From Ms. Cornelius: “Because of your arrogance, I will not smell your pleasing odors.”

There’s a lot in the Bible.

About Joanne

Comments

  1. Walter E. Wallis says:

    It may well be that the PC enforced acceptance of homosexual activities has brought the only resistance still attainable.

  2. Nicksmama says:

    Wow. “Gay” is so….so 80’s. I remember it was popular to refer to anything unpopular as “gay” way back when I was in middle school (late 70’s early 80’s) – long before all the multiculturalism/tolerance lessons (and funding) were introduced. Glad to see fruits of all this effort (see “abstinence education”)….

  3. Oh yeah, that’ll make them change – using insults from a piece of literature (specifically the Book of Leviticus) that none of them have read. And in other news, public opinion of teachers continues to drop; educators cannot figure out why…

  4. But the unspoken question is why the use of “gay” to mean homosexual was accepted with only minor mutterings from the sidelines.

  5. Charles R. Williams says:

    Well, the emperor has no clothes in spite of what all the adults say. Despite the original connotations of the word “gay,” the reality of the homosexual lifestyle is unpleasant and distasteful in the extreme.

  6. I drop by this blog frequently, but rarely ever leave comments.
    Although politically liberal, I really appreciate the different
    points of view on education from Ms. Jacobs, and have in fact have actually changed my mind on issues (eg I used to support bilingual education, but not believe immersion to be the best option for most students).

    However, the one thing that always scared me off from commenting more was the unseemly cast of characters this blog attracts in the comments sections…

  7. mike curtis says:

    What a gay idea.

  8. BadaBing says:

    At the risk of being unseemly, let me say that I don’t see what the problem is. My tests? Gay. Five minute passing periods? Gay. The rule against bringing your baby to school on carnival day (or any other)? Gay. I just about fell off my chair reading that, it was so funny. It bothers Ramblin’ Educrat only because she lets it bother her. There are so many other things to do combat with in the day that I’d just go with the flow on this one. Choose your battles carefully and try to let the small stuff slide. I am reminded of this quote: “It’s not the climb up the mountain that wears you out but the grain of sand in your shoe.” Pretty gay, I know.

  9. Nels Nelson says:

    As mike and BadaBing demonstrate through their use of the word, Ramblin’ Educat doesn’t seem to have a good handle on the meaning of the word “gay” in this context. It is closer to lame or weak than “unpleasant or distasteful”.

  10. Nels, can’t say lame or weak. That shows bias against the handicapped. So, let me sum up the problem. We need a generic insult that doesn’t offend anyone.

  11. Charles R. Williams says:

    However, the one thing that always scared me off from commenting more was the unseemly cast of characters this blog attracts in the comments sections

    Typical of liberals to engage in ad hominem insults rather than rational discussion with those who disagree with their pieties.

  12. Ad hominem attacks? As a person who just called my lifestyle of work, dinner with friends, talking on the phone with my mother, visiting relatives, and reading books “unpleasant and distateful to the extreme,” Mr. Williams certainly lives in a glass house. He managed to personally insult large numbers of people he’s never even met based on a single thing they have in common. That’s called bigotry.

  13. Independent George says:

    Jimbo: “Man, you kissed a girl – that is so gay.”

    I was also going to quote South Park, but all the good lines I could think of were too explicit to post.

  14. Even better than insults from the Bible are the compliments. What girl wouldn’t be thrilled to hear “Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies”?

  15. I’m with jab. I like this blog a lot but occasionally something like this comes up and I stop reading. I don’t need to see this kind of bigotry in my morning reading of educational policy.

    Where do people get the sense of entitlement to pass judgment on entire populations, and think that their opinion is so compelling that it belongs on a public forum? To think that their ignorance is worth sharing publicly? Where does that entitlement come from?

  16. Speedwell says:

    I was an aspiring musician when I was a senior in high school in the mid-’80s. I had a friend who was an accomplished soprano. We were both being recruited by local colleges. She once visited a campus where some of our older friends went, and called me that afternoon in an attitude of high drama. Seemed she had been sitting with the guys in the musical theater group at lunch, and they were swapping jokes and quips at each other’s expense for fun. She thought the practice was cruel and catty, and expressed herself so: “Oh my god, y’all are so gay.”

    The whole table just turned around and silently LOOKED at her. You know the kind of look I mean.

    (Presumably we are all worldly enough here to know why a group of college boys in musical theater would find her remark a trifle clueless.)

  17. Speedwell says:

    Interestingly enough, Walter, if your conjecture about “PC-enforced acceptance of homosexual activities” (watch those hyphens!) is correct, how do you explain the fact that the usage of “gay” to express generalized mild negativity is a good deal more than 25 years old?

  18. Walter E. Wallis says:

    DamnifIknow.
    Is “Gay” only 25 years old in this usage?

  19. Myrtle said: “We need a generic insult that doesn’t offend anyone.”

    Hmm, what’s a good, general term that anyone and everyone will use with no qualms to express the idea of “bad” or “evil” or “oppressive”…

    I know! “White”!

    “White” can be the new “gay”! “Man, that’s mighty White of you”, “you so White”, “what a white thing to say”…it works on so many levels!

  20. This makes no sense. The kids aren’t using “gay” as an insult because of Leviticus.

    Very few of them will have read it, and many of them won’t even be Christians in any sense but the most nominal.

    They’re using the term because homosexuality is unusual and disapproved of by their peer group, for the most part. (And, honestly, disapproved of even if tolerated by probably a significant majority of the population as a whole.)

    Homosexuality has been disapproved of (unjustly or not) without help from the Bible, in many, many places. (It was “unmanly” among the Romans, if I recall. The Germanic tribes did not approve, either, even before they were Christianised.)

    It seems odd, thus, to bring in utterly irrelevant laws from Leviticus.

  21. Andrew H. says:

    Jason,

    Plenty of people actually use “white” as an insult as in “acting white”. I personally use the term jokingly.

    Hateful terminology will go out of use eventually. We don’t need to completely ban every offensive term. People eventually realize the harm of the words and stop. Give people some credit for their desire to not hurt others.

  22. Hateful terminology will go out of use eventually.

    Only to be replaced by other terminology.

    My mother is a special education teacher and I can recall when I was younger the advent of alternate terms to “retarded” became popular in education. So now, instead of kids calling other kids retarded as insults, they call them slow, or LD, or whatever.

    I don’t even think this pattern of evolving insults can be changed either, much to the dismay of idealists.

  23. BadaBing says:

    Craig:

    He managed to personally insult large numbers of people he’s never even met based on a single thing they have in common. That’s called bigotry.

    Quit with the high drama, will ya? When you consider what the “single thing” they have in common is and the lifestyle and physical act that goes along with it, Mr. Williams is dead-on from a heterosexual male’s point of view. If they’re honest, most heterosexual males will tell you that the homosexual act repulses them. Funny that you don’t seem to be aware of that.

  24. Sigh.

    “…my lifestyle of work, dinner with friends, talking on the phone with my mother, visiting relatives, and reading books…”

    Uh, yeah. Sure, you believed that that was the “lifestyle” he referred to. After all, that is the only possible thing that the “homosexual lifestyle” might possibly refer to in his statement.

    It couldn’t have anything to do with anal sex, frenetic partner-switching or anything like that, it had to have to do with what you do with your mother.

    Sure.

  25. BadaBing: most heterosexual males will tell you that the homosexual act repulses them….

    I’m not sure this makes sense.
    I’m a heterosexual male and therefor have no experience with the homosexual act so what is it that is supposed to repulse me?
    The sight of it?
    Haven’t had that happen either.
    The thought of it?
    I’ve got other things to think about.

    I suppose that if I were forced to watch such an act, it would be unpleasant but so would being forced to watch most of the heterosexual population doing the mating thing.

    Any significance to that?
    None that I can see.

    Male repulsion to homosexuality is often a lame assertion of their machismo. It is something I see every day in my students. The boys are trying to be men and have no idea how or what that means. Attacking homesexuals and homosexuality reassures their insecure selves. As they get older — and become more comfortable with themselves (and become sexually active with girls) they often become more tolerant.

  26. Larry Straus wrote: “As [heterosexual males] get older — and become more comfortable with themselves (and become sexually active with girls) they often become more tolerant.”

    Although clearly not, as exhibited by the intolerance, bigotry, and 4th-grade style generalizations exhibited on the previous comments.

    Unless the problem is lack of the aforementioned sexual activity?

  27. Educat wrote a humorous post complaining about her students’ propensity to use “gay” for things that are neither sexual nor cheerful. I’m pretty darned sure she was joking in suggesting slurs from Leviticus might replace “gay.” Homosexuality has nothing to do with the use of “gay” by teenagers, and I’d just as soon not host a debate on whether gays are good, bad or whatever.

  28. Yep, Joanne, you’re right. I personally thought it was hilarious. Perhaps if people went to the original post and read it, they would understand that this was tongue in cheek while also decrying an insensitive– and nonsensical– verbal habit of some of our students.

    But then I guess there are adults who defend the use of “gay” to indicate displeasure. Oh well– all fat is the Lord’s.

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  1. […] I was reading Joanne Jacob’s blog last night and came across “Brush up Thy Insults“. It’s a fun way to cope with the word “gay” coming out of our […]