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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Homophobia or Homophobiaphobia?

Posted by on Wed, Dec 5, 2012 at 8:55 AM

Slog tipper Mike Gore points our attention to a crisis gripping the internet:

Last week the Associated Press declared war on the word "homophobia," deciding its new stylebook would ban it (and "Islamophobia") because a "phobia" is an "illness" and connotes a "mental disability." Therefore, says the AP, it is not accurate and should not be used in a "political or social" context.

This was last month's crisis, granted. But I didn't see it on Slog and who knows if we are allowed to use "homophobia" ever again without feeling like bad people? So... now it's here to discuss, you homophobes.


Comments (36) RSS

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@7, since 1953.
Posted by clashfan on December 8, 2012 at 2:51 PM · Report this
NotSean 39
@2 & 30: yup.
Posted by NotSean on December 5, 2012 at 9:35 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 38
@18 - "The Slog is right"

Finally, you admit that you are a bigot. Good for you. See, doesn't that feel better?
Posted by Free Lunch on December 5, 2012 at 8:38 PM · Report this
@32: Speaking as a gay man, I will give you the same response as I would to a woman in the same situation: PUT THE FUCKER'S LIGHTS OUT.
Posted by DonServo on December 5, 2012 at 6:55 PM · Report this
Hey chemists, you need to come up with a different name for hydrophobic molecules. The alkanes are complaining that they're not afraid of water, they just think it's against God's plan.
Posted by ridia on December 5, 2012 at 4:40 PM · Report this
@27 -- I thought homophones had sparkles and glitter and vintage buttons set in a circle as if in a dial:…
Posted by six shooter on December 5, 2012 at 4:31 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 34
Wait, didn't I read somewhere the Vatican owns part of AP?
Posted by Pope Peabrain on December 5, 2012 at 4:02 PM · Report this
I'm a straight guy. Recently, at a bar, a drunk guy (who swore he wasn't gay) pinned me against the wall and kissed me. I realize that this type of thing happens not-infrequently to women, but it was a first time for me.

anyhow, I didn't punch him, because I didn't want him to think I was homophobic. Should I have punched him, then?
Posted by fetish on December 5, 2012 at 1:39 PM · Report this
Oh, great ... now we're going to need a czar to spearhead the War on Homophobiagate.
Posted by RonK, Seattle on December 5, 2012 at 1:13 PM · Report this
balderdash 30
It was never a very accurate word to begin with; it's not a "phobia" if you hate gay people, you're just a fucking asshole. Maybe in some cases that is actually based on fear, but that's not what we mean when we say "homophobe." We mean hateful shithead.

Cat's out of the bag, though. Once a word is in the common parlance, you can't just issue an edict from on high being like, "YOU CANNOT USE THAT WORD IN THAT MANNER ANY LONGER. STOP IT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW, I HEARD THAT." At that point you're just the "Well, ACKtually..." douchebag at a party, magnified by authority, and everyone is going to ignore you. It would have been nice if we had a better word to start with, but this is the one that caught on.
Posted by balderdash on December 5, 2012 at 1:01 PM · Report this
#27, I like your sense of humor!
Posted by ProstSeattle on December 5, 2012 at 12:29 PM · Report this
Homophobia most certainly arises from an irrational fear. Far more irrational, certainly, than arachnophobia or acrophobia -- some spiders could actually kill you, as could falling from a great height.

The word as presently used is accurate.
Posted by d.p. on December 5, 2012 at 12:02 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 27
Listen, the english language is sometimes confusing, but context is everything. I can talk about 'watts,' but everyone w/ any intelligence would understand by the context whether I'm talking about electricity or a suburb of LA. It's all very simple...

Wait, what?

I thought you were talking about 'homophones.' Never mind.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on December 5, 2012 at 11:52 AM · Report this
treacle 26
@24 ftw
Posted by treacle on December 5, 2012 at 11:50 AM · Report this
Rob in Baltimore 25
Replace it with terms like "irrationally anti-gay","paranoiacally anti-gay, or "pathologically anti-gay." I'm sure sloggers can come up with some alternatives that fit the new guidelines, yet have an equivalent or bigger impact to "homophobia."
Posted by Rob in Baltimore on December 5, 2012 at 11:47 AM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 24
On a slightly related note, I think "Homophobirotic" should be a word. It means "sexually arousing to homophobes." So like homoerotic, but with more self-loathing.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on December 5, 2012 at 10:49 AM · Report this
T 22
"Homophobe" and "homophobia" as words are too soft for the vileness they're used to describe. I much prefer "bigot" and "anti-gay" - harsher sounding and doesn't allow the recipient to argue they're not *afraid* of gay people.

All that said, this is dumb.
Posted by T on December 5, 2012 at 10:17 AM · Report this
venomlash 21
@3: Quite right. I once roomed with a guy who was a kind of freaked out by gay people. He didn't have anything against people being gay, he was just uncomfortable around gay people (male or female).
Granted, I roomed with him during a brief stay at a psychiatric facility, so...
Posted by venomlash on December 5, 2012 at 10:16 AM · Report this
You know... If only we could make a behavior go away by banning the word for it.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on December 5, 2012 at 10:08 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 19
I propose calling them "hateful cockfaces" until the AP gives a more suitable alternative.
Posted by MacCrocodile on December 5, 2012 at 10:07 AM · Report this
Seems to me that homophobia denoting an illness and a mental disability is exactly the point.
Posted by GermanSausage on December 5, 2012 at 9:59 AM · Report this
When people argue that GLBT people are trying to "force" gay marriage and a homosexual agenda on the rest of the country, they sound pretty phobic to me. So I'd say homophobia is a perfectly legitimate, perfectly functional word.
Posted by Clayton on December 5, 2012 at 9:59 AM · Report this
Gus 15
What's wrong with bigot? It's a much better word than homophobe.

I don't care if someone is afraid of gays or not, just whether they try to oppress gays. I'm afraid of spiders, but I don't go around trying to keep them from getting married -- I'm an arachnophobia, not an anti-spider bigot, and I tolerate spiders.
Posted by Gus on December 5, 2012 at 9:57 AM · Report this
care bear 14
They should just be called bigots.
Posted by care bear on December 5, 2012 at 9:52 AM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 13
"Anti-homorphic". Is that too wordy? Does it state the case? What the hell does it mean! I'll try again.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on December 5, 2012 at 9:44 AM · Report this
We don't call people who are anti-Jewish Jewophobes, we call them anti-Semitic.

People who are anti-gay should be called that. It isn't an irrational fear of gay people, my experience is it is a hatred of gay people. Let's call them on it.
Posted by ProstSeattle on December 5, 2012 at 9:36 AM · Report this
I have always disliked this term as it suggests there is something beyond the control of individual in their bigotry. Is Homophobia a diagnosable mental disorder? for some folks, maybe so, but probably not very many. We don't refer to people who are bigoted against other groups as 'phobic'. Maybe we should.
Posted by Chris Jury on December 5, 2012 at 9:21 AM · Report this
Knat 10
It's worth reading the short column Dom linked to in order to understand why this change isn't a good idea.
Posted by Knat on December 5, 2012 at 9:20 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 9
I was under the impression it was an irrational fear.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on December 5, 2012 at 9:20 AM · Report this
Pick1 8
Alrighty, I'll stick to just call them plain old bigots instead of homophobes.
Posted by Pick1 on December 5, 2012 at 9:17 AM · Report this
Since when did the AP declare itself the Word Police? As far as I'm concerned, they can just go fuck themselves (homosexually, since they are not homophobes) and the rest of us can continue to use the words we think best fit the need.
Posted by SeattleKim on December 5, 2012 at 9:17 AM · Report this
Geez, what a bunch of homopheebs.
Posted by bobbelieu on December 5, 2012 at 9:16 AM · Report this
douchus 5
I also think.
Posted by douchus on December 5, 2012 at 9:12 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 4
I think homophobia is accurate, because that form of hate is often caused by fear. Fear of being objectified by another man, or fear of being regarded as gay, for example. And homophobes are often neurotic about it, so I think that if one insists on the mental disability angle, it still fits.
Posted by Matt from Denver on December 5, 2012 at 9:10 AM · Report this
Following this same "logic", the AP should ban words like "butterfly," because butter doesn't fly. Regardless of what the dictionary says about the individual components, "homophobia" is the word that describes bigotry against gay people, and "islamophobia" is the word that describes bigotry against Muslims.
Posted by TechBear on December 5, 2012 at 9:04 AM · Report this
Fistique 1
I'm appalled at the stigmatization of mental illness and disability implied in this rule. Also I hate the New Yorker's umlaut policy.
Posted by Fistique on December 5, 2012 at 8:59 AM · Report this

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