Friday, February 12, 2010

Dumb by Reason of Dumbness

If you're not following me on Twitter yet, then you haven't seen the link to this wonderful story. A new poll showed up in the New York Times today showing that public is confused about the words 'gay' and 'homosexual.' The way the poll was set up had half of the respondents being asked about 'gays and lesbians' being allowed to serve in the military, while the other half were asked whether 'homosexuals' should be allowed to serve openly. According to the NYT:
The wording of the question proved to make a difference. Seven in 10 respondents said they favor allowing “gay men and lesbians” to serve in the military, including nearly 6 in 10 who said they should be allowed to serve openly. But support was somewhat lower among those who were asked about allowing “homosexuals” to serve, with 59 percent in favor, including 44 percent who support allowing them to serve openly.
Oddly enough, Democrats had a harder time with the semantics than other groups. "Seventy-nine percent of Democrats said they support permitting gay men and lesbians to serve openly. Fewer Democrats however, just 43 percent, said they were in favor of allowing homosexuals to serve openly. Republicans and independents varied less between the two terms."

This is just an obvious case of the importance of language. The words we use have connotations and definitions and layers upon layers of meaning to people. They're powerful. They have weight. Homosexual is a scientific term. It has one meaning. You're not getting taunted or teased with the word 'homosexual' in school. Gay, though, is hurled at boys like a javelin through the gut. It has an emotional weight. People identify with 'gay' or 'lesbian' as a victim to be saved, but homosexual doesn't register as much.

The saddest thing about this is that the group responsible for standing up for gay and lesbian citizens doesn't seem to get the idea of a synonym. Democrats are the political majority. Democrats have the recent history of standing up for civil rights. Democrats are supposedly sesquipedalian, and should therefore know that these words mean the SAME FREAKING THING!


In equally dumb news: Democrats aren't the only dummies in the news today. Have you heard about the blizzard on the east coast? Of course you have. Well, Fox News is trying to use this as proof positive that global warming is a left-wing, democratic, hippy myth thought up by Al Gore and perpetuated by overzealous college kids. The main argument seems to be, "Hey... It's snowing a whole bunch over there. Where's the global warming now?"

I guess that means that if it rains in the desert, the desert is now a wetland? Snow, a blizzard no less, in the north east coast in February is not really an indication whatsoever that climate change isn't occurring. It is merely an indication that February still happens in winter. #EpicFail Check out Rachel Maddow's brilliant video below.


Lesson learned today: Let's be careful with our words, and make sure that - when talking to Republicans - you use simple terms and allow them to color in relevant pictures with non-toxic markers.

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

1 comment:

  1. OMG! I love it...simple terms. Isn't Maddow terrific?!

    ReplyDelete