February 27th, 2013Homosexuality and Terminological Social Engineeringby Colin Jory

We Australians invented the decidedly crude “p” word for practising homosexuals. It probably derives from “powder puff”, with effeminate males evidently being known for a time as “powder puff-ters”, and with the “powder” part then falling from use. Like various well-known Australian movie stars and movie producers, the p-word is one of my country’s contributions to world culture, albeit a more uncouth one (our international movie identities being not especially uncouth). I was once standing near a television when a German movie was playing, and what should I hear within the stream of German speech but, unmistakably, the p-word! Fair dinkum! That’s when I realised that this Australian vulgarity had made the international big time.

It caught on world-wide because it is more densely packed with feelings of disgust and contempt than the equivalent American word, “f—t”, and much more so than traditional English equivalents such as “nancy boy”, “queer” and “queen”, which are comparatively polite. It even carries, in its sounds, onomatopaeic suggestions of the very acts to which it adverts. It comes in a slightly abridged, toned-down version when the final syllable is dropped, leaving simply “p--f”, which in contrast to the unabridged version suggests disdainful amusement rather than stomach-curdling disgust.

At the other end of the approval-disapproval scale is the term “gay”, which is genuflective and is designed to convey and encourage reverence for homosexuality. Of course, this attempt at terminological social engineering is faltering, with “gay” having become among the young a term of mild derision, meaning more-or-less what was once expressed by the term “pathetic”, but carrying distinct overtones of its immediate origins and thus suggesting a particular kind of pathetic. This is the kind which the young associate, if usually unspokenly, with limp-wristed homosexuality. That said, it’s sad that today when one hears the melodic words, “Down the way where the nights are gay”, one is less likely to think of Harry Belafonte than of the homosexual English traitor and knight-for-a-time Anthony Blunt.

Terminological engineering to change attitudes rarely works for long – witness the words “cretin” and “silly”. “Cretin” comes from “Chretienne”, French for Christian; and “silly” originally meant “blessed” – as in Coleridge’s “The Ancient Mariner”, where reference is made to the “silly buckets on the deck”. In the Middle Ages the Church encouraged the faithful to think of the mentally handicapped as “blessed” and as the truest “Christians” because once baptised these seeming-unfortunates could not be guilty of sin, as they lacked free will, and so they were assured of going to Heaven. The hope was that this politically correct terminology would induce the unwashed multitudes to think more charitably of the mentally impaired. However, instead the terminology was debased by the association, until Chretienne (Christian) and silly (blessed), when used in relevant contexts, became derogatory synonyms for “stupid” or “retarded”. The same well-intentioned mistake is being made today through the use in schools of the term “special” for intellectually slow children. When a non-handicapped student wants to rib another, he’s now likely to say (usually the culprit is a he), “You’re special!”

I almost never use the genuflective term “gay”, as noun or adjective, in reference to homosexuality. My usual noun in colloquial speech is simply “homo”. Of course, the politically correct will be outraged, since they will feel that by thus abbreviating I am guilty of belittling, but they can scarcely have me dragged before the Thought Police for my irreverence. After all, their favourite term of stigmatisation is “homophobic”; and although this literally means “fear of mankind” (as of homo sapiens), they are using the “homo” part as an abbreviation for “homosexuals”, and are thus themselves calling the latter “homos”. In reality normal people do not have “homophobia”; what they have is homonausea – they find the thought of homosexual acts and antics sickening. They are homonausic. However, I doubt that this more accurate terminology will find traction among the politically correct, or pass muster with the political police.

And a final thought – why don’t the secularist impuritans label disgust at the sexual abuse of children “paedophoblia”? I suspect that they will, when paedophilia comes back into fashion in their circles. It was very much in vogue among them, at least in their “enlightened” verbal and written chatterings, in the 1960s and 1970s because above all of the influence of the paedophilia-promoting Kinsey Report; and the logic of their boundless amoralism virtually ensures that it will become acceptable among them again when social fashion once more permits.

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  • February 28 2013 | by john hartnett

    homonausea! it perfectly describes my opinion of these silly people, their acts and their antics. Let's coin that term.
  • March 1 2013 | by Dena Hunt

    I'm not Australian, Colin, and I don't know what that p word is. Obviously you can't publish it, but HOW can I find out? It's making me crazy.
  • March 2 2013 | by lorraine v. murray

    This is interesting and cleverly written, but somewhat disturbing. Why call homosexuals "homos" when that is obviously derogatory? If you don't like "gay" or "p---" or all the rest of the terms, then just call them homosexuals, which is technically accurate and doesn't descend into name-calling, which the term "homo" does.

    Aren't we called to treat others with compassion, despite their sins? And aren't we called to make a distinction between a person's sexuality and his/her actions? Obviously, there are many men who have homosexual inclinations, but do not act on them. Perhaps in public they appear effeminate, but we ought not to conclude that they are engaging in homosexual acts--and we shouldn't stoop to name calling, really, with anyone. Disgust and contempt for the act -- yes-- but this article suggests disgust and contempt for the person as well.
  • March 2 2013 | by patrick

    A wondeful clarity! The wisdom of children is a sign of hope.

    It is also instructive to realize the term "GAY" stands for 'Good As You', and is a political slogan to enforce an agenda of inequality.

    For even the most mentally challenged realized that a man and woman cooperating with the natural order of reality are the only ones who can reproduce children and that this is a
    superior arrangement. It is what makes
    a commonwelath and stable society possible.

    And 'homophobe' means fear of man. Surely heterosexuals who reproduce fear no man woman or child.
  • March 3 2013 | by Mike

    I have found the StAR magazine interesting, informative and educational. I also realise that the the blog, by definition, will contain a looser, less thought through contribution but reading the above I seriously question whether I will renew my subscription. Was the moderator on holiday? In what is verging on a hate crime in some countries the author trawls through terms of abuse that I haven't heard since the school playground. He seems to delight in abusing those whose sin is not his own, while leaving out any comment about his own particular fall from grace. The pity is that the magazine is often informative, especially about the loss of religious continuity caused by the Reformation. Dena, do you really want to know what the p word is?
    In this season of Lent we as Christians are asked to reflect on our own imperfections and attempt to bring our lives more in harmony with our Saviour. I find this challenge enough without setting myself up as judge of anyone else's imperfections.
    When I first read the post I was reminded of the song "Oh Lord it's hard to be humble, when you're perfect in every way".
    I would welcome any report about people with same sex attraction BY people with same sex attraction if such a post attempted to inform on the problem while revealing the common humanity of everyone, gay (that's "good as you"_ or straight.

  • March 3 2013 | by Kevin O'Brien

    Mike, the fact is that the acts are ridiculous. Laughing at sin is the best way to scorn the devil. And while, as Lorraine points out, we are not entirely defined by our sins - well, when we give our lives over to them we are. Should we not call a miser or a skinflint by their proper names? Should we instead say, "one whose generosity is lacking", or "that guy who fails to practice almsgiving and who hoards his money"? Likewise, a lecher is a lecher because he gives his identity over to that particular sin. Gollum became Gollum because the sin overcame his identity.

    In short, it is not only right to call a spade a spade, but healthy. This does not mean we are to persecute sinners, whatever their sin. We are called to love them - but we do not love them fully if we don't call them by the ridiculous names their ridiculous behavior dictates.
  • March 3 2013 | by Dena Hunt

    Dear Mike,
    It's not my place here to address the substance of your comment, but Colin's. But you did ask a question of me directly. To answer, first, yes, to be honest, I really did want to know what the p word is (I still don't know.) But I ask your indulgence for just a moment. Colin is a poet. I'm not a poet, but I am a writer. People who--for want of a better word, "get into"-- words, into the adventure of language do not have any sort of agenda, any sort of political, social, or even religious purpose, per se, relating to those words. Again--I'll not speak for Colin here, but I'll just try to draw an analogy, of sorts. My mother was a nurse. I remember when she told me about something a doctor did at the hospital where she worked that--well, it had to do with testicles. Really, the details are not important, but I was horrified. "Dena," she said, "some things we think of as horrible are made endurable by laughter." I got it.
    I don't know what Colin's attitude is toward people who have same sex attraction. I do know that the threat--yes, *threat*--of legitimizing any kind of soul-destroying behavior, whether it's sex, drugs, whatever, is real. My fear, unlike some others, is not for "the family" (though that is a very valid fear) but for those who suffer this condition/malady/problem/YOU choose the word. I fear for their sake. I have a novel out, The Lion's Heart, that would, I think, put to rest any speculation you might have that I regard this as some kind of "laughing matter." It's available at Amazon, and it's endorsed by Fr. Paul Check, head of Courage International, one of the most undersung ministries of the Catholic Church--undersung because it has to be, because people are so pre-disposed to offense, or even anger.
    HOWEVER, I am speaking for myself--I know that--and not for Colin. What I ask, on Colin's behalf, not my own, is that you spare a bit of indulgence for those of us whose lives are devoted, voluntarily or not, to language, to its play, its roots, its whateverelses.
    I told my mother, in laughter, the roots of the infamous f word. She was horrified. I wasn't. I was fascinated. It's the way we are. We mean NO disrespect. (Usually, quite the contrary.)
    Don't judge too quickly, please, if you must judge at all
  • March 3 2013 | by Ed

    Oh lord, some of you!
    The 'judge not lest ye be judged yourself' act gets old real quick when dealing with this subject. It's a conversation stopper, thrown out at any mere criticism of 'homosexuality'. It's something I expect from the 'homosexualist' crowd, not from our fellow brothers and sisters.
    Just what exactly did Colin do wrong?
    Homosexuality, or better aberrosexuality, is an abominable thing, deserving of scorn. Those that willingly engage in such acts are naturally scorned for it. Where is the wrong in this?
    Was Colin even doing that? It sounds like he was musing over, well, what the title suggests: Homosexuality and Terminological Social Engineering. I, and many others I'm sure, did not take it in a bad light.

    And another thing, I don't believe he was using 'homo' as a slang word, but as short hand for 'homosexual', etc. I have seen others do it too, and they were not using it like school kids do.
    And Mike, seriously, hate crimes? Good lord, you sure you're on the right site? The only countries that would condemn this article as hate speech are those controlled by the uber-left and their insanity. Please tell me your not agreeing with them?!
    Why are some people so touchy over this? It's not the first time I have seen it. I think I know why. Because they have accepted some portion of homoideology, whether that be an embrace of homosexuality itself as a good thing, or just the idea that they are a group of people, akin to a race or ethnic group. All wrong and silly of course. I've found that, much to my horror, many Christians, and I'm talking about the ones who don't support the 'gay' movement, still accept some part of their ideology, often unknowingly.
    I for one refuse to call them homosexuals. It does not exist. It was a propagandist word from the very beginning, the psychological community adopted it after the fact. I use the term aberrosexual, or aberrosexuality. It is the accurate term and it includes all forms of sexual perversion, not just 'homosexuals'.
  • March 4 2013 | by Mike

    Cardinal Keith O'Brien, senior cleric of Britain has just resigned over sexual misconduct (sexual advances towards other priests). Are you going to reject all the good he has done in his long life or define him entirely by his sins?
    Life is not black and white but many shades of grey. My point here is that homosexuality is often the subject of choice here when, let's face it, there are many sins, our own for instance, to write about.
    I never mentioned "Judge not" but I will mention "Let him who has not sinned cast the first stone". From some of the writings on this blog, a few of you would be taking aim; or at least holding the coats of those that were.

  • March 4 2013 | by Michael

    Ed, you have admirably stated the issues with great succinctness.

    As Catholic Christians we are called upon to love the sinner but not the sin. We are not called upon to participate in the promotion of the sin by adopting the cute names (for the sin) that the militant sinners would prefer.

    Unfortunately political correctness has infected some of those who consider themselves orthodox Christians.
  • March 4 2013 | by Recent Convert

    Funny piece Colin. smile

    And what odd commenting! What with complaints leveled at the post, to STAR itself, to it's defense, to Dena wanting to know a slang word! Strange indeed.

    In Colin's defense, I'm pretty sure he meant no ill. And I like Kevin's point, call a spade a spade, it's healthy, and right to do so.

    As to Dena's point about language, I too have had an interest in it, it's often quite fascinating. However, I mean legitimate language, not obscenity or slang. I have never found that kind of ill speech interesting, in and of itself or it's origin. So while I'd agree with you Dena about speech being so interesting, I probably would have been like your mother in that situation you mentioned, or at least I would not have found it funny. I have heard/seen that particular word so, so much in the short life that I've lived so far, that I'd love to never have anything to do with it again. Our age is so obsessed with profanity of some sort or another that even if I had an interest in that kind of thing, their making a gospel out of it would have turned me off the stuff for good.
  • March 4 2013 | by DBWheeler

    I agree, Dena, so I looked up Australian p words. I think it is the same word as what is used when a person disappears or reappears suddenly in a cartoon, which is most assuredly not a four letter word in this country... I don't know if that is the word he was referring to, though.
    I do know I will never besmirch a lovely word such as gay to describe someone's disordered sexual proclivities, however. Also, I think it is unnatural to be so 'politically correct' about a whole sub-group that thinks nothing of exposing our children to their coarse expressions, mode of behavior (especially on television and on city streets) that embarrasses women such as me who were raised to be ladies and that robs children of their brief childhood innocence. Men have apparently lost the drive to protect women and children from such perversity and are far more concerned in protecting the feelings of those who deliberately and systematically set out to threaten and persecute us. Heaven forbid that THEY should be offended. No one seems to care any longer that mothers, grandmothers and children are wounded by such barbarity. Why should I have to look up yet another dirty little expression to describe what can be summed up in one word...sodomy! And they are sodomites. I didn't even know what one was until I was 17! I grieve for my beloved grandchildren, and all children.
  • March 4 2013 | by Dena Hunt

    For R.C.:
    But it was fascinating, and when I explained it to my mother, she thought so too. Here's how I explained it to her, and to my students once or twice, as well: Does that word cause you to cringe instinctively?
    There's a very good, psychologically healthy reason that you cringe. With only a very slight vowel change, it's an old Anglo-Saxon word signifying "to strike" [violently]. Remember that the next time you hear it. You might also reflect on the fact that it's always used in some degree of anger.
    Etymology is always interesting to me, but don't imagine, please, that interest=approval.
  • March 4 2013 | by Kevin O'Brien

    Mike, you're largely right, and yet I would reiterate what I said - call a spade a spade. A lecher is a lecher, not a man of gifted libido. Shacking up is shacking up, not living together. Stealing is stealing, not a bailout for those too big to fail.

    I have found, when writing on the church sex abuse scandal, for instance, that people will defend pedophile priests and enabling bishops until and unless you describe the actual acts the perpetrators did. Even the euphemism "pedophile" for molester, or "abuse" for child rape tend to soften our reaction to sins that are abominable.

    Love the sinner, certainly. Hate the sin, yes. But you can't do either if you pretty everything up with sweet sounding words that serve to confuse meaning rather than to convey it.
  • March 5 2013 | by Harry

    I would note that Catholics like Eve Tushnet or Melinda Selmys (as well as Perry Lorenzo, I think) self indentify as 'gay' or 'queer', and both are great servants of the Church. And they, and others like them, have been instrumental in showing other gay people that the Church does not hate them.
    I really doubt that their conversion or their own efforts to convert others would be helped by the recommendation to call gays poofs, queers, faggots or any names like them that I learned to stop using by the time I was 10.
  • March 5 2013 | by Dena Hunt

    Before this topic is left, I want to protest having been robbed of the word "queer." It's a wonderful word, taken from us by "sensitive" people, and originally used to signify perverted sexual acts in a "sensitive" way, but over time, because of the meaning that was then attached to it, it too became unacceptable. See--the point is that when you once destroy a word by misusing it to conceal truth, you have to destroy another--all because you're avoiding truth.

    I love language. Ignorance is totally forgiveable (I hope, since I'm ignorant myself) but conscious, deliberate avoidance of truth is not. Using language to do that is a crime against language and against truth.
  • March 5 2013 | by Recent Convert

    Sorry Dena, I didn't mean to insinuate that you were approving of that kind of speech. I would not have imagined you would, though I don't know you in person, you seem like a honest, decent, good woman. My apologies!

    The tone probably didn't help either, as it came from angst. It was bad enough to begin with, of course, but nowadays it's everywhere, in everything, unavoidable. What was once kept in the sewers has now (along with so much other filth) become ubiquitous. I have devolped a knee-jerk reaction to it, and a strong one at that. Overexposure can do that; leads to one of two different paths, total jadedness, or high strungness. I'm of the later. So again I apologize Dena, I should have wrote that response in a more lucid manner.

    FWIW, I actually did know it's etymology, I had only forgotten. Funny thing, I had figured it out for myself, before being told about it later.
  • March 5 2013 | by Dena Hunt

    Verily, R.C., I know what you mean.
    What's interesting is the flap over this!

    Something's wrong here. Very wrong.

    Harry, read Colin's new post on this topic.

    D.B. Wheeler--thanks! I also don't want to see "gay" besmirched. It's a family surname (My grandmother's maiden name).
  • March 6 2013 | by Harry

    Dena: I did read his post, and for the life of me I can't see any rational response to my objection. Calling people with same sex attraction names plays into the hands of those who insist the Church hates them - it drives them apart and away from us.
    Look, I've given you the names of two prominent queer Catholics who are faithful to the magisterium and work hard at convincing other gay people that the Church is their friend. And they most certainly do not advise bringing back name-calling as an effective means of saying "God loves you."
    I would advise you to have a look at what they have to say - Heaven forbid we should actually ask gay converts what we can do to convert others with SSA- before hailing the above as an excellent evangelisation technique. That's all.
  • March 7 2013 | by Michael

    According to the PC crowd the RC Church must dispense with it's universality in favor of cutting out niches for "gay" Catholics and "queer" Catholics. This absurdity will lead to the utter balkanization of the Church. A recipe for negation. Any person suffering with hetero or homo sexual disorders enters the Church with the rest of the sinners.
  • March 8 2013 | by Harry


    Excellent post by Melinda Selmys (queer married Catholic) on shaming homosexuals and why it's counterproductive. I would encourage everyone to have a look at what she has to say.
  • March 10 2013 | by Michael

    When Melinda acknowledges that expressing the Truth of Catholic teaching is not "shaming homosexuals" than I'll consider reading her posts.