Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Contemplating "homophobia" literally

Resurrecting posts I never got around to at the time...

Remember a few years ago when a man who was fired from a business that teaches English to foreigners for writing about homophones (because his ignorant boss thought it had some association with homophobia), I am... finally... using that as a paltry excuse inspired to share the following which I'd composed before that incident (for no particular reason), despite the peril in which I could be putting myself.

(Having never made a penny from the blahg, I'm not risking much, I concede.)


Let's take a moment to consider the term "homophobia." Obviously that designates a prejudice toward homosexuals, derived from the pejorative truncating of that down to "homo" and tacking on the Greek "phobia" ("fear of"). This construction has been around for many years now and certainly is ingrained in the contemporary lexicon; I'm not suggesting it isn't handy for identifying that, or that there isn't still a significant need for such a term.

However, that construction—of a slang-influenced abbreviated version of one term and the (let's call it) scientific-based term—seems, upon reflection, like it should be somewhat troublesome. If one is aware of the etymology of "homo" and knows that means "same" then the literal translation becomes "fear of the same," and while that could still be construed to mean "fear of those who are sexually attracted to their same gender" it could just as easily suggest a fear of those who are like oneself. I'm not implying that's really a thing (although I'm not going to say it's not either), or that there seems a need for such a term. I'm merely noting it's a word that operates a little better if one doesn't break it down to its component parts, if one doesn't know the origins of those parts.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The cuddle/snuggle distinction

What is the difference between "cuddling" and "snuggling"? Both suggest a prolonged period of affectionate touching with one's body pressed at least in part with another's body, but the terms are obviously different words so conceivably there's some difference.

The only definite distinction I can draw is that on the Simpsons "snuggling" is Marge's euphemism for having sex, and so as far as I'm concerned that can be the difference: the latter carries a sexual connotation (if it occurs between consenting adults).

When in doubt, look to Matt Groening's characters.


As further evidence of "cuddle" being the less innuendo-laden one, I offer that in the show Doc McStuffins when one of the characters is sad or in some distress it is said (by Lambie) he or she needs a cuddle--not a snuggle.

The doc is in.