Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Wanted: Better Terminology

I think the movement to define the institution of marriage as being strictly between a man and a woman suffers from some terminological issues that other hot-button social issues do not, to the detriment of the cause. The abortion issue has its "pro-life" and "pro-ritual-infant-sacrifice choice" factions, each signifying precisely what those sides are all about. Same with "pro-gun" and "anti-gun". But for the issue of whether or not to allow homosexuals to marry, the best we have is "anti-gay-marriage". That, by itself, suffers from a bit of... hyperhyphenitis. Also seen in print is "anti-gay marriage", which speaks of the support of some form of marriage which is, in its very essence, anti-gay. Strange. Then one has "anti gay marriage", which is just wrong, since anti is merely a prefix in our oh-so-limited English language, not a stand-alone word. Same deal with "anti gay-marriage".

Clearly, the culprit here is the phrase "gay marriage". We need a single term that encapsulates the issue, and yet is fair to all. First of all, "gay marriage" seems to be a bit of a misnomer, as it has been my understanding that "gay" refers largely to homosexual males, rather than all homosexual individuals (although it can apparently stand in for homosexual women in a pinch), and "gay marriage" encompasses the union of virtually all "alternatively sexual" individuals.

Thus, I propose a change of terminology. Let's stop calling it "gay marriage" and start calling it "queerriage". The whole "alternate sexuality" movement seems to have embraced the term "queer" anyhow -- from the early chants of "We're here; we're queer, ad nauseam" to modern acronymic abominations like LGBTTQBBQABCOICU812, so they can't claim offense to its use, right? (unless this is like the "N-word" and blacks -- is it? I don't know.) Moreover, this term is more inclusive than "gay marriage" since "queer" seems to mean "I get turned on by men, women, dogs, cats, umbrellas, furniture, fire hydrants, and/or, you know, like, whatever." Thus, one can be "anti-queerriage", "pro-queerriage", "agnosto-queerriage", or "queerriage-curious" without any awkward sentence construction or over-hyphenation.

As for some parsing: Bruce asked Lance, "Will you queerry me?", and Nancy and Hillary went down to the Multicultural Center to get queerried by, and to, their aerobics instructor." are both valid uses of the term.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Marty said...

You are right in so many ways with this, but I'm still not quite sold. There's a bit too much room for confusion between the words "query" and "queerry": "Senator Brownback queried the witness on the subject of queerriage." "Will you queerry me?", queried Max. Do we really want the gays, queers, whatever, ruining another word?

And by the way, are you picking on people named Bruce and Lance? It seems stereotypical to make them the gays.

3:24 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

What's the matter, Marty? A little homophonophobic?

And yes, I am picking on people named Bruce and Lance. Other candidates were "Gary" and "Julius".

3:35 PM  
Blogger Mazeman said...

Interesting thoughts. Pro-choice was coined first, I think, and people were initially pro or anti choice. The anti-abortionists came up with the nice pro-life afterwards, and breathed a sigh of relief.

I think "queer" falls into the same category as the N-word; only members of a group can say it amongst themselves.

I think "pro-orthodoxy" covers the marriage and abortion issue.

Someone also has to deal with this "Support The Troops. Bring Them Home" slogan. I was thinking of making a bumper sticker that said "The Troops Enlisted To Win This War. Support Them". Too long maybe?

5:25 PM  

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