Thursday, November 13, 2008

NCSE blogger badly in need of a dictionary on gay intolerance issue

The National Center for Science Education's Josh Rosenau, who offers another defense of intolerant actions by gays against proponents of Proposition 8 at his blog "Thoughts from Kansas," appears to be in very serious need of dictionary.

Confused as to the definition of marriage, he also appears to be having some trouble with other English terms with fairly commonly accepted meanings. When I offer a few observations about the increasing intolerance of gays for people who disagree with them (a condition commonly referred to as 'bigotry'), he calls it a "hissyfit," and then starts hurling epithets again: "bigot," to be specific (a thesaurus might also be helpful for these people, since a few synonyms would relieve the monotony of them having to use this one term over and over and over again).

Now a hissyfit sounds like a lot of fun. I just wish I had really had it and had it knowingly so I could have enjoyed the experience a little more. But the charge of bigotry is the really amusing one. Here they are engaging in the most extreme intolerance directed at other people merely because they disagree with them and their opponents are the bigots?

I'm including a mirror when I send that dictionary.

But it doesn't stop there. Rosanau apparently is unable to make a distinction between blackmail and a boycott. He posts a letter from Proposition 8 proponents on his site which does no more than treaten a boycott of an organization for their position on the issue of same sex marriage, a commonly accepted way for groups on all sides of issues to do business (or not do it, as the case may be) when it comes to controversial issues.

Of course lurking behind all of this diversionary rhetoric is the issue of blacklisting, an activity that gays have condemned for years, but have all of a sudden started engaging in themselves. This is what my original post was about. Is he now in favor of it? He doesn't seem to want to come right out and say.

C'mon Josh, you can do it! I'll make it easy. Here's all he has to say: "I, Josh Rosenau, am in favor of blacklisting." See? It's easy.

How 'bout it Josh?


Josh Rosenau said...

Could you, for the sake of those of us whose dictionaries have the word "miscegenation" but are oddly lacking "miscagenation," distinguish what makes a blacklist different from a list of companies to boycott? And while you're at it, throw in a definition of blackmail.

Because the Yes on 8 letter I posted threatens the recipient by saying that if he does not donate to Yes On 8, they will include that business on a list of companies to boycott. That looks like blackmail to me (and does not, I confess, look like "no more than treaten[ing] (sic) a boycott"). BTW, does the dictionary you're sending me include the word "treaten"? My chosen dictionary is missing that word.

It does define "blackmail": "to extort money from by intimidation, by the unscrupulous use of an official or social position, or of political influence or vote. spec. to extort money from (a person) by threatening to reveal a discreditable secret." While I don't consider supporting the No on 8 campaign "discreditable," the No on 8 people seem to think it is. Hence, their letter is blackmail. Which you seem to support. Would you be willing to go on the record with that? It's easy. Just type: "I, Martin Cothran, am in favor of blackmail."

The website you linked seems to be a list of companies to boycott. There's no evidence of blackmail, nor is it clear why their list of companies to boycott is different from Yes on 8's, except that they didn't try to blackmail people. They took a list publicly available from many sources, and put it on the web to encourage a boycott. FWIW, the dictionary I use defines a black list (they oddly don't have a verb form, though you used it as a verb; will the dictionary you send me correct this omission?): "A list of persons who have incurred suspicion, censure, or punishment."

Also "Naut. A list of delinquents to whom extra duty is assigned as a punishment." and "c. (a) An employers' list of workmen whom it is considered undesirable to employ. (b) A trade union list of employers for whom their members are instructed not to work." as well as "d. A list of persons convicted as habitual drunkards under the Licensing Act of 1902." Which definition did you mean? Which definition fits what Yes on 8 proposed to do? Which fits what the site you linked to is doing?

FWIW, I do not support maintaining lists of habitual drunkards, nor do I know what the 1902 Licensing Act is, but I suspect that I do not support it. Therefore, I cannot express support for blacklisting without a bit more clarification. I also won't respond to your claims of gay McCarthyism until you make a wisecrack about Roy Cohn. I have standards.

Other of those definitions seem to match the basic approach to boycotting that you seem to endorse. This leaves me confused what you mean when you write about "blacklisting, an activity that gays have condemned for years." I'm pretty sure there are already plenty of lists of gay-friendly and gay-unfriendly (bigoted, or if you prefer other thesaurus options: fanatical, fiendish, zealous, maniacal, segregationist, puritan, or persecuting) businesses. FYI, bigoted: "2. Characterized by bigotry; obstinately or unreasonably attached to a belief, opinion, faction, etc.; intolerant towards others, their beliefs, practices, etc." If the shoe fits, etc., etc., etc. It looks faaaaabyoulous on you.

Nothing in my dictionary's definition of "bigotry" or "bigot" justifies your claim that it is an epithet, that it is hateful, etc. "Faggot," your new favorite word, is defined in part as "A term of abuse or contempt." Is that your intent? You could clarify that with a simple statement of the form "I, Martin Cothran, am contemptuous of gay people," or alternatively, "I, Martin Cothran, abuse gay people." This is a fun game you've invented.

BTW, my dictionary's entry for marriage: "1. a. The condition of being a husband or wife; the relation between persons married to each other; matrimony. The term is now sometimes used with reference to long-term relationships between partners of the same sex."

I note with interest a usage from 1754: "1754 J. ERSKINE Princ. Law Scotl. (1809) 234 A marriage, though of the longest continuance, gives no right to the courtesy, if there was no issue of it." So the traditional definition of marriage requires people to have offspring. Interesting. My grandfather died before I was born, and my grandmother remarried. While she and her new husband both had children from previous marriages, they were in their 70s when they wed, and thus that union produced no issue.

I think that they should be considered to have been married, even though that seems to require a redefinition of marriage. What do you think? Perhaps you could enlighten me with a statement of the form "I, Martin Cothran, believe that post-menopausal women should not be allowed to marry." Or are you OK with redefining marriage all of a sudden?

I look forward to finding out what it says about these many issues in the dictionary you'll be sending me. I've added one that would work nicely to my wishlist.

Josh Rosenau said...

Errr, I meant "the Yes on 8 people seem to."