Grammatical Ignorance Considered Support for Gay Rights in Utah


I love a good turn of phrase. Much of the time, one can be achieved via the mastery of a word/figure of speech — like these three, for example:

Homograph (n.) — Words that have the same spelling, but different pronunciations and meanings.

Homonym (n.) — Words that have the same spelling and same pronunciation, but different meanings.

Homophone (n.) — Words that have the same pronunciation, but different spelling and different meanings.

That last one is tricky because it reminds narrow-minded people of a word that no one uses correctly: HomophobeYou see, to have a ‘phobia,’ one must be legitimately afraid of something. People who are labeled with that term aren’t scared. They’re just idiots.

Kinda like this guy in Utah who fired a blogger for using that word. No, not that one, the other one: Homophone. 

Meet Tim Torkildson.

Tim is a blogger for the Nomen Global Language Center — or he was, until his ignoramus boss and Nomen owner Clarke Woodger called him into his office and told him he was fired.

Why? He wrote about homophones and Woodger thought his blogger was supporting a gay pride parade. Yes, really.

“Now our school is going to be associated with homosexuality,” Woodger complained, according to Torkildson, who posted the exchange on his Facebook page.

Torkildson says he was careful to write a straightforward explanation of homophones. He knew the “homo” part of the word could be politically charged, but he thought the explanation of that quirky part of the English language would be educational.

Nomen has removed that blog from its website, but a similar explanation of homophones was posted there in 2011 with apparently no controversy.

Once this hilarious story went viral, Woodger was approached about his choice of words. He said that his reaction to Torkildson’s blog “had nothing to do with homosexuality” but that Torkildson caused Woodger concern because he would “go off on tangents” in his posts that would be confusing and sometimes could be considered offensive.

I suppose it was a good thing he was fired for talking about a homophone. I’d hate to see what would have happened if Torkildson has been blogging about watering his grass with some friends. The headline could have been “Me and My Hoes Hose.”

English. It’s a language!