It’s Not Always About Gay Sex

There is a worry that our nation is becoming less intelligent. And then things like this happen to confirm it: Tim Torkildson, a social media specialist for Utah ESL school Nomen Global Language Center, was fired because he put up a blog post about homophones:

Owner Clarke Woodger complained “now our school is going to be associated with homosexuality. I had to look up the word,” Woodger said, according to the account Torkildson published on his personal blog, “because I didn’t know what the hell you were talking about. We don’t teach this kind of advanced stuff to our students, and it’s extremely inappropriate. Can you have your desk cleaned out by eleven this morning?”

That’s right. Torkildson was fired for writing about homophones, which is the definition of words that sound like other words, like “right” and “write.” Totally gay.

Team Blackness also discussed new ignorance from Woody Allen, “rape insurance” in Michigan, and body cameras for NYC cops.

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69 replies
  1. 1
    danah gaz says:

    I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.

  2. 2
    satby says:

    That was my last two lessons for my ESL student from Brazil. They would have had to fire me twice.

    What a stupid country we are becoming….

  3. 3
    Roger Moore says:

    It may not always be about gay sex, but that’s always where the wingnuts’ minds will go when presented with the lamest opportunity. It’s almost as if they spend most of their time thinking about gay sex for some reason.

  4. 4
    Cervantes says:

    @Roger Moore: Deep, entrenched stupidity is a serious problem. It could well be our most serious problem. Wait, why are you laughing?

  5. 5
    Roger Moore says:

    @satby:

    What a stupid country we are becoming….

    We’re not becoming stupid. We’ve always been stupid this way; the net just makes the stupidity harder to hide.

  6. 6
    Xantar says:

    Has anybody pointed out to them that they’re drinking homogenized milk?

  7. 7
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Roger Moore:

    We’re not becoming stupid. We’ve always been stupid this way; the net just makes the stupidity harder to hide.

    Correct. People have been bitching about decline since language was first invented.

  8. 8
    Mandalay says:

    Both sides do it!!!

    Stephanie Bell, a fourth-grade teacher at Williams Elementary School, taught the word “niggardly” to her class last week in an effort to improve her students’ vocabularies.

    Now, a parent wants her fired.

    Although the word means stingy, Akwana Walker said it was inappropriate to use it because it sounds similar to a racial slur. She said she doesn’t think fourth-graders can distinguish between the two words.

  9. 9
    Roger Moore says:

    @Xantar:

    Has anybody pointed out to them that they’re drinking homogenized milk?

    Are you sure about that? I thought they were drinking only grain alcohol and rain water. They wouldn’t want anyone to sap and impurify their precious bodily fluids.

  10. 10
    danah gaz says:

    Watch out for that “homogenized milk!”

    ETA: Looks like someone beat me to it. Apologies.

  11. 11
    gelfling545 says:

    Well, don’t let this get around but Ronald Regan was a thespian.

  12. 12
    Belafon says:

    Wait until the lesson on homographs: “Homograbs? Who is he grabbing and why?”

  13. 13
    danah gaz says:

    @gelfling545: He was a very cocksure thespian.

  14. 14
    El Caganer says:

    @Mandalay: Didn’t some government official in DC get fired 10 or 15 years ago for using that same word? I know it was a long time back, so details have become a little hazy.

  15. 15
    brantl says:

    How can the owner not be fired, for being this stupid? Shouldn’t the people that run our schools know more than the kids that they are teaching? Just sayin’…..

  16. 16
    Anoniminous says:

    In a way I derived humor from their attempts to restrict Reality to fit the dribble-&-goo in their heads. In another way I pity them for it is not their fault their family tree is a straight line and, so, they are carriers of the Virulent Stupidity Gene.

  17. 17
    Cervantes says:

    @El Caganer: Yes, it was a Mayoral aide who used the word while discussing a budget. Probably 15 or so years ago.

  18. 18
    Tommy says:

    @Cervantes:

    Deep, entrenched stupidity is a serious problem.

    Yeah no shit. Nobody has ever confused my parents with being liberal. In the late 70s I got bullied a lot by kids in public school that thought I was a “homo.” I wasn’t. Just short and fat. Socially awkward. A military brat that moved around a lot. Plus sometimes my mom didn’t think it was wrong to wear pink.

    Me being treated that way got my mother involved. The three men currently in my family (my father, me and my brother) call her the “Little General’ (out of both love and fear if her — you don’t FUCK with mom). She rolled over that school district like they were five year olds. And I did say this was the 70s didn’t I :).

    I grew not to be fat, if still short. And the learning experience has fared well for me ….

    It would be at least a decade more in college before I meat a “gay” person and I felt I knew them :).

  19. 19
    Anoniminous says:

    @danah gaz:

    Who had been known to masticate in public.

  20. 20
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Mandalay: Hmm. “Niggardly” could be a homophone. Double trouble. Paging the GNAA.

  21. 21
    Eric U. says:

    @Mandalay: I suspect that “niggardly” is going to go away except among those that are trying to offend

    there is some question about the homophone issue, follow the link

  22. 22
    Mandalay says:

    @Tommy: You may want to check your final sentence. Or not.

  23. 23
    Mike G says:

    How can the owner of a LANGUAGE SCHOOL, for pete’s sake, not know what a homophone is?

    This reminds me of the doctor in the UK whose practice identified her as a “pediatrician”, and she started getting threats from locals who misidentified it as “pedophile”.

  24. 24
    danah gaz says:

    @Mandalay: Bwahahaha, good eye.

  25. 25
    Sad_Dem says:

    @danah gaz: He also was a sexagenarian for 10 years!

  26. 26
    danah gaz says:

    @Anoniminous: He spent his formative years flashing his epidermis at everyone and postulating in the back of his English class.

  27. 27
    Cervantes says:

    @Eric U.:

    I suspect that “niggardly” is going to go away except among those that are trying to offend.

    That would be a shame. “Niggardly” is entirely innocent, coming as it does from old Scandinavian words for “over-precise” or “stingy.” Nothing to do with color.

  28. 28
    Cervantes says:

    @Mike G: Owning something does not per se imply or confer any special knowledge or skill.

  29. 29
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Eric U.: I hope the Negroni doesn’t go away as well.

  30. 30
    Kyle says:

    Nobody tell the owner that he’s a Homo Sapien or he’ll have a complete breakdown.

  31. 31
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Mike G: Yeah, seriously, the owner is angry because he had to look up a word that is directly related to the subject his school teachers. What an ass.

  32. 32
    sharl says:

    @Cervantes: Haha, I remember that!

  33. 33
    Anoniminous says:

    @Kyle:

    And descended from homo erectus.

  34. 34
    Hungry Joe says:

    Somebody once said that the golden age of every language is always 50-100 years ago. Languages are constantly changing, and not for the worse — it just seems that way. (If that were true, we’d all be talking like Sarah Palin, a linguistic outlier and then some.)

  35. 35
    SatanicPanic says:

    Also, we’re not getting dumber. We’re getting SMARTER. Sheesh people.

  36. 36
    low-tech cyclist says:

    Maybe they thought a homophone was a special model of the Obamaphone that the gays were given.

  37. 37
    Cervantes says:

    @sharl: Plus that mayoral aide was homosexual — so maybe it is always about gay sex.

  38. 38
    SatanicPanic says:

    @danah gaz: gaz, where’ve you been?

  39. 39
    danah gaz says:

    @Kyle: A descendant of homo erectus. no less.

  40. 40
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Anoniminous:
    @Sad_Dem:

    Not only that, but his file at Eureka College says he actually matriculated. Did you ever?!

  41. 41
    Chet says:

    The other day some coworkers caught me masticating in the car. How humiliating.

  42. 42
    Roger Moore says:

    @danah gaz:

    He spent his formative years flashing his epidermis at everyone and postulating in the back of his English class.

    I somehow doubt he ever postulated in his life. He assumed and went on his merry way without ever stopping to postulate.

  43. 43
    danah gaz says:

    @SatanicPanic: I’ve been in my cocoon, metamorphosing. It’s exhausting.

    I came back prettier, poorer, and radicalized. Yay me.

  44. 44
    Paul in KY says:

    Methinks the owner thinks about ‘homos’ a lot. A whole, whole lot…

  45. 45
    danah gaz says:

    @Roger Moore: Fair play.

  46. 46
    Paul in KY says:

    @Xantar: Oh Noes! Ick, gag!!!!

    Someone needs to point that out to them.

  47. 47
    Tommy says:

    @Mandalay: There were just not a lot of openly gay people running around at that time. Even less when I was the Polo wearing straight Frat kid.

    I met an openly transgender person before I met an openly gay person ….

    I had worked on the college’s suicide hotline since the first semester there. I was now a senior and running it. Conducing interviews for the next semester for staff. Denise walked in, formerly Dennis. At first it appeared to me a person large enough (and fit enough) to be a linebacker for the Bears was standing in front of me in a sun dress.

    We did the the interview.

    After they were all done and the committee where decided who to ask to join everybody was stunned Denise was at the top of my list.

    I was like was she the best we had wasn’t she? (pretty sure I said he). They are like she is …. insert terrible words.

    Think I said something like deal with it. Again this is the late 80s. A few folks quit. Most didn’t cause we were a misfit bunch.

    I lost touch with her about 7 years ago, but never will forget that day she walked into that room/interview in 1989 in that sun dress and said, “I’d like to help people!” She helped a lot of people in the short time I worked with her!!!!!!!!!!!!

  48. 48
    danah gaz says:

    @Sad_Dem: hehehehe

  49. 49
    boatboy_srq says:

    There is mounting evidence our nation is becoming less intelligent

    That’s more like it.

    We don’t teach this kind of advanced stuff to our students

    And that’s one good reason why the US is becoming less intelligent. Especially given that that line is from the owner (NB this is an “owner” and not the “principal” – curious, that) of the school.

    That’s right. Torkildson was fired for writing about homophones, which is the definition of words that sound like other words, like “right” and “write.” Totally gay.

    English spellings can be very queer sometimes.

    @Kyle: He’s not a Homo sapien: he’s a Man. Homo sapiens is what those unGawdly IslamoFascoSoshulist Secular Humanists call Mankind. It’s the same as seismologists calling God’s Righteous Wrath an earthquake.

    @Roger Moore: Truly not a new phenomenon. I recall an urban legend about a candidate many years ago who (successfully) smeared his opponent for being a practicing philatelist. In that case, I do think that our grade of pol is declining: that one probably knew the joke and counted on the rubes not to understand, and today’s might actually believe it’s somehow evil.

    @brantl: Item One: he’s the owner (see above). Owners don’t get fired (though they occasionally lose their schools and/or face fines and sentences for fraud). Item Two: Charter Schools. This is feature-not-bug territory.

    @Mandalay: Beet me to it. ,-)

  50. 50
    boatboy_srq says:

    could some FPer please explain why my last comment is in moderation?

  51. 51
    SatanicPanic says:

    @danah gaz: it’s good to see ya!

  52. 52
    Paul in KY says:

    @Tommy: Sounds like she was as cool as Roberta Muldoon.

  53. 53
    Mike G says:

    Owner Clarke Woodger complained “now our school is going to be associated with homosexuality. I had to look up the word,”

    And now your school is going to be associated with the owner being dumber than dirt every time someone Googles it. Congratulations.

  54. 54
    Xantar says:

    @Hungry Joe:

    Perhaps, but damnit if I’m going to allow people to use “literally” in the figurative sense or say “I could care less” to mean the exact opposite.

  55. 55
    danah gaz says:

    @SatanicPanic: You too. =)

  56. 56
    Roger Moore says:

    @boatboy_srq:

    could some FPer please explain why my last comment is in moderation?

    Too many notes links. FYWP automatically puts any comment with more than 3 links into moderation, even if they’re links to other comments in the same post.

  57. 57
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Roger Moore: Grr. Thanks for ‘splaining.

  58. 58
    Tommy says:

    @Paul in KY: I have no reason to think she isn’t the happiest person in the world. Just a shock to my world. We became if not good friends, friends. A lot of people didn’t want her apart of the program and I didn’t care so much. Honestly at the time I didn’t think it was a civil right issue or anything that important. She just seemed to care. I got people that need help and you will help ……..

  59. 59
    JGabriel says:

    Headline: It’s Not Always About Gay Sex

    IAAGSIYAR – It’s Always About Gay Sex If You’re A Republican

    We clearly need an acronym for that.

  60. 60
    Paul in KY says:

    @Tommy: That’s never something anyone does lightly.

  61. 61
    lol says:

    Owner is a homophonic moron but the teacher is also a bit of a creeper. I suspect the owner had been looking for excuse to fire him for a while and managed to pick the dumbest one possible.

  62. 62
    Hungry Joe says:

    @Xantar: Agree. But sloppy speech/usage is nothing new.

  63. 63
    Roger Moore says:

    @boatboy_srq:

    Thanks for ‘splaining.

    Let’s just say that you’re not the only one to find out the hard way.

  64. 64
    PurpleGirl says:

    Maybe another teacher wouldn’t use the term homophone(s) but I do think it would be an early lesson to teach the differences between “to, too, and two” or “write and right” and lots of other words simply because those it’s those small words in English that will do you in. A word like antidisestablishmentarianism has only one meaning.

  65. 65
    danah gaz says:

    So ummm, I have a question.

    Why can’t it always be about gay sex?

    *bites lip*

  66. 66
    joel hanes says:

    @Roger Moore:

    That does it. This plagiarism has gotten out of hand.

    MAD Magzine’s Guaranteed Effective All-Occasion Non-Slanderous Political Smear Speech

  67. 67
    r€nato says:

    I bet the health ed teacher is going to think twice about that lecture she had planned on proper mastication.

  68. 68
    mclaren says:

    There is a worry that our nation is becoming less intelligent.

    Given the comments on this forum, many of us suspect that’s not possible.

    Biologists currently believe that life on earth evolved from the primordial slime.

    But what did the primordial slime evolve from?

    Balloon-Juice commenters.

  69. 69
    Funkula says:

    Why do all these homophones keep sucking my caulk?

Comments are closed.