Friday, December 30, 2011

Weekly Words No. 6

Today I will be using two words in juxtaposition i.e. the act or an instance of placing two or more things side by side, only, in this case those things are “words”. They are interesting words because they are frequently used colloquially in an incorrect context, or, the first being used to make excuses for the behaviour exhibited in the second case.

The first word is:



1 : good-natured ridicule : banter
2 : jest

"Raillery" is the anglicized form of the French word "raillerie," which stems from the Middle French verb "railler," meaning "to mock." "Railler," which probably comes from Old French "reillier" ("to growl" or "to mutter") and ultimately from Late Latin "ragere" ("to neigh"), also gave us our verb "rail." But "rail" and "raillery" are quite different in tone. "Rail" means "to revile or scold in harsh, insolent, or abusive language," whereas "raillery" usually suggests cutting wit that pokes fun good-naturedly.


• New workers at the plant can expect to endure some raillery and joshing from the old-timers.

• "Scioli, a floorsweep, another barber and a man on the sofa called Buddy Lite are carrying on a conversation that bounces around like a Wham-O Super Ball, touching on conspiracy theories, 20th-century pop culture, UFOs, lewd raillery and an eerie tale concerning a caribou walking backward via supernatural forces." -- From an article by Luke Jerrod Kummer in The Washington Post, January 7, 2011

The second word is:



1 : irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals

ho•mo•phobe\ˈhō-mə-ˌfōb\ noun

ho•mo•pho•bic\ˌhō-mə-ˈfō-bik\ adjective

This is a relatively new word. George Weinberg, a psychologist, is credited as the first person to have used the term in speech. The word homophobia first appeared in print in an article written for the May 23, 1969, edition of the American tabloid Screw, in which the word was used to refer to heterosexual men's fear that others might think they are gay.

In 1971, Kenneth Smith was the first person to use homophobia as a personality profile to describe the psychological aversion to homosexuality, in the context of conceptualising anti-LGBT prejudice as a social problem.

Homophobia is a range of negative attitudes and feelings towards homosexuality and people who are identified as or perceived as being homosexual. Definitions refer variably to antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion, and irrational fear. Homophobia is observable in critical and hostile behavior such as discrimination and violence on the basis of a perceived non-heterosexual orientation.

In a 1998 address, author, activist, and civil rights leader Coretta Scott King stated that

"Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood.”

In 1993, behavioral scientists William O'Donohue and Christine Caselles concluded that the usage of the term "as it is usually used, makes an illegitimately pejorative evaluation of certain open and debatable value positions, much like the former disease construct of homosexuality" itself, arguing that the term may be used as an ad hominem argument against those who advocate values or positions of which the speaker does not approve.

And this is the pont where we return to "raillery" where the term “homophobia” (or its derivatives) is often excused as being used in good-natured ridicule, banter, or, jest and allows the used to apply the term seemingly with impunity but to attach its feelings of “antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion, and irrational fear”

[Thanks and acknowledgements to the Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary on-line and Wikipedia ]


Gill - That British Woman said...

John, both those vases are probably pre-1950, but they are hard to date. Regardless of the value, they are priceless because of who gave them to me.

Gill in Canada

Shammickite said...

Well, it looks like you and the family had a yummy Christmas lunch and the boys and the dog had a super time running about in the back yard. It's always good policy to tire out boys and dogs as much as possible, right? I'm wishing you and your family a very happy and healthy New Year, lots of good food, good times and companionship. May 2012 be good to you all.