[percy-l] homophobe-phobe

Parlin, Steven PARLINS at culver.org
Wed Aug 13 12:02:41 EDT 2003

Nice try Jim... :) 
If I may comment on your message to Tim. 
(Apologies to the list... I have a lot of time on my hands right now, and
though I should be getting ready for classes, this is much more fun). 
But, then,... why isn't the suffix "phobe" attached to ALL of those
attributes, that we might  strongly object to and that we also might fear
about ourselves... like pediphilaphobe, incestaphobe, beastialaphobe, or
even something like serialkilleraphobe...  I vehemently object to all of
these disordered states and behaviors, and if I look honestly at my heart, I
might find disturbing remnants of these qualities...but that doesn't make me
afraid of people who give into them (except maybe the serial killer). 
I can still object, regardless of my fears about myself, without being
labled a such-and-such phobe. In fact, your argument can apply to just about
anything. I was of course joking with Nikki about the expression
"homophobephobe", but there is some truth in it. I hardly think Nikki is
afraid of me (though she might be mildly afraid that I could be right), but
it would be silly to lable her with a "phobia" for that reason. 
I really should be doing something else... 

  -----Original Message-----
From: James Piat [mailto:piat1 at bellsouth.net]
Sent: Wednesday, August 13, 2003 9:41 AM
To: Percy-L: Literary and Philosophical Discussion
Subject: Re: [percy-l] gay marriage

Dear Tim,
Sometimes I use the term homophobic  -- and what I mean by it is an
irrational dislike of homosexuals based upon a fear that one's own
homosexual impulses will overwhelm one's desire to suppress them.  Rather
that acknowledging and dealing directly with one's own homosexual impulses
the homophobic (per this formulation) targets and attempts to destroy an
overt manifestation (homosexuals) of his covert desires.  I don't think all
objections to homosexual behavior are based upon such dynamics, but I do
think they are sometimes part of the equation.  What I think is constructive
about this definition is that it reminds me to guard against my tendency to
blame others for what I fear are my own faults  -- cast the mote out of our
own eye and so forth.  Unfortunately, as you point out, the term is
sometimes used as a verbal club to bash folks who object to homosexuality on
other grounds.  But I'm not expert on the subject and all this is just my
Jim Piat

I'd like very much to hear someone who likes/uses the term 'homophobic' to
suggest a definition that's constructive and useful. It seems to me to be a
word constructed to muddy semantic waters and caricature those who have
moral and teleological objections to homosexual behavior, and not an
irrational fear of homosexuals.

I have a long time family friend, a psychologist, who uses the term more
liberally than ketchup in his letters to the editor , but won't define it
for me. Drives me batty... 

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