The Origin of FLAMING FAGGOT

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    Jul 08, 2010 3:39 PM GMT
    This is an interesting discussion not only on some straight men's interest in gay sexual behavior, but also about the origin of flaming faggot.


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    Jul 08, 2010 3:43 PM GMT
    Yeah, heard this clip on an NPR interview with the actor. But he said that that is not the known origin, something he wrote up.
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    Jul 08, 2010 4:00 PM GMT
    wrestlervic saidYeah, heard this clip on an NPR interview with the actor. But he said that that is not the known origin, something he wrote up.


    Hmmm. After a quick search online for teh origin of the term FLAMING FAGGOT, it looks like there are several different ideas:

    www.aftereleton.com

    Say what? Faggot.

    Like many slang terms, the origins of the word faggot as a term for gay men are unclear. The original English meaning of the word is “a bundle of sticks used as fuel.” The association with male homosexuality may arise from the heretic-burning days of the inquisition, either because gay men themselves were burned as heretics, or were used as fuel to burn heretics — giving a whole new twist to the term “flaming faggot.”

    Faggot and fag continued to be used in England for centuries, but not to describe male homosexuals. Fag is slang for cigarette, and also for a younger student performing menial tasks for an older student in upper-class British boys' schools. Faggoting is a type of needlework, and a faggot is also a kind of English meatball.

    During the 19th century, the word faggot was also sometimes used in England to describe women perceived as unpleasant or aggressive, although it carried no connotation of homosexuality. But there is no consensus as to how the word suddenly appeared in the United States in the early 1900s, referring to male homosexuals. Did it refer to the burning of heretics? British schoolboys? Bitchy women? No one really knows.

    The actual origins of the word don't matter as much as the intent of the person using it and its impact on the people hearing it. According to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, “It is clear that ‘faggot’ is the product of a long legacy of violence and sexism, and carries the pain of that legacy even when used as a general insult.”

    Out gay blogger John Aravosis wrote on AMERICAblog: “Faggot is the n-word to gays, and you think it's appropriate? Does CNN permit the n-word on the air? And would they permit their hosts to suggest that it's simply a ‘naughty name’? CNN has a host who is a loose cannon and who has already slurred Muslims, gays, and more. But rather than apologize, CNN defends their host who thinks the word ‘faggot’ is appropriate for CNN, and who thinks the word ‘faggot’ is simply a ‘naughty name.’”

    CNN isn't alone. USA Today’s Maria Puente recently wrote, “Is a common epithet for homosexuals becoming a new N word, verboten in civil discourse?” This, frankly, begs the question: When wasn't faggot verboten in civil discourse? When Ann Coulter called Al Gore “a total fag” on Hardball this summer, it didn't really matter if she was suggesting the former vice president was gay (she says she wasn't) or just using fag as an all-purpose insult. There's no question her intent was pejorative — not just to Gore, but to all GLBT people, for whom the term carries such negative connotations.

    But Time television and media critic James Poniewozik makes a distinction between discussions of slurs and actually using a slur — a distinction that is sometimes lost, especially recently. He blogged, “Calling someone ‘faggot’ out of anger or contempt is one thing; quoting the word faggot or acknowledging that the word faggot is a slur that exists in the world — as I did in this sentence — is another entirely. Making the word taboo even in quotation or reference … not only fetishizes it and makes it more powerful, it makes honest discussion of important issues more difficult, because it makes the very conversation seem furtive and illicit.”

    Muddying the waters is the fact that, like many words used as slurs, faggot is often used by gay men themselves, just as lesbians frequently use the word dyke to refer to themselves or other lesbians. There is some debate in the GLBT community over the reclaiming of hate speech for our own use, but from Larry Kramer's Faggots to Michael Thomas Ford's That's Mr. Faggot to You, it would be hard to strip this particular word from the vocabulary of gay culture.

    Gay characters in television shows are often depicted using the words faggot or fag, sometimes positively, sometimes negatively. NBC's Will and Grace used the term fag in all kinds of contexts. Will once greeted his best friend, Jack, as “Notorious F.A.G.” In a poignant 1999 episode, Jack overhears Will at the gym saying he wasn't comfortable being seen with Jack sometimes because he was “such a fag.” Jack eventually tells Will, “I'd rather be a fag than afraid.”