My Chambers Dictionary of Etymology, whose 2011 printing I hold on my left thigh right now, has an entry on page 488 for the word “homosexual”, listing it both as an adjective and a noun. I was interested to know that they have it being formed in 1892 from homo + sexual. I do not find an entry at all for the word homophobe. Be that as it may, that is the lack of the word homophobe in Chambers, the word homosexual has been created.
I was struck by the fact that the Genus homo had been around for at least several million years and it had taken this long for a word to be cobbled together for this thing. But then, new words are formed every day I am told. “Kayo” comes to mind as one such new word. I wonder what may have been the Latin equivalent of “kayo”? I seem to remember the Latin word for helicopter: “helicoptorum”. I remember reading some years ago that there were several Latin scholars in the Vatican whose calling and responsibility it was to develop for that “‘dead” language new words to describe new things and new activities that appear from time to time. Is there a Latin word for “kayo”? Now there is. I wonder if it is only a verb in Latin, whereas it is sometimes a proper noun in English; as with some cartoon characters, or professional boxers.
People who pay attention to these things say that there is a whole cloud of words surrounding and relating to the word homosexual, which Chambers recognizes; the word not the cloud. They say the same sort of cloud (perhaps thicker, darker? It would seem so.) surrounds the word homophobe; a word about which Chambers was still ignorant in 2011. In the cloud of words surrounding “homosexual” there is the word homosexuality; a word which, I suppose, describes the “attribute” of being a homosexual. I will have to check what “attribute”means to figure out if having one is a good thing or a bad thing. (For instance, when I was young, I sucked my thumb, and my father insisted on calling it one of my least attractive attributes.) And, there may be “symptoms”, “talents”, “proclivities”, “predispositions”, “beliefs”, “what have yous”; again good or bad, that go along with having or participating in this thing. Considering the notion du jour, that nothing bad can come from being “homosexual”, I sort of doubt that the cloud surrounding it is nothing but white and fluffy, perhaps tinged with a little pink from the rising sun of happiness.
On the other hand I suppose that “homophobial ?” people, a word which might identify or describe that set of people who are, well???, might have attributes too, and possess talents, proclivities, predispositions and all the other things which may be possessed by folks with the particular attribute of homosexuality. But since in my Chambers, the word does not appear I am actually ignorant of them. Well, there is a body of anecdotal information about the attributes of homophobics and stories which might be called stories about homophobiana. (It is interesting to note the fact that my spell-checker, the thing inside this machine which lets me know when I have created a typo (such as tyop) has been indicating to me that homophobe is a typo. Does it not know homophobe is a word, either?). As I understand the term Homophobe, it is quite a complicated condition to be in. Homophobianics, if I may be allowed, are not only afraid of homosexuality, as if it might be contagious, but, I have it on good evidence, are revolted by the mere concept of homosexuality and those so afflicted.
Well, what does all of this mean, beyond the fact that it is a quiet Saturday afternoon, and too cold to do much more than read, nap or play around on Face Book? This homosexual/homophobe discussion the world has been having with itself for a little more than a hundred years now got me thinking this morning about two terms I don’t completely understand: Ockham’s Razor and Hobson’s Choice.
It has seemed to me, and I freely admit that an awful lot of things that seem to me are not what they seem, either in fact or to most everyone else; still, it has seemed to me that one’s appearance before others as a homosexual person is, when all’s said and done, a simple matter of choice. Psychological, neurological, biological statements about causes, etiology, development, influences on and the teleology of homosexuality, while seeming to many to have “nailed it down” to an inescapably permanent state, as permanent as bi-pedalism or binocular vision, seem to me to be an argument about as changeable as the weather; and none of them, by the way, paying much attention to the principle which appears to me to be the driving principle of Ockham’s Razor: Keep It Simple Stupid. Conversion is possible if the will is pointed in that direction. Consider the fellow in the ledge forty floors above the street, and the window wide open behind him. Of course, one must agree and admit to the proposition; to acknowledge that what one has been doing, or is about to do, is not the right response to one’s problems.
And, there is where I began thinking about Hobson and his choice. Simply put we all have a Hobson’s choice…which is where I find myself disagreeing (with great respect and deep humility…really…) from the many degreed. I think Hobson presents us all with an essential choice: “Take It or Leave It”. I wrote about my father yesterday, and his choice; which for those who missed it was a decision to drink himself to death. I could as well have written about several fellows I grew up with, armed robbers, petty thieves, drug dealers and one or two fellows who became homosexuals as they grew up. A thing which is said not to be possible, since the wags have it one is a homosexual born, not bred; the argument being along the lines of saying Clark Kent is not real, but Superman is always Superman cape of no cape, and argument I stopped having somewhere around the age of eight.
Most of those people did not make it. And their lives on the way were a misery, for them and for most of the people with whom they were close: family, friends, neighbors and police. I am not preaching here, nor apologizing. Aside from psychoses, I do not believe that anyone with the brains God gave green apples…and the sense He gave a mule…is a prisoner of his genes or anything else regarding any of the 7 Deadlys and their particular manifestations and permutations of behavior; one of which is surely homosexual behavior as far as I can see. Having been the object, on more than one occasion, of homosexual advances both crude and rather sophisticated, juvenile and adult, I know that in their initiation and in their acceptance the primary and only guiding criterion is centered in the will. As the saying goes, “The journey of a thousand miles…” There lies the genesis of homosexuality.
And, if there is such a thing as homophobia it lies primarily in the same place, and grows from a refusal to pray for the conversion of the homosexual. The true homophobe in my estimation is the one who “supports” the “gay” person of either sex in that choice.