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Stand back! The English language is evolving! GAY evolving!

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 pm, March 2nd, 2013 - 42 comments
Categories: human rights, making shit up - Tags:

Family First have responded to the moving-forward of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill in their usual calm and logical manner, by issuing a press release screaming that the words “husband” and “wife are to be removed from our marriage-related legislation, and thus will obviously cease to have any meaning at all.

Literally, people, you’re going to wake up the day the amendment comes into force and you won’t remember what those words mean.  The gay agenda is ubiquitous and omnipotent, and its gay mind rays will steal your brain.

All this panic-mongering really does is once again demonstrate that Family First don’t have a fucking clue about history or society or culture.  They’ve kept on lamenting about the “definition of marriage” – as though divorce isn’t a relatively new thing, or marital rape has always been illegal (legal in my lifetime, people).  And now they seriously want you to worry that the English language might change.

Well they can just kiss my queynte.

“Wife” is the less interesting example here:  its roots are the Old English wīf, meaning woman, because patriarchy.

But “husband” is an interesting one.  Take it away, handy online dictionary:

late Old English (in the senses ‘male head of a household’ and ‘manager, steward’), from Old Norse húsbóndi ‘master of a house’, from hús ‘house’ + bóndi ‘occupier and tiller of the soil’.

Oh shit, people.  Once we remove “husband” from the Marriage Act, how will Bob McCoskrie identify himself to others as a house-occupying tiller of the soil?  Panic!!!  Or maybe we can realise that this beautifully hodge-podge English language of ours has always changed and developed in line with society’s needs.

And of course, all this ignores the fact that “husband” has meant a lot of very different things – some pretty awful things, like women’s property rights, or rather lack thereof – just in the last few centuries.  The cuddly, warm, familial idea of “husband” which Bob McCoskrie now wants to lay claim to is a pretty recent invention – and it’s come to mean what it does largely in spite of religious, patriarchal crusaders like Bob.

Just remember:  we’re dealing with someone who mentions the 20,000+ submissions received on the Bill … but is conveniently silent on the fact that the majority of them were in support.  It’s baseless fearmongering (fearmonger first attested 1939, possibly related to scaremonger 1888, –monger from Old English mangere “merchant, trader, broker,” from mangian “to traffic, trade,” from Proto-Germanic *mangojan, from Latin mango (genitive mangonis) “dealer, trader, slave-dealer,” from a noun derivative of Greek manganon “contrivance, means of enchantment,” from PIE root *mang-“to embellish, dress, trim.” Used in comb. form in English since at least 12c.; since 16c. chiefly with overtones of petty and disreputable.).

But at least you’ve learnt something today, right?

42 comments on “Stand back! The English language is evolving! GAY evolving!”

  1. He he

    Just wait until they discover the nefarious plan amongst left wing conspirators to not only make homosexuality normal but compulsory …

  2. millsy 2

    Bob McCroskie, Family First, SST, Garth McVicar and all other SSM opponents have one goal, and one goal only.

    The re-criminalisation of homosexuality.

    They really need to be upfront about this goal. I have repeatedly emailed and facebook’d Family1 and ask them if they wanted homosexuality re-criminalised, but they have refused to answer.

    • QoT 2.1

      Your common or garden variety religious fundie has trouble with this. Asking antichoicers if they want to jail people who’ve had abortions achieves similar results.

  3. Populuxe1 3

    While I totally agree, the pedant in me has an issue with:

    ‘“Wife” is the less interesting example here: its roots are the Old English wīf, meaning woman, because patriarchy.’

    Because it’s actually the Old English wīf, meaning woman, because vagina. From the from the Indo-European root “ghwībh” meaning “vagina” and preserved independently of marriage or husband in important social roles of authority like “midwife” and “fishwife” upon which the survival of the community depended. Given that the ability to multiply the community is vital to its continued existence, you can’t necessarily say that acknowledging the fact is a demotion.

    McCroskie is a dick, but I note that some LGBT activists in the US are having a hissyfit because the American Press Association has published a guideline stating that you cannot use ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ in relation to a same sex couple. I thought that was quite funny because if I ever got married, I would definitely be referring to my significant other as my “partner” and Bob can keep his heteronormative conventions.

    • QoT 3.1

      My point was to note that women don’t get to have fun roles like tilling the soil, and that treating “female” and “married to a man” as synonymous largely works because of patriarchy.

      • Populuxe1 3.1.1

        Except for priestesses, wise women, midwives and widows. And if you didn’t have a horse to pull the plough, that was woman’s work.

        • QoT

          Seriously, Pop, you’re being wilfully obtuse at this point. The word wife derives from the word for woman. Not the word for midwife, or plougher-of-the-soil. Widows *were* wives. And I’m frankly bored with this derail.

          • Pascal's bookie

            Pretty sure the word for “priestesses, wise women, midwives and widows” is “Wytch” or some such.

        • Rogue Trooper

          funny yet true (don’t wanna be “unevenly yoked” now do we)

        • Roy

          ‘Midwife’ originally meant ‘with the wife’, i.e. with the woman giving birth.
          Men can be midwives.

  4. muzza 4

    Has the gay community not * claimed control* of the word, *gay*, its associations, meanings and decions about when its used the, *wrong way*, so whats the problem?

    Is this not a case of hypocrisy:?

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      “Is this not a case of hypocrisy:?”

      Um, how? you’ve just given an example of how the english language changes over time to suits the needs of it’s speakers.

    • QoT 4.2

      I love how you say “claimed control” as though evil gay stormtroopers occupied Oxford and threatened to execute one philologist every hour until the definition of the word changed. It makes the how thing sound so much nastier.

      For those who are interested in the history of the term “gay” as relates to homosexual people here’s an enlightening post. I know muzza isn’t actually sincere in his “questions”, but hopefully other readers can benefit.

    • Daveosaurus 4.3

      If you really want to reclaim the word ‘gay’ to its meaning of ‘carefree’, then you should really be all in favour of same-sex marriage, so they can have the opportunity to be as miserable as other people…

  5. toad 5

    Well they can just kiss my queynte.

    I suspect McCoskrie and Family Fist would consider that to be an “un-natural act” too (for which you may be thankful, perchance they choose to take you up on your invitation).

  6. Lanthanide 6

    Fabulous, as usual, QoT.

  7. Rodel 7

    Interesting letter in today’s Press. If a married man is knighted his wife becomes “Lady” something.
    What happens to the partner if a gay married man gets knighted?

    Discussion on http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2167213/Gay-rights-Could-Partners-gay-knights-dames-given-honorary-title-way-ladies.html

  8. karol 8

    PS: maybe we should just dump all titles. What’s wrong with calling someone by their birth name? Why does it need a Mrs, Mr, or the impersonal “wife” or “husband” nouns.

  9. Tigger 9

    This gay man loves the word ‘husband’.

    The census form is interesting. When listing who else is in the house you have ‘my wife/husband or opposite sex partner/de facto’ OR ‘my same-sex partner de facto’. Husband and wife as descriptors truly are linked to marriage in many people’s minds. Me, I’ve used it for years (civil unioned) because I like it and it instantly explains a whole bunch of things to anyone who meets us. Equality means that word is mine also.

    Words evolve. That’s the wonderful and horrible thing about them.

    • Lanthanide 9.1

      I’m sure you probably know this, but officially/governmentally, the only term you can use to describe your civil union partner is Civil Union Partner. You can’t call them your Husband or Wife, as these terms are officially/governmentally restricted for Marriages only, and you’re not Married, you’re Civil Unioned.

      • Lanthanide 9.1.1

        Edit: Hence why the census forms use the specific language that it does.

        • Lanthanide

          2nd edit: Strangely (IMO) the term Spouse is also protected for Marriages only, when it seems to me that allowing Spouse to generically refer to any of the 3 other terms would have made more sense. Because officially/governmentally you cannot say “Spouses welcome”, but must say “Spouses and Civil Union Partners welcome”.

          • Tigger

            I didn’t know that! No surprise, I think that’s officially stupid. Another reason the law needs to change.

  10. vto 10

    it’s a lovely gay day today I must say

  11. Rogue Trooper 11

    having a gay old day caste ing seeds me bad self (loved the con nought tations of *mang etc; maybe you could star in your own blog.btw, may we petition what your major was as a Boon)

  12. Roy 12

    I wonder if Family First understand that animal husbandry means care of animals, or if they think it means marrying an animal?

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