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Spontaneous sincerity as a clue to honesty or lack thereof?


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While the subject has come up a couple of times on this board, it came to mind especially lately as this site seems especially convinced of the social sciences' integrity despite some infamous polling failures in recent years.

 

One thing that has always bothered me about the gay marriage debate is that people who call everything they dislike gay, and everyone they dislike a faggot, but support gay marriage (ie. the vast majority of people in a few towns in which I taught; though I'm sure most of you can think of such towns) are given the benefit of a doubt on being more homophobic than the average person, but that people who DON'T do so, NOR support gay marriage, are not. Shouldn't it be the other way around? Why would it occur to you to to use these things as insults, if not a deep-seated sense of superiority over them? Perhaps they might just be imitating others, but the same applies, why did it occur to everyone ELSE in those towns to start using these things as insults in the first place? At least opposition to gay marriage is explainable by blind religiosity, gender role zealotry, or even merely the belief that the risk of a pregnancy in a straight relationship is the only thing that makes the nature of their relationship any of the government's business, without one needing to be more homophobic than anyone else. What's worse, anyone pointing this out is made out to be deep down against gay marriage, and when they say they support it, told they shouldn't even care if people are getting someone's motives wrong. "Misrepresenting people's motives? Who cares? You're on the same side as me on this year's trendy cause! To hell with principles!" If a referendum were held tomorrow, I'd probably still vote in favour of gay marriage (for now), but feel more conflicted on it than I used to.

 

We hear people pretend to be "gender-neutral" about whether males are the hornier sex, or females are the pickier sex, etc... yet the virginity of a man or boy is a more often sought out subject of insult, than that against a woman or girl. And it's not because they're going any easier on the girls either... if you've ever seen the "am I the only one here who isn't a slut?" meme, you've seen the kind of intense vitriol thrown the author's way, over an easily sympathizable fear that her integrity in not resorting to makeup or revealing clothing will deny her the boys her rivals for them get. But the fact that of all the insults chosen, "virgin" isn't one of them, as if even those throwing that vitriol know that her virginity is by choice, not by circumstance. Meanwhile, a guy who expresses even the faintest of concern that women who prefer degenerate boyfriends will cause other boys to imitate said degenerates to get girlfriends will immediately and almost reflexively get met with cheap shots about his supposed virginity. Does this suggest the supposed skepticism, on males' presumed horniness and females' presumed pickiness about sex partners, was a facade from the start?

 

If "spontaneous sincerity" is not to be considered the more meaningful clue to people's real opinions, what's the alternative? The social sciences' surveys have had dismal results in recent years. In 2016, in the lead up to the election, people were biased against facing the possibility that respondents who said they'd vote Clinton were lying. Not just left-wingers who hated bad news when they didn't know what to do about it, but right-wingers who were pissed off that respondents were being blamed instead of pollsters themselves. Hell, BOTH sides were pretty biased against facing the possibility that person A might have a reason for lying that person B might not be aware of. So what's stopping there from being more where that came from, as far as polling failures go?

Edited by ScienceNostalgia101
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26 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

One thing that has always bothered me about the gay marriage debate is that people who call everything they dislike gay, and everyone they dislike a faggot, but support gay marriage.

Not everyone says 'gay' as an insult to gay people. 

I say 'mate' a lot, as in 'alright mate', I don't think we're mates its just a habit I've picked up.

I'm not defending it, but there's a difference between saying , "man, that's gay" and outright calling someone a faggot.

I understand why someone would be offended by both of them, but context is important here.

I support gay marriage, but don't automatically assume people who don't are homophobic. 

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45 minutes ago, Curious layman said:

Not everyone says 'gay' as an insult to gay people. 

I say 'mate' a lot, as in 'alright mate', I don't think we're mates its just a habit I've picked up.

I'm not defending it, but there's a difference between saying , "man, that's gay" and outright calling someone a faggot.

I understand why someone would be offended by both of them, but context is important here.

I support gay marriage, but don't automatically assume people who don't are homophobic. 

That's good to know, at least you're consistent on giving the benefit of a doubt. But too often many if not most opt to jump the gun, or worse, claim it doesn't matter if they get someone's motives wrong, only which side of the issue they're on.

 

I don't claim to know the etymology of "alright mate;" I guess it's mostly a European and/or Australian thing? But I don't think it's derived from "mating" any more than the word "roommates." It's pretty obvious there's other explanations of that etymology than that one. But "gay" and "faggot" have less room for interpretation. Individuals may have picked up the habit from "others," but where did the "others" pick it up from?

 

As for how to make this scientific... might I ask which particular aspects of my argument need to be cited? Either way, would this thread be better off moved to the politics board?

Edited by ScienceNostalgia101
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1 hour ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

While the subject has come up a couple of times on this board, it came to mind especially lately as this site seems especially convinced of the social sciences' integrity despite some infamous polling failures in recent years.

 

One thing that has always bothered me about the gay marriage debate is that people who call everything they dislike gay, and everyone they dislike a faggot, but support gay marriage (ie. the vast majority of people in a few towns in which I taught; though I'm sure most of you can think of such towns) are given the benefit of a doubt on being more homophobic than the average person, but that people who DON'T do so, NOR support gay marriage, are not. Shouldn't it be the other way around? Why would it occur to you to to use these things as insults, if not a deep-seated sense of superiority over them? Perhaps they might just be imitating others, but the same applies, why did it occur to everyone ELSE in those towns to start using these things as insults in the first place? At least opposition to gay marriage is explainable by blind religiosity, gender role zealotry, or even merely the belief that the risk of a pregnancy in a straight relationship is the only thing that makes the nature of their relationship any of the government's business, without one needing to be more homophobic than anyone else. What's worse, anyone pointing this out is made out to be deep down against gay marriage, and when they say they support it, told they shouldn't even care if people are getting someone's motives wrong. "Misrepresenting people's motives? Who cares? You're on the same side as me on this year's trendy cause! To hell with principles!" If a referendum were held tomorrow, I'd probably still vote in favour of gay marriage (for now), but feel more conflicted on it than I used to.

 

We hear people pretend to be "gender-neutral" about whether males are the hornier sex, or females are the pickier sex, etc... yet the virginity of a man or boy is a more often sought out subject of insult, than that against a woman or girl. And it's not because they're going any easier on the girls either... if you've ever seen the "am I the only one here who isn't a slut?" meme, you've seen the kind of intense vitriol thrown the author's way, over an easily sympathizable fear that her integrity in not resorting to makeup or revealing clothing will deny her the boys her rivals for them get. But the fact that of all the insults chosen, "virgin" isn't one of them, as if even those throwing that vitriol know that her virginity is by choice, not by circumstance. Meanwhile, a guy who expresses even the faintest of concern that women who prefer degenerate boyfriends will cause other boys to imitate said degenerates to get girlfriends will immediately and almost reflexively get met with cheap shots about his supposed virginity. Does this suggest the supposed skepticism, on males' presumed horniness and females' presumed pickiness about sex partners, was a facade from the start?

 

If "spontaneous sincerity" is not to be considered the more meaningful clue to people's real opinions, what's the alternative? The social sciences' surveys have had dismal results in recent years. In 2016, in the lead up to the election, people were biased against facing the possibility that respondents who said they'd vote Clinton were lying. Not just left-wingers who hated bad news when they didn't know what to do about it, but right-wingers who were pissed off that respondents were being blamed instead of pollsters themselves. Hell, BOTH sides were pretty biased against facing the possibility that person A might have a reason for lying that person B might not be aware of. So what's stopping there from being more where that came from, as far as polling failures go?

Your OP sounds an awful lot like a story based on your personal experiences. I'm not sure it applies generally, and I for one probably don't hear the word 'faggot' in my personal life more than once a year.

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Not that I habitually insult people ( or, at least, I try not to ), but you don't seem to understand the concept of an insult.

The point of an insult would seem to be, to 'hurt' the intended victim by disparaging something of a personal nature.
Sexuality, gender, ethnicity, hair color, speech patterns, etc. all fall into that category, and are thus used.

And it may have nothing to do with any biases on the part of the insultor.

Edited by MigL
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I'm confused. Since when did gay become a perjorative term, as claimed in the OP? Never, as far as I know. I reluctantly accepted "gay" as the preferred colloquial term for those with a homosexual leaning. I say reluctantly because this new meaning of gay really screwed up some of the characterisations in Jane Austen novels!

If I wished to refer to a gay persons sexual orientation in a positive, or neutral way then I would, as I have done here, refer to them as gay. If someone called me a faggot I would know they had tried to insult me. If I wanted to insult them, I would use something a lot more current than faggot. (i.e. I concur with @MigLpoints above.)

Some have regretted the lack of science in the OP. I regret the lack of coherent structure and clear intent. Can you @ScienceNosalgia101 state concisely what your point is? Or points?

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42 minutes ago, zapatos said:

Your OP sounds an awful lot like a story based on your personal experiences. I'm not sure it applies generally, and I for one probably don't hear the word 'faggot' in my personal life more than once a year.

That's why I said "a few towns" in which I've taught, rather than only one. If it were just my hometown obviously it could be dismissed as a one-off. I've noticed it in multiple towns, each of which routinely re-elect some of the same representatives who helped legalized gay marriage in Canada.

 

EDIT: But you don't have to take my word for it. Just look at how split so-called "homophobes" are among each other on what kind of a problem they have with homosexuality. Religious homophobes (the kind you hear on TV) will say it goes against the Bible. Masculinity-worshipping homophobes (the kind you encounter on 4chan) will say it gets in the way of accepting a woman's sexual advances; including those of a woman to whom you are not married. (Remember, pre-Trump, religious homophobes claimed to be against extramarital sex too.) Who's to say which of these variants even led to the use of "gay" as an insult in the first place?

 

I sometimes wonder if homophobia might've been a bit of an oversimplifying misnomer, actually. Looking down on homosexuality and otherwise respecting individual homosexuals are not mutually exclusive any more than looking down on any other facet of someone's life and otherwise respecting them are.

28 minutes ago, MigL said:

Not that I habitually insult people ( or, at least, I try not to ), but you don't seem to understand the concept of an insult.

The point of an insult would seem to be, to 'hurt' the intended victim by disparaging something of a personal nature.
Sexuality, gender, ethnicity, hair color, speech patterns, etc. all fall into that category, and are thus used.

And it may have nothing to do with any biases on the part of the insultor.

Well, it's either that, or what biases the "insultor" thinks others have. Otherwise, why pick that as an insult at all?

Edited by ScienceNostalgia101
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43 minutes ago, Area54 said:

I'm confused. Since when did gay become a perjorative term,

When I was in school in the 90s we used it a lot. Gay boy, queer, poofter (pronounced 'puff'), faggot, bender.

I only hear faggot now days. And this is rare. Usually by racists or outright homophobes. 

Edited by Curious layman
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1 hour ago, Area54 said:

I'm confused. Since when did gay become a perjorative term, as claimed in the OP? Never, as far as I know.

It can be used as a pejorative against homophobes.

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15 minutes ago, zapatos said:

It can be used as a pejorative against homophobes.

Ah. That makes sense. I should get out more.

 

1 hour ago, Curious layman said:

When I was in school in the 90s we used it a lot. Gay boy, queer, poofter (pronounced 'puff'), faggot, bender.

I only hear faggot now days. And this is rare. Usually by racists or outright homophobes. 

Therein lies the explanation. I went to school in the sixties. If you've studied history you will know that sex didn't actually exist until May 1962! It wasn't until the 90s that I realised, on reflection, that one of my close school friends must have been gay and suffering mental torture every day. People didn't come out then. They buried themselves further into hell. We may have a long way to go, but we've already come a great distance.

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3 hours ago, MigL said:

Not that I habitually insult people ( or, at least, I try not to ), but you don't seem to understand the concept of an insult.

The point of an insult would seem to be, to 'hurt' the intended victim by disparaging something of a personal nature.
Sexuality, gender, ethnicity, hair color, speech patterns, etc. all fall into that category, and are thus used.

And it may have nothing to do with any biases on the part of the insultor.

Couldn't agree more. Many Australians for example have what maybe regarded as an irreverent attitude to many things...On my old boys reunions we address each other when meeting as "how ya going you old bastard!!" I often refer to myself as an old fart. Being able to laugh at one's self, is good medicine.

Perhaps much of what  is being discussed here is Political correctness gone mad? I had an old lady around my age, who was behind me in a queue at the local Woolworth store. I had a shopping cart near full, she only had a couple of items in her hand. She addressed me, "excuse me Love, I only have two items, can I get in front of you?  Me in reply...Certainly my love! Some may say she was being sexist and I sexist in return. If I have the need to address any stranger, it is always with "Love" for females and "matey or mate" for blokes. I call it casual banter. Some may say its sexist and have in actual fact. I see that as PC gone mad.

Times change, mostly for the better, and I hope that mostly I can keep up with those changes. When I was at school in the fifties it was common to call "New Australians" particularly from Europe as dagos and wogs. It certainly was not meant as a "term of endearment" and thus certainly undesirable and wrong. In my day I was always gay...meaning happy. Today it has a different acceptable meaning, at least where I come from.

1 hour ago, Area54 said:

They buried themselves further into hell. We may have a long way to go, but we've already come a great distance.

Again, couldn't agree more!

56 minutes ago, beecee said:

Couldn't agree more. Many Australians for example have what maybe regarded as an irreverent attitude to many things...On my old boys reunions we address each other when meeting as "how ya going you old bastard!!" I often refer to myself as an old fart. Being able to laugh at one's self, is good medicine.!

I hope this is appropriate and illustrates the irreverence many Aussies to show. The following a short video of Australia's Prime Minister in the eighties, Bob Hawke, or as he preferred to be known as Hawkie. He was also a Rhodes scholar. The video is after Australia won the Yachting America's Cup in 1983, in a best of 7 series, after being down 3-1.

 

Edited by beecee
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