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Monday, February 13, 2012

Lexicon Valley on "Faggot"

Posted by Alison Hallett on Mon, Feb 13, 2012 at 4:59 PM

I'm a little bit obsessed with the Slate podcast family, and I've been enjoying their newest, Lexicon Valley, a "show about the mysteries of English," hosted by former On the Media producer Mike Vuolo.

Today's episode—the show's second—is about the etymology of the world "faggot" and how and when it should be used. Vuolo is joined by Bob Garfield, with one host staunchly defending his right to use it as a hyperbolic insult, and the other maintaining that it's not really a word straight men get to say. (It reminded me of this BINGO card of justifications people use for saying cunt that I ran across yesterday.) Most interestingly, the show examines the word's historical roots—concluding that the word was originally a pejorative directed at women (and not, as people love to repeat in tones of utmost concern, because "faggot" originally referred to the bundles of sticks used to burn gay people at the stake).

Listen here.

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