Monday, February 1, 2010

Matching the Words with the LGBT World

The Word Warriors Web site, a project of Wayne State University, aims to retrieve expressive English words from obscurity. Hoping to re-inject some colorful words into conversation and writing, Word Warriors released its 2010 list of neglected but useful words.

I'm willing to help the word worriers. But will these 15 words fit comfortably with my subject matter?

Let's find out. First I give the word, then the definition, then a sentence using the word.

Antediluvian. Very old, old-fashioned; antiquated. Ageism among gay men means that any guy who remembers Gerald Ford is antediluvian.

Bamboozle. To fool or cheat. Could it be that former Sen. Larry Craig actually believes he bamboozled people into thinking he's straight with his "wide stance" claim?

Bloviate. To speak at length in a pompous or boastful manner. I bet if he were asked to speak on gay rights, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov would happily bloviate on how he's manfully prevented Pride parades and how a gay gulag sounds good to him.

Charlatan. Fraud. Over the years charlatans in the ex-gay movement have made such fanciful claims about turning gays into straights that it's easy to think of them as the spiritual heirs of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen.

Concupiscence. Strong sexual desire. The Rev. Ted Haggard's concupiscence for a man led him into the arms of an escort, the teeth of a scandal and the gallbladder of fibbing.

Festoon. To adorn or decorate. The winner of the holiday drag queen pageant had festooned herself with fake snow and lit candles.

Galoshes. Waterproof shoes or boots. If raincoat is another word for condom, what is galoshes another word for?

Indefatigable. Tireless; endlessly persistent. It seems like those who oppose gay rights never run out of gas, but fortunately, we're indefatigable too. (Note: This word is a bit of a tongue twister, but it is not pronounced indeFAGable.)

Insouciance. The quality of being carefree; a lack of concern. The gay activist hoped to drift into insouciance during her vacation in Provincetown, but deep down she knew she was too uptight to pull that off.

Mendacity.
Lying. I learned the word mendacity from watching the movie version of Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." This doesn't tell you anything about the word, but I thought I'd mention it.

Mercurial. Fickle; erratic. Because President Obama hasn't moved forcefully on key gay issues like he promised, some view him as mercurial, while others even judge him guilty of mendacity.

Numinous. Awe-inspiring; profoundly moving. Word Warriors says the word doesn't refer to the supernatural, but my dictionary says it suggests the divine. I'm not getting involved.

Quixotic. Excessively romantic; visionary but unrealistic. Not long ago, if someone had said gays would be getting married in this country in 2010, he would've been viewed as decidedly quixotic and possibly nuts.

Scuttle. To sink figuratively; to scurry. I sincerely hope the outrageous, draconian anti-gay legislation Uganda is considering will be scuttled, and the three American evangelical Christians who helped fan the prejudice that led to the legislation, when asked to speak on "the gay agenda" in the future, will instead scuttle far, far away.

Unctuous. Oily; excessively flattering. Any bar, gay or straight, has its unctuous characters laying on the suaveness, and mama was right when she told you to avoid them.

It looks to me like these neglected words do blend with my LGBT material. I'll be on the lookout for next year's list. If I don't look for it, that will prove me mercurial and an example of mendacity. Which means I'll have to put on my galoshes and scuttle away.