Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Language Alert: Is the President Economically Queer?

A few minutes ago, on Good Morning America, a man with a southern accent, referring to Obama's impression that we may be in a depression, said "Oh that's just the President in drama queen mode."

You know a phrase has come full circle when an economist on mainstream TV calls the President an enthusiastic homosexual without even knowing it, and when no one raises an eyebrow.

I'm guessing that this phrase - very definitely gay in origin - moved into the straight community through hairdressers who used it in conversation with clients. Mothers with improved hair might go home and use it on their young tantrum-throwing children. This is where their husbands first heard it. Concurrently, it infiltrated the workplace where it was first introduced by gay employees much to the delight of their straight co-workers. (I know this to be true. I was one of the carriers.) Initially, the gay co-worker would sanitize the phrase by using it to refer only to a female co-worker who might be acting out. Soon enough, whole offices would be using it to refer to men and women alike.

I knew the phrase had come almost full circle when, a few years ago, in a meeting with my female boss, she accused me of being a drama queen. Because, as administrators, she and I very carefully suppressed all elements of "gay" in our workplace, I knew that she didn't have a clue about what she was really saying.

Note, in gay parlance, the drama queen is never to be confused with the Broadway queen or the musical comedy queen or the theater queen. They are different critters, and Obama, soon after becoming President, managed to take his wife to New York for dinner and a show without becoming any of them. I fully expect the mainstreamed confusion of all these queens to soon unfold.

8 comments:

DrRuss said...

don't forget the Opera queen. I first heard this used while sipping pretentious white wine at a faculty meeting.

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Right, Russ, attention must be paid to such a queen.

RawForReal said...

Wouldn't it be awesome if talking-head who reads a teleprompter for a living misread a line and called him a Drag Queen instead of a Drama Queen?

edfu said...

I've been hearing it more and more among straights in an attenuated form, though there is no doubt of its origin: e.g., "Now, I don't want any drama" or "Leave the drama at home," etc.

I proudly lay claim to membership amongst all the queenships: I fully admit to being a drama queen, a Broadway queen, a theater queen, an opera queen. This must surely mean I have reached the apotheosis of queendom: a screaming queen.

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

You've one further and final badge to acquire, edfu. The Dinosaur Queen.

edfu said...

Bless me, Father, I have already attained that badge as well: I'm 67 years old.

robert61 said...

In a related, though probably not gay, note, grade school children now routinely use "suck" in general conversation to mean "be bad or of poor quality", evidently with no sense of what is metaphorically being sucked.

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear Robert61,
"Sucks" still makes some uncomfortaable. In Queens last Sunday, I watched as the politicians assembled themselves in the front row of the march protesting the brutal hate crime attack on Jack Price. A young girl with a sign was positioned next to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. The girls sign said "Hatred Effin Sucks". Ms. Quinn quickly looked at the flip side which was more bland and turned the sign over before the march began. I laughed as I captured this on camera, wondering what was worse: effing or sucks.