This is the more detailed response to Word Geek's response to my post yesterday, which all got a bit too much for the comments section of our respective hovels in cyber space. (And if you haven't already, you really should bookmark The Geekster's terrific blog, The Cunning Linguaphile.) ['the Sloz'? really?]
Thanks, first, for setting me straight (ah ha! that's good. I'm using that as the title. See?) on the 'going/turning' debate. Though of course, really, I would never use either, for the exact reasons you cite, which are completely true. Raised Catholic in a typically homophobic setting -- i.e. no more or less than any other setting in the 70s/80s, even though it was in Canada which, I'm very proud to say, has a good record in at least trying now to remedy the situation -- I remember very clearly a not exclusively unconscious assumption that you 'went' gay because of something traumatic that happened to you.
Of course the BIG assumption can be made (and though I don't always write about Freud he helps us here, too) that what this really expresses is an unconscious fear that once given a 'taste' of The Gay one might actually like it, thus undoing years of careful repression and denial in the service of a heterosexual identity in a homophobic culture. (Like why people don't like to imagine their parents having sex, I suppose. Oh. Sorry about that. Too late to take it back now.)
It's the Freudian assumption all over again, pathologising 'perverse' sexuality. Though of course Freud wasn't alone in this, and despite some of the rightly often-cited shocking phrases, Freud was actually quite good for his age, working from within that (or this) episteme. (As ever, it was more often the case that his followers mis-used Freud's ideas to condemn people for what they considered to be unacceptable sexual choices. The same can be said of the use of Freudian and Darwinian ideas by racists. Don't blame the cow if the milk goes bad because some frickin' bigot left it out in the run to curdle with the spite of hatred.) For Freud, and to his credit he acknowledges this himself, anything fun in sex, that is anything other than the single heterosexual act of penetration for the purposes of procreation, is 'perverse', so he didn't really mean to damn people with the tag, you know, that includes all foreplay, and because being Freud he was into all that. Oh yes.
Thanks, too, for catching that I nicked the toaster joke from Ellen. When I saw that I thought it was brilliant, and I've been using it liberally ever since. I've never really claimed it as my own, but sometimes it's too hard to explain, you know? (I think I calculated, roughly, once, that 3/4 of everything I say is either a direct quotation from or an allusion to film, tv or stand-up routine. You think that's funny? You think that's funny? What, like I'm a clown? I'm here to amuse you? etc. etc. ad naseum.)
And thanks also for explaining that I'm 'totally down with the gays and all that'. (By 'down' do you mean condemned to be forever licked by the flames of eternal damnation? No? Oh.) In case anyone was in doubt. Though I could hardly save said, 'No, really, I don't mind... some of my best friends... [insert your own personal homophobic rationalisation here]'. Now I forget if I'm worried about being accused of being homophobic or anti-Semetic. Probably both.
But, at the risk of some of this Gay Goodwill, I need to ask: you say that you think the 'coming out' issue is more complex than merely learning to accept a pre-existing sexuality. What did you have in mind? Without denying that as the case with many/most people who come out, does the notion that one accepts a pre-existing sexuality not in some small way cast a homo-sexuality in an (unnecessarily?) restricted box? I know this discussion might well lie well beyond the remit of your blog (intelligent commentary how lanaguage is used in our society and what that reveals about us) and mine, too (throwing shit at people), and I'm pretty sure that someone will have written on this, so I guess I'm really asking for you or any reader to suggest some readings for me. (For the record, I ask not only out of interest but to help with future questions in my Foucault seminars, so any help will not just help lift me out of ignorance but potentially an entire generation of young minds.)
Finally, I've already got a salad spinner. A really nice one. Can I keep collecting Veggie Convert Points until I have enough for something else? (A home cheese-making kit! That's what I really want. If there was a Santa Claus, that's what would be waiting for me under the tree this December. If there was a Vegetarian Reward Scheme -- and there should be, if karma worked -- I'd pick that.) What will you give me if I hoard my points?