Michael Newman mnewman at QC.EDU
Sat Feb 7 19:08:32 UTC 2004

At the risk of unscientifically promoting the
very effort I am reporting about, I wonder how
many subscribers are aware of the campaign to
promote the use of the word "santorum" to refer
to "the frothy mix of lubricant and fecal matter
that is sometimes a byproduct of anal sex." The
definition was a kind of developed through a
contest organized by sex-advice columnist Dan
Savage.  It was a kind of linguistic payback to
Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum who made some
frothy anti-gay comments while the US Supreme
Court was considering the constitutionality of
sodomy laws last year. The contest involved
soliciting possible appropriate definitions for
the senator's name, and "frothy mix " was the
winner. It was followed by on-going deliberate
efforts to promote the use of the word in the
media and its inclusion in dictionaries. There is
a website now
devoted to the effort.

Is this kind of lexicological campaign
unprecedented? There are obvious differences
between this effort and the campaign against
Charles Boycott or the way that Capt. Lynch got
his name into the lexicon.

Michael Newman
Associate Professor of Linguistics
Dept. of Linguistics and Communication Disorders
Queens College/CUNY
Flushing, NY 11367
tel: 718-997-2871
fax: 718-997-2873

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