Wednesday 10 December: "Day Without a Gay"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Dec 9 20:53:57 UTC 2008

Some are harder to contexualize than others:  "call in gasless"?
There's also, in a related snowclone", "stage an X-out" (< sick-out,
I assume based on walk-out), such as staging a gay-out or queer-out.
(Too close to outing?)  And there's always the blue flu for police
job actions, although I don't know if that's sponsored snowclones,
given the rhyme factor.  Hair stylists  staging a do-flu?  Tiger-cage
cleaners putting on a zoo-flu?  Underpaid rabbis organizing
for...well, you get the idea.


At 3:11 PM -0500 12/9/08, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
>On Tue, Dec 9, 2008 at 1:05 PM, Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at> wrote:
>>  tomorrow is International Human Rights Day, and for the occasion two
>>  San Franciscans have spearheaded a protest and boycott (across the
>>  U.S.) on behalf of gay rights and in opposition to California's
>>  Proposition 8 (banning same-sex marriage).  two points of linguistic
>>  interest: the name of the event is "A Day Without a Gay", and people
>>  are encouraged to "call in gay" from work.
>>  "call in gay" is of course based on the idiom "call in sick".
>It appears that one inspiration for the snowclone-y substitution of
>"call in sick" with "call in gay" is this quote, attributed to lesbian
>activist Robin Tyler:
>"If homosexuality is a disease, let's all call in queer to work:
>'Hello. Can't work today, still queer.'"
>This reminds me a bit of the "driving while X" snowclone. Here are
>some other "call in X (to work)" variations attested on the Web:
>gray [referring to hair dye]
>seasonally affective
>>>From a Google search of: <"call in * to work" -"call in sick|late|gay|queer">
>(Many are of the negative form, "you can't call in X to work", or the
>interrogative, "can I call in X to work?")
>--Ben Zimmer
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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