Heard on MSNBC

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Sat May 9 23:07:21 UTC 2009

I don't understand this response. Doesn't "having teh sex" qualify as
"current buzz"? I certainly didn't mean to imply that "catch the gay" was not
satirical. (I'm not sure that I'd use the term "vicious" about ANY mocking of
people who think that being gay is a communicable disease.)

It could be, though, that we are dealing with two separate but
grammatically related origins here that have kindof merged in this thread: (1) "the +
disease" and (2) the addition of "the" to a noun (or adjective) in a way that
sounds foreign or dialectal.

In a message dated 5/9/09 1:49:09 PM, faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU writes:

> Perhaps in origin. But on at least one of the forums I participate in,
> participants will talk about "having teh sex" (or "teh sexx0rs"). And
> those who *do* use "teh gay" in a way that can be interpreting it as
> "something you can catch" are generally mocking (and rather viciously!)
> the attitude that gayness is contagious.
> Alice
> ronbutters at AOL.COM wrote:
> > In other words, "the gay" and "the ugly" are thought of as akin to
> diseases, like "the plague." HIV is also the name of a disease, but it does not
> usually take the definite article among sophisticated speakers. Phrases
> like "catch the ugly" are not satirical, just current buzz.
> > In that sense, "catch the gay" and "catch the ugly" are somewhat
> exceptional.
> > ------Original Message------
> > From: Alice Faber
> > Sender: ADS-L
> > To: ADS-L
> > ReplyTo: ADS-L
> > Subject: Re: [ADS-L] Heard on MSNBC
> > Sent: May 9, 2009 11:34 AM
> >
> > Herb Stahlke wrote:
> >> Rachel Maddow frequently uses the phrase "the gay" derisively of
> >> people, usually conservative Republicans, who think homosexuality is
> >> an acquired behavior.  This evening Keith Olberman used "the funny" in
> >> a similar way when talking about whether Obama would be humorous at
> >> the Correspondents' Dinner.  Is this use of "the" + adjective a new
> >> pattern?  Obviously "the" + adjective is a common construction that's
> >> been around a long time as in "The difficult is done at once; the
> >> impossible takes a little longer."  It's this derisive or ironic use
> >> of the construction that feels new.
> >
> > It's been around in the blogosphere for a while now. For purposes of
> > googling, the spelling would be "teh gay" or "teh ghey".
> >
> >
> --
> ========================================================================
> Alice Faber                                       faber at haskins.yale.edu
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