Tweet of the Day: A Handmaid’s Tale Is a Warning to Conservative Women
“I am a Christian.”
Are not Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Mormons, Mennonites, Anglicans, Eastern Orthodox, and Quakers not Christians? Or are they not the “right” kind of Christian? Which means that those other denominations are “wrong” somehow. It is true that any statement of identity is but inclusionary and exclusionary, that is, it defines those that share the identity as those that do not. But some, like the statement above are more about exclusion than inclusion, about separating what is “true” from what is “false”.
I’ve come to see the next statement in a similar manner:
“I am Straight.”
Why? Well lets look at the definition of the word:
Definition of straight
1a : free from curves, bends, angles, or irregularities straight hair straight timberb : generated by a point moving continuously in the same direction and expressed by a linear equation a straight line the straight segment of a curve
2a : lying along or holding to a direct or proper course or method a straight thinkerb : candid, frank a straight answerc : coming directly from a trustworthy source a straight tip on the horsesd (1) : having the elements in an order the straight sequence of events (2) : consecutive12 straight dayse : having the cylinders arranged in a single straight line a straight 8-cylinder enginef : plumb, vertical the picture isn’t quite straight
3a : exhibiting honesty and fairness straight dealingb : properly ordered or arranged set the kitchen straight set us straight on that issue; also : correct get the facts straightc : free from extraneous matter : unmixed straight whiskeyd : marked by no exceptions or deviations in support of a principle or party votes astraight Democratic tickete : having a fixed price for each regardless of the number soldf : not deviating from an indicated pattern writes straight humor a straight-A studentg (1) : exhibiting no deviation from what is established or accepted as usual, normal, or proper : conventional; also : square 5f (2) : not using or under the influence of drugs or alcoholh : heterosexual
Notice a pattern here? Many of these definitions are about moral character more than simple geometric description. Words like “normal”, “correct”, and “trustworthy” pop up. It becomes even more apparent when you look at the antonyms:
Near Antonyms improper, incorrect, indecorous, naughty, unbecoming, unseemly; corrupt, debased, debauched, degenerate, depraved, dissolute, libertine, perverted, reprobate; unprincipled, unscrupulous; atrocious, infamous, villainous; base, low, mean, vicious, vile; blameworthy, objectionable, offensive; iniquitous, nefarious; errant, erring, fallen
So when I use the term “Straight” I am not really saying anything about myself. However I am making a statement about others, a purely negative statement. I may have not meant it as such, and neither would you, but the more I think about it, the more it becomes apparent to me that it is an exclusionary word, a term of moral judgement more than a word that defines me in any meaningful capacity or with any accuracy.
I am not saying that you should not use the word, only that after some thought I have come to this conclusion.
So what do you think, oh gentle reader?