The Homophone Menace

July 31, 2014

In the Salt Lake Tribune we find the following allegation:

[W]hen the social-media specialist for a private Provo-based English language learning center wrote a blog explaining homophones, he was let go for creating the perception that the school promoted a gay agenda.

Some say the ancient texts condemn homophones. But cutting through the haze, these texts are correctly understood to prohibit acts not, say, an ax. “Love the sinner, louver the sin,” writes the Right Reverend Wright, who urges that homophonic tendencies be resisted. Many religious business owners say they would employ a homophone for a menial task, but not hire one for a higher one.

Homophones were once prohibited in the military, but never in the millinery. Soldiers feared them less than a gay’s gaze.

The causes of homophones are unknown. Perhaps it’s in the genes or a mother’s smothers. Too simple to say there’s only two. Maybe the homophones choose, as a dog chews shoes.

“Our hour has come,” proclaim the militant homophones. “We are discrete but no longer discreet.” They threaten to uproot heteronymativity.

This leaves many to suspect the real homophone addenda.

They want same-pronunciation marriage. The possibility is much discussed with much disgust. “They have no right to that rite,” writes Wright.  “Chris will marry Chris, Pat will wed Pat, and Dale betroth Dale. What’s next, polynomial marriage?”

Next up: Lebanese linguistics, bilious bilinguals, and troubling transcriptions.

 

Dale Carpenter is the Distinguished University Teaching Professor and Earl R. Larson Professor of Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Law at the University of Minnesota Law School. He teaches and writes in the areas of constitutional law; the freedoms of speech, association, and religion; and sexual orientation and the law.
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