Perhaps the man was from New Zealand where the world dictionary defines ‘poof/poofter’ as a ‘contemptible person’ which – sorry – fits quite accurately into my personal definition of the Palin money-grubbing clan.
I don’t know where you live in Australia but I can tell you that I live in southeastern Qld where the term gay-bashing is used to identify actual gay-bashers and the term ‘poof’ is not taken very seriously at all. In fact, the word poof is freely used in front of small children (where using the word bloody will catch a glare and an elbow in the ribs); is used in the same context as Deborah who mutters the word idiot to refer to her husband, Ray Barone when he’s well, being one – and is commonly tossed about among my gay friends as a term of affection. If it has roots in the homosexual community the same way nigger has roots in the black community, I think it has outgrown those roots where I live.
But I do humbly apologize for my whimsical offence if it did, indeed, offend a member of the gay community. I meant no disrespect to gays, blacks or anyone. Honest.
That said, relax a bit Keri. The meanings of words become diluted over time and can actually mean entirely different things in different locations. In England for example, a fag is just a cigarette. In Los Angeles California, ho-ho-ho is apparently a collection of prostitutes while in most other places it’s just what Santa says while cllimbing down the chimney.
I’m pretty sure when the Christmas carole lyric of “don we now our gay apparel” was written the author didn’t envision a parade of homosexuals prancing about in sequined dresses. I’m pretty sure the lyricist meant party clothes – which is what gay apparel would have been in the sixteenth century when the song Deck The Halls was written. Putting on one’s gay clothing meant it was time to stop working and celebrate. It didn’t mean a man was a cross-dresser.
Fruitcake is a good one. Originally intended to liven up a party during the holidays, it somehow morphed into an insult meaning someone was crazy. However it evolved, the brandy-soaked holiday dessert somewhere along the way became associated with people acting nutty. There is a sort of reasoning one can follow in that. However, how it made the leap from crazy to becoming a derogatory expression meant to degrade homosexuals in the mid 1900’s I have no idea – but leap it did and as a teenager who lived in San Francisco, I grew up knowing most fruitcakes lived on Castro St. (Haha sorry Tom!)
For the record, too also, you can say fruitcake in front of small children without fear of anyone gasping for breath. And that’s kind of been my measuring stick for knowing what is appropriate or not while living in a different country from that of my birth. If no one scolds me for saying something in front of the littlies, then it must be okay to say in public, in mixed company.
I stand by my usage of the word poof and apparently so does a very big dictionary. But Keri, I am genuinely sorry if my reference to the Palin women of ‘Silly Poofs’ offends you or any of my readers. You obviously share a history with the word that I do not. And while I can respect your history, I expect the same respect in return.
If only Sarah were equally open to offering apologies, perhaps we would stop thinking of her as quite so big an idiot.