"Lame, gay and churchy"…

Abbott lame, gay churchy loser, says his daughter.

The headline for this article in today’s Age, seems to suggest that Tony Abbott’s daughter went to the press with this accusation against her father. In fact, reading between the lines, it seems that what really happened was that Abbott himself related his daughter’s summation, in an attempt to show how difficult it can be sometimes for parents when they try to talk to their children about drugs.

That is an important issue, but not what interests me in the article. What interests me is the reaction from David Moutou, the “developmental manager” of a “gay youth support group” called “Twenty10”.

David Moutou, said ”gay” was not synonymous with ”bad” and was disappointed it would be repeated that way by a respected member of Parliament.

”Young people in their school environment are hypersensitive to the use of words, like ‘gay’, with negative connotations,” he said.

Quite. I know a time when it used to mean “happy”.

But wait a moment! Where are the disability rights activists? Shouldn’t they be objecting to the use of “lame” as a term of derogration?

AND, of course, what about “churchy”?

Of course, being “churchy” IS an acceptable term of abuse, with all the “negative connotations” you could ask for in this day and age. Just ask Catherine Deveny.

I tell you, I am seriously considering whether to continue my subscription to The Age very much longer. I guess I will, though. After all, what is the alternative?

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45 Responses to "Lame, gay and churchy"…

  1. Joshua says:

    Anyone who hears high school students talking will know that they use “gay” to mean uncool, weak, lame, etc.

  2. Clara says:

    Joshua, that is precisely how my children use it. Time for the homoactivists to find another euphemism.

  3. Schütz says:

    Do they say “You’re so churchy”?

  4. Peregrinus says:

    “Churchy” as a pejorative goes back to the eighteenth century, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. There’s nothing new about it, and it’s probably a bit late to object to this bit of linguistic development.

    “Gay” has acquired the meaning of “uncool”, at least in youthspeak, as attested by that barometer of cultural trends, the Simpsons:

    Dolph: Oh, man! You kissed a girl!
    Jimbo: That is so gay!

    But, the point is, it has only acquired that meaning because of its anticedent meanign of “homosexual”. Preteens and younger adolescents are notoriously homophobic, precisely because they are a bit baffled by sexuality and unsure of their own sexual identity. In my own childhood we used “fairy” as a term of general abuse in precisely the same way, with only the haziest notion of what we were alluding to. Not much would be served by gays moving on to some other term; primary school children would assuredly follow them.

    • Schütz says:

      “precisely because they are a bit baffled by sexuality and unsure of their own sexual identity”.

      Or a little more in touch with nature…

      • Peregrinus says:

        Same thing, really!

        • Tony says:

          P: … Preteens and younger adolescents are notoriously homophobic, precisely because they are a bit baffled by sexuality and unsure of their own sexual identity

          S: Or a little more in touch with nature…

          So you reckon it’s in our nature to be ‘notoriously homophobic’? mmmm

          Be careful what you wish for in terms of newspapers. Try living in one-newspaper (Murdoch) town!

          • Peregrinus says:

            So you reckon it’s in our nature to be ‘notoriously homophobic’? mmmm

            No, silly. I reckon it’s in our nature to be “baffled by sexuality and unsure of our own sexual nature” when we are hit by the express train of puberty.

      • Louise says:

        Preteens and younger adolescents are notoriously homophobic, precisely because they are a bit baffled by sexuality and unsure of their own sexual identity.

        Not yet completely indoctrinated by the Thought Police, I think.

        Sorry, but while I can respect gay people, gay sex is gross.

  5. Tony Bartel says:

    The Australian or the for those of North of the Border, the Sydney Morning Herald which is Fairfax but without the slant of the Age.

    Actually I read them both online, and only very rarely wander across to the Age.

    • Matthias says:

      I have decided to boycott the Saturday AGE as this is where Deveny exercises her ego and paganism quite freely. sometimes i purchase THE GUARDIAN or look at the Economist on line.

    • Schütz says:

      The Australian is good – but (forgive me Perry) I really am not interested about what happens in WA. For that matter I am not really interested in what goes on in Sydney either.

      What I want is a parochial Melbourne paper like the Australian. Is that too much for a Melbournian to ask?

      • Mrs Doyle says:

        I’m with you Schutz! I’m sick of The Age, it’s taken the place of the Herald Sun – the paper of the wannabe intelligensia.

        • Joshua says:

          Here in Launceston we have our own most parochial paper: “The Examiner”. But I generally get the chance, either at lunchtime at work or after work when having a restorative coffee, to read “The Australian” and also “The Herald Sun”.

          Interestingly, at the Melbourne seminary for the past decade or so “The Age” has been called “The Gayge” (The Gay-Age), using the word in both its modern senses, to describe this pretentious and tendentious newspaper as both lame and in favour of modern lifestyle alternatives. (I think that an article that it ran, entitled “Wanted: Priests Who Don’t Prey”, was much resented.)

      • Peregrinus says:

        The Australian is good – but (forgive me Perry) I really am not interested about what happens in WA.
        No need for apologies, David. Nothing ever happens in Perth.

      • Louise says:


        In any case, you should read Belloc’s “The Free Press.” It’ll change how you feel about papers altogether.

    • Jen Marianne says:

      Belatedy, I agree, Tony! The Age is becoming quite tabloid ! I prefer The Australian (though we subscribe to The Age – my spouse’s choice)

      I am a Sydneysider by origin (and ongoing affiliation) , but live in Melbourne. The SMH is much more balanced and outward looking.

  6. Joshua says:

    Interestingly, “queer” has not acquired this sense – maybe because it used in a very aggressive way by activists. I suspect that “fairy”, “homo”, “poofter”, “gay”, et al. have an onomatopoeic sound that seems somewhat effeminate, whereas “queer” does not.

  7. Tom says:

    Wow that lady has a case of the sour grapes so freakin’ bad you’d never have believed anyone could be so bitter.

    What I find so interesting is that if people don’t like what the Church has to say, why they find they simply cannot ignore it?

    When a racist or the like gets up, and starts saying their bit, people just ignore them. What is it about the Church that leaves people so incapable of setting what they say aside?

    I had an interesting discussion with a friend of mine; he’s a Humean and a materialist; and thought that it was categorically wrong for the Church to condemn abortion or contraception. I said ‘if you don’t like what the Church says, why not just ignore it? You live your life like you ignore it anyway, why not just leave the Church alone?’.

    He simply could not; leaving the Church alone was not an option for some reason. All sorts of specious arguments came out then like, ‘so other people aren’t fooled into thinking the wrong thing’ (funny that he says people should be allowed to think as they please) and ‘the Church harms people by its teaching’ (funny again, that he says the Church’s thought & teaching harms people, but the radical medical procedure of abortion isn’t harmful).

    There is something that the Church teaches that really gets people riled up, they are incapable of hearing the Church and not responding. The faithful answer happily, the unfaithful answer with anger and resentment, even people who aren’t baptised (my friend mentioned above was never baptised in any faith).

    The question of homosexuality is a major case in point: the Church says homosexual acts are bad. The state says ‘we don’t really care one way or the other, just pay taxes’. The homosexual lobby groups are sent up in flames by this, they go rabid at the thought that someone might disagree with them. It’s like the worst case of fundamentalism you could encounter. Just goes to show that atheists are more religious than your run-of-the-mill theists.

    This is my opinion! Do not disagree or you’re a homophobe!

    Wonder if I could get away with; This is my opinion! Do not disagree or you’re a christophobe!

    Now all I need is the media to villify chistophobes as Nazi’s and i’m set. I could call everyone who disparages the Church a Nazi, or a facist or a cultural pig who just wants to control my thoughts.

    I know it’s not an argument, but it’s an interesting thing. People can never the leave the Church alone; there must always be a response in some form – yes or no. Never an ‘I don’t care’.

    • Peregrinus says:

      Well, fair enough, Tom. But would you also say “why doesn’t David simply ignore the Age, rather than feeing the need to criticise or contradict it in his blog?

      Over on Cathnews at the moment, they’re talking about what they might do to the Age – a reader boycott, pressure on advertisers, complaints of discrimination, etc. Would you advise them just to take no notice?

      • Tom says:

        The Age was insulting the Church, David was defending the Church.

        The Church doesn’t get up and call homosexuals misogynistic, deceptive, manipulative, hypocritical and bigoted.

        I think there’s a difference between what the Church says and how people respond to ‘x, y, z is good for human flourishing’ and ‘The Church is so ‘.

        If someone was on the street yelling at a homosexual and ranting and raving, I would expect anyone, Theist, Atheist or Agnostic to step in and defend them. The same goes for the Church.

        • Tom says:

          3rd paragraph post above should end and ‘The Church is so ‘.

          Forgot about the italics/bold/underline thing.

        • Peregrinus says:

          The Church doesn’t get up and call homosexuals misogynistic, deceptive, manipulative, hypocritical and bigoted.

          No, but it does call them “intrinsically disordered”. And they kind of don’t like that. Why would you expect them to show greater forbearance when the subject of public criticism which they feel is unjustified than you think David should when the church is subject to public criticism which he feels is unjustified?

          • Louise says:

            Criticism is fine, but what we’re talking about is not merely criticism, but just out and out ranting, raving, lies, hate, foaming at the mouth hysteria etc. By people who are paid in like $$$$ to spew forth this muck.

            It’s the appalling bias of the MSM that inflames even the most patient Catholic heart.

    • Kiran says:

      Now I am Humean, and a materialist (Newman was a Humean in the same sense that St. Thomas was an Averroist, but not a materialist), and I can’t think of a Faith that answers to both parts of me than the Catholic Church (and Thomism).

      By this I mean that there are aspects of Hume which I think Catholics believe as true, even obvious. We don’t, for instance, accept all miracles as “miraculous.” My neighbour telling me that a bird flew in and flew around her room 3 times is some kind of revelation of the internal structure of the universe, I dismiss as pure coincidence. A Thomist would also be able to accept without qualm Hume’s demolition of Paley, and thank Hume for it. We don’t believe in the equation of the God of the philosophers (let alone a god of the bad philosophers) and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, precisely because we have a well-developed negative theology. We don’t believe, as well, in a god of the Gaps, or a God who is so jealous or powerless that he can’t create systems which have their own causality (although Hume is, in a sense, heir to medieval Occasionalism). Lastly, Catholics and Hume both agree on probability as the guide of life.

      Likewise, materialists and Catholics have a lot in common. We both agree on the trustworthiness, the goodness, if you will, of the material world. We both agree in dismissing “spiritualism” of a certain kind. Where Materialists go too far is in assuming that “spiritualism” is all there is to spirituality.

      Which leads me to my question, do we (Catholics, Humeans, and Materialists) disagree precisely because we have so much in common? Of course, Deveny’s problem is not so much that she is wrong, as that she is going out of her way to be offensive and unreasonable, in the strict sense. Nowhere in the article does she give anything like a rational argument. This is the issue. If someone disagrees with me, but gives me a rational argument, then I can seek common ground. If someone just disagrees with me and calls me names, I am tempted to respond in kind. Which is not at all to say that I am not sometimes offensive in precisely that sense. Just to try and define what the offence consists in.

      • Kiran says:

        Clarification: What I meant by saying I am a materialist, and Newman wasn’t, is a matter of the extent to which one takes the external world as reliable.

  8. Paul says:

    This is maybe a little off-topic from this blog, but you ask “what is the alternative to a subscription to the Age”.
    These days, I only buy a newspaper once every couple of months, and that is only when I run out of paper to wrap the rubbish in.
    The rest of the time I read blogs, and news websites. I am clearly not alone, because the income of the big newspaper companies is plummeting, and even their websites are not getting much traffic (according to

    Many people think the old economic model of the newspaper corporation is dying. Now Rupert Murdoch wants to charge for his websites, but as I have read it put crudely, “why do you have to pay Rupert Murdoch to find out that Michael Jackson has died?” Or, why should anyone listen to Catherine Deveny just because her stories appear on a newpaper’s website??

    To answer your original question of the alternative to an Age subscription, I think news is now spread all over different media sources and it will never again be squirted out of just one hose like the daily edition of the Age. Topical news is available from many places, and analysis can be had from people who have done something to earn respect for their knowledge and opinions, like your good self, David on this blog.

    • Tony says:

      I think you’re spot on Paul.

      The newspaper is dying before our eyes.

      There is so much that is available that is free on line, eg, you can ‘filter’ your news fix on Google and subs to other news sites are pretty reasonable. And, yes, blogs build audiences because people want to read them … even if it’s just to disagree!

      PS: Why any one would wish for more Murdoch is beyond me. ;-)

  9. Kiran says:

    Actually, there was a point in time when “queer” tended to be used by analytic philosophers to describe certain things…

    • Peregrinus says:

      . . . but they stopped using the term because they were afraid people would think they were gay.

      • Tom says:



        I can’t stand the analytics. Well, analytic Thomism is alright, but it’s still too much about logical positivism. I blame Kant.

        • Kiran says:

          I can’t say I am intimately familiar with analytics after the Geachscombes, but I do think the analytics are on to something, in the same sense that Hume was on to something, and Wittgenstein. After all, the “analytics” are continuing the work of the medieval logicians, reviving study of language as fundamental to philosophy, getting around the monstrous girth of the tradition of bad metaphysics that plagued philosophy for almost half a millenium….

          • Tom says:


            wash your mouth out!

            Anyone who claims Hume improved metaphysics has earnt my serious, serious ire!

            That being said, Haldane has done good things with metaphysics. However, the original source of brilliant metaphysics was Aquinas! (Who of course, is indebted to Aristotle) Post Aquinas though, metaphysics pretty much collapsed; and it was a VERY rapid decline. For a discipline that grew and reached its height over around 1600-1700 years, it only took about 500 years to break down to the point of being considered mere ‘spirituality’. Of course, this is why Descartes is poison for the soul. Rationalism my arse, he destroyed the concept of intelligibility and turned reason into mere ratiocintation.

            Now, your Geachscombes (as you put it) have done good work in trying to revive Thomistic metaphysics; in fact Haldane (who is the major philosopher in that tradition today) calls himself an analytic Thomist, and has written several articles on analytic thomist metaphysics.

            Still, I much prefer the original; Aquinas’ metaphysics were brilliant, really and utterly brilliant. Even Heidegger didn’t criticise him; every other metaphysician between Thales and himself was blasted by Heidegger; Aquinas escaped his ire, because he was the first to consider being as a verb, not as a noun.

            I’ve not studied the modern philosophy in depth, but my tastes don’t run to such Kantian depths of category philosophy.

            PS, Hume wasn’t onto something. His is/ought distinction (followed by Moore’s naturalistic fallacy) was just a failure to understand metaphysics. Ought is not logically derived from Is, nor did Aquinas try to do so. Instead, Is is derived from Ought. Hume just got it completely wrong, that’s all; I honestly think Hume’s contribution to philosophy was how not to be a philosopher. (Some might accuse me of being biased against materialists; well, it’s true.)

            Wait, that’s not entirely fair, his logic wasn’t bad. Everything else was terrible.

            • Kiran says:

              I didn’t say Hume purified metaphysics. I did say that Hume was onto something and I stand by it. Hume was writing in the context of the triumph of mechanistic philosophy.

              Hume is not to be read as a historian, but as a philosopher. And in that respect, he was heir to four hundred odd years of bad philosophy. That allowed for, what he says is utterly brilliant, I think. Dialogues on Natural Religion is a brilliant exercise in exposing bad mechanistic natural theology. Aquinas is not touched by it, nor Christianity proper. But Paley was, and good riddance. Likewise, his attack on the concept of causation again reveals that, taken by itself, secondary causality hasn’t got a leg to stand on. Hume on miracles is a brilliant attempt to explain how faith relate to miracles, and in a prescient way, answer present tendencies to expect a certain type of miracle as “proof.” Hume on Induction and reasoning is a great insight into the probabilistic formation of belief. I am not saying Hume is to be accepted wholesale. But at the very least, he is in Elizabeth Anscombe’s phrase “the most brilliant of the sophists”. But I think he is a lot more than that.

              You say Descartes is bad. Well, yes, Hume would go along with that.

              As far as biases go, I myself am rather fond of Hume partly because Newman in many ways follows upon and Christianizes Hume in something like the same way Aquinas christianizes Averroes, partly because unlike Kant or Descartes, he genuinely does point toward St.Thomas, and lastly because my own interest in philosophy came from an essay I wrote as an undergraduate trying to justify Aquinas to a secular audience, which took the “Natural Religion” as its basis.

  10. Louise says:

    I wouldn’t read The Age (in its paper form, nor part with $$ for it) if my life depended on it.


    The Mercury is probably much worse, but I buy it if I think they may have published a letter I’ve written!

  11. jeffersontan says:

    For a few minutes today, I entertained the idea that having The Age around is like the persecution of the early Christians. God can use it as a further catalyst for the springtime of the Church. A concrete way that could happen is for the anti-Catholic rants to backfire. Ms. Deveny’s recent tirade is a new low, including as it does a clear act of malice and deception, as well as sacrilege. Not to mention the smugness and lame comedy. So maybe we’ll get more people waking up to the sad reality of rank anti-Catholicism in The Age. Maybe they’ll even send a letter to The Age and protest.

    But two things dampened those thoughts. First, getting a letter through to The Age is no simple thing. I sent two letters this week, both complying with their requirements, but neither one got through. Second, The Age is likely to *benefit* from the outraged letters. It may be that they pay Ms. Deveny for exactly this sort of response from people. And unless a critical mass is reached, there probably won’t be enough numbers to justify dropping such articles from publication.

    Still, I guess for the sake of the people who are roused up out of apathy, the benefit remains valid.

  12. jeffersontan says:

    I should have written “roused up *from* apathy”. :-)

  13. Sharon says:

    I haven’t read a newspaper for about three years. I went from reading The Age every day to reading it once a week – Thursday when the TV programme came out and then, when I stopped watching TV I stopped reading The Age altogether.

    I receive a no pictures news email from the ABC twice a day and if I wish to find out more I can go online and do a search.

    I am sad that the secular sites I do read are full of side bars which contain matter which is completely sexual. It is true to say that our culture is sex saturated. It would take very special young people to come through their teens and 20s unsullied by the culture.

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