June 11, 2012

Before the term "gay mafia"

Back in the 1930s, the great poet W.H. Auden used to joke about the cultural power of well-placed homosexuals like himself. (The heterosexual George Orwell would fulminate about the influence of Auden's coterie of "nancy poets," while the vaguer Evelyn Waugh would lampoon Auden and Isherwood as Parsnip and Pimpernell, who respond to WWII by fleeing across the Atlantic). The term Auden used for gay influence was "the Homintern." 

It's a reference to Moscow's Communist International or Comintern, but it only makes sense funny if you use the proper BBC pronunciation of "homosexual" with a short initial "o" as in "homogenized."

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gay-GB

Anonymous said...

gaybal

dearieme said...

Do you mean you pronounce it as in home-sweet-homosexual? How exotic.

Anonymous said...

Of course, Waugh had sex with men.


I don't know how gay that makes him relative to his peers...

Assistant Village Idiot said...

We all know that homosexuality is entirely genetic and has nothing to do with environment whatsoever, but I have nonetheless wondered what effect the English Public School (we would call them private schools) system had on the high rate of homosexuality among elites, and low rate among the lower classes.

Anonymous said...

"We all know that homosexuality is entirely genetic and has nothing to do with environment whatsoever, but I have nonetheless wondered what effect the English Public School (we would call them private schools) system had on the high rate of homosexuality among elites"


It's really bizarre and always makes me think I'm being trolled. Even Christopher Hitchens said he was completely straight but that it was no big deal to have sex with other men when he was at public school/oxbridge.

Anonymous said...

Waugh, who of course has been discussed a lot the past few days here, not just in this post, had a wonderful exchange on this point in the last book of his "Sword of Honour" trilogy, published as Unconditional Surrender in the UK and The End of The Battle in the US.

The protagonist's estranged wife, a society tramp named Virginia now on hard times, is having dinner in a restaurant (and slightly flirting) with his Uncle Peregrine, a sixtyish confirmed bachelor and total bore:

'You're not homosexual?'
But there was something about Virginia's frankness which struck him as childlike and endearing.
'Good gracious, no. Besides the "o" is short. It comes from the Greek not the Latin.'
'I knew you weren't. I can always tell.'


Interestingly on this Greek/Latin distinction going the other way as well: Henry Fonda as the uneducated Okie Tom Joad in 1941's THE GRAPES OF WRATH has it exactly right when he pronouces the crime they sent him up for as "HOMO-cide", leading one to believe that as late as the war years most people may have had a better instinctive knowledge of both word roots.

Are there any other homo-phonic (!) coincidences in both classical languages that cause regular confusion the same way as Latin 'homo' (man) and Greek 'homo' (same)?

Anonymous said...

Gay inclined males are more likely to marry for status than looks, thereby resulting over time in gay genes being concentrated among the upper class. A classic uk example is archibald primrose, 5th earl rosebery, who married the obese and famously unattractive heiress to the British Rothschild fortune. He died worth 67 million pounds or more than a billion in current us dollars and served as a Liberal PM.

Charlesz Martel said...

No, it's true . A friend of mine was expelled from Eton for being caught with a girl in his room (Eton was men only), while homosexual relations between 6th formers and Masters were winked at. Ditto stories from WW2 from Brits of that generation. They all considered it"situational homosexuality", like "Gay until Gradyation" in American women's colleges. This was all around 40 years ago.

Anonymous said...

It's modern gays who are trying to draw a bright line between gay/straight. Plenty of guys made do in situations where there were no women, and reverted back to normal life when women arrived.

None of that means we should accept gay marriage.

Justthisguy said...

Robert Graves, in his autobiography, said that his experience at a great English boys' school messed him up for "woman love" when he eventually got married.

Henry Canaday said...

One of Churchill’s better quips: A notoriously queer labor politician had finally gotten married, for appearance’s sake, to an extraordinarily ugly woman. Churchill is supposed to have said, “buggers can’t be choosers.”

Prof. Woland said...

I have been working on a pet theory for about 20 years now on why organized vocal gays always support the left. Searching my memory banks, I recall that Machiavelli wrote in the Prince that small nations that exist next to larger more powerful nations rarely do well by staying neutral. They don’t win the friendship of their more powerful neighbors or any potential supporters / rivals of that are out there and they receive no mercy once conquered. They are just a power vacuum that has to be filled. At 2% of the population, gays are a distinct minority and nothing will ever change that including immigration, religion, or education. In fact, that could conceivably shrink if the breeders ever figure out how to screen for the gay gene. It is as if they have consciously chosen to take the most extremely vicious partisan approach to politics to keep from being subsumed by the greater world around them. My two cents.

Anonymous said...

Homintern was originally coined to describe the coterie of homosexual communist poets and their 'committed' (ie. Soviet apologist) writing of the 1930s.

It was a sharp barb aimed at Auden and his friends. I guess WH turned out to have a sense of humour if he used it himself later on.

Anonymous said...

Lot of talk here about a gay gene. I thought consensus had moved away from a gay gene theory?

Anonymous said...

Gay inclined males are more likely to marry for status than looks, thereby resulting over time in gay genes being concentrated among the upper class.

This is foolish.

Udolpho.com said...

"Lot of talk here about a gay gene. I thought consensus had moved away from a gay gene theory?"

"Gay gene" is a very naive concept, but you got tons of naive HBDisms from Sailer readers. Lots of college students excited about this new idea that everything is genetic, I assume.

It's very unlikely that homosexuality--unlike nearly every other trait--is "entirely genetic" (even hair color and height are not "entirely genetic").

Much of what went on in the English public schools would now be classed as sexual abuse a la the Catholic priest scandal--well, maybe not, the English have always been at least half-queer. It gets expressed in their pomposity and puffy arrogance. But I think that's cultural--perhaps even related to how they still formally subjugate themselves before an inbred family.

Dutch Boy said...

Churchill also commented about a homosexual Labor MP whom he disliked that the fellow "would give sodomy a bad name."

pat said...

We all know that homosexuality is entirely genetic and has nothing to do with environment whatsoever

Speak for yourself Assistant Village Idiot.

Dean Hamer believes that but no one believes in Hamer. Rather the opposite. Almost every informed person believes Ewald and Cochran. The incidence and the selection disadvantage of homosexuality are just to large for it to be the result of point mutations. Nor is it aneuploidy, because then it would be seen under a microscope.

The intelligent layman these days is reduced to being a kind of "creationist". They don't know what to think about what causes homosexuality. So by default they fall back on "God's will".

Or they say it's a choice. Gingrich said just this recently. This is an odd assertion since no one has ever observed a teen age boy rationally considering the pros and cons of straight versus gay.

Constantine wanted a state religion. He chose Christianity. Later Mongol rulers chose Islam. We choose religions since the Treaty of Westphalia. But no one chooses their sexual orientation. It just happens to you. Everyone with a moment's reflection will realize that. But you still hear homosexuality described as a lifestyle choice.

It isn't genetic and it isn't free will. I am promulgating the notion that it's a T.Gondii infection of the mother. People dispute my right to hold an opinion without what they deem to be proper credentials but no one so far has ever disputed the evidence. I seem to be the only guy around with a theory at all.

Albertosaurus

Honeysuckle said...

Yeah, what's with the gene talk? In a Sailer post?? Gregory Cochran, your attention is needed at this thread.

It's not genetic. Probably biological, but not genetic.

Anonymous said...

It isn't genetic and it isn't free will. I am promulgating the notion that it's a T.Gondii infection of the mother. People dispute my right to hold an opinion without what they deem to be proper credentials but no one so far has ever disputed the evidence. I seem to be the only guy around with a theory at all.

Actually people have talked about the gay germ theory for a long time. You're not the first person to think it up. You don't even have a theory. You're just claiming it's a specific kind of infection (T. Gondii).

TGGP said...

For some reason I just assumed the genetic commenter was being sarcastic. That's the problem with reading text over the internet.