Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fascists!



I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country
that wants to impose its will on the rest of us ...
[It] is a very dangerous threat to anybody
who believes in traditional religion.

— Newt Gingrich on The O'Reilly Factor



Writer and historian Patricia Nell Warren has an article in The Huffington Post on the history of political fascism, its connections to Christianity, and how Hitler's image has been manipulated by the American right.1

But it is the irony of using the word "fascist" to refer to gays that, as a word-curious poet, fascinates me: "fascist" and "faggot" come from the same Latin ancestor, "fasces" — a bundle of sticks!2

On one lineage ("fascist"), it was a representation of power and authority taken from the Roman Empire. On the other ("faggot"), it was either something to be burned — whether witches or cigarettes — or (even more ironically) something to call a man who doesn't have the burden of a wife to carry around.3

That last sense of using the word was one I hadn't heard before.

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1. Newt Gingrich and "Gay Fascists"
2. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fasces
3. hotforwords.com/2008/01/16/faggot-a-bundle-of-sticks-right