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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Butt boy vs. faggot

Posted by: Hammer / 9:31 AM

The Big Question poses a good one. If Ann Coulter deserves to be criticized for calling John Edwards a "faggot", what about Al Franken calling Norm Coleman Bush's "butt boy"?

I don't know the origins of the term "butt boy". If someone wants to offer me a grant, I'll look into it. It's worth noting that the Urban Dictionary defines "butt boy" thusly:

A servile underling. Especially one who is also a sycophant. A suck up or brown-noser. Synonymous with "toadie" or "stooge." A butt boy does his Master's dirty work.

So, it's possible that "butt boy" could simply invoke ass-kissery, a phenomenon that knows no sexual orientation.

Let's leave that aside and assume that "butt boy" is a form of derogatory slang for gay men in the same way that "faggot" is. Is there a defense for a radio talk show host calling someone a "butt boy"? No, not really. There certainly isn't a defense for a U.S. Senate candidate calling his opponent a butt boy, either. But is it hateful?

In the pantheon of Ann Coulter's hateful rhetoric, calling John Edwards a "faggot" was pretty tame stuff compared to calling President Clinton a rapist and advocating the death of the staff of the New York Times. It's another piece of evidence that Coulter is venomous beyond bounds. Of course, it's that venom that makes her popular.

The distinction here is critical. Coulter is famous and celebrated because she calls Democrats fags. If Franken unseats Norm Coleman, it will be in spite of his "butt boy" comment.

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