Surfing around this morning, based on the bullying towards Michelle Bachman's husband who, according to some, has a gay accent and sets peoples' "gaydar" off. June Thomas at Slate writes:
Mark Shea picks up on what Kathy Shaidle's been writing about concerning the bullying of gay activists:
Dan Savage begins each of his “Savage Love Cast” podcasts with a rip-roaring rant—a sword of invective aimed at homophobic school boards that won’t let lesbians attend their high-school prom, hypocritical politicians, and generally despicable people. It’s a rousing start to 45 minutes of sex advice, and it’s usually right on and empowering.
This week, though, the podcast started with an attack on Marcus Bachmann’s masculinity. After a short preamble about the accuracy of gaydar (with a scientific citation, no less), Savage—whom I respect tremendously—played a tape of Michele’s* husband’s speaking voice. Bachmann has a tiny bit of a lisp—though it’s barely perceptible—and he slurs his words slightly. To Savage’s ears, it was a gay accent. Savage played the tape over and over, and reprised it several times throughout the podcast. He even did his own Bachmann impression, exaggerating the lisp and camping it up.
In other words, the man who launched the “It Gets Better Project,” an effort to stop the bullying of gay teens, was acting like a big bully. As Savage always notes, the kind of smear-the-queer taunts that can cause so much pain to young people aren’t aimed only at kids who are gay, they’re often aimed at boys who don’t live up to some mythical standard of masculinity and girls who just aren’t girly enough. I can only imagine how listeners who happen to have the kind of lisping, effeminate speech and affect that Savage was ridiculing felt upon hearing the attack.
Don't believe it? Here is Savage, fresh from bullying Bachmann's husband about his lisp, fantasizing about inflicting rape (pardon me: "hate sex" which is totally different) on his political enemies to the applause of the sort of apes who populate the audience of "Real Time".
This is a militant crusading intolerant and deeply hypocritical faith that does not hesitate for a second to deploy against its perceived enemies everything it pretends to decry.
Hate sex Rape is openly bruited and applauded. The most miserable schoolyard bullying is just part of the toolkit for these phony apostles of compassion.
So, what is a gay accent? What is gaydar? Some interesting stuff. Here's an acting coach talking about it:
Details: So I understand that you sometimes work with actors who feel compelled to sound "less gay."
Bob Corff: Well, often they are sent by a manager or a teacher—it's so interesting, because I can tell what it is. Sometimes they come in and it takes them a lesson or two before they finally admit why they're here. Which I knew the first second that they talked. But sometimes they'll just come right in and say, "Somebody said I sound gay." And sometimes they are married and straight but they sound gay, and that's not gonna work for being a leading man in Hollywood at this time.
Details: And so the manager will send them your way, in a sense, to "fix" that?
Bob Corff: Yeah, they say, "I think that's what's holding you back; I don't think that is serving you in getting the parts that you want to get."
Details: What are you hearing that sends off that signal?
Bob Corff: Okay, well, let me start by telling you what it is that sounds "straight." Straight actually turns out to be the perfect word to describe what straight guys do. It's very straight—it has no curlicues, it has no frills or any kind of melodic turns. So they say, "Hi. How are you?" It's simple, and the lines are very straight, instead of "Hi, how are yOOuu?" You know, women are much more melodic—their voices go up and they go down, and they even move their mouths more. There's a lot more animation. A straight guy just goes, "Hey—this is as much energy and animation as I'm putting out for this thing."
Details: So it's a monotone?
Bob Corff: If you're monotone, in either case, you're going to be boring. You don't have to be monotone. It's more about—you can do that straight sound, but you can't keep on starting in the same place. So if I say, "This is what I want you to do: I want you to go down the street. And then I want you to turn left," even though my voice kept going down in this very straight, direct way, I wasn't starting in the same place and ending in the same place on the scale.
Details: Then there's a narrow bandwidth of notes in a straight accent?
Bob Corff: Right. Even in the face—the mouth is very simple, the lips stay close to the teeth, and the jaw just drops down.
Details: And the gay accent?
Bob Corff: There's many levels of this. With some people there's just this little thing that's happening, and it's not much, but it's just this little tiny melody and inflection that tells you maybe there's something there. And then there's some people who are just [Slips into Charles Nelson Reilly mode] com-PLEEEET-ly doing THIIIIS, and you go, "Well, clearly, they're not even attempting to . . . " And listen, I make no judgment. I mean, I've been in show business—I did the leads in three Broadway musicals, so I've been around this all my life, and it makes no difference to me. And I don't think it should to anybody, because it's none of our business what you do in the bedroom.
Details: Of course.
Bob Corff: It's how you deliver doing your job, whatever that is.
Details: And whatever the actor's orientation, he's going to want access to a variety of roles.
Bob Corff: Exactly. See, to me, the gay sound is just like an accent. Because if somebody has an accent, there's nothing wrong with that accent, but if you come from the South or you come from New York, it limits you in the kind of roles you can play, because you can't play the brother of somebody who doesn't have that accent. So often I'll say to people, whether it's an accent from a different country or an accent from this country or having this "gay" thing, I'll say, "This is the question for you: Are you an actor, or are you English?" And then they have to answer. If being English is more important to them than being an actor, then they don't need to do it.
Details: What are some other elements associated with the gay sound?
Bob Corff: Well, a lot of times—not always—but a lot of times there is a sibilant s. I work on that with people, too. You can be a girl, you can be a guy, you can be straight or gay—what it is is that your tongue is too close to the back of your top teeth, so the air has no place to get dispersed. It just bounces into your teeth. [Lisps slightly] Can you hear it on the phone?
Details: Yes.And, some cognitive psychologists did a research experiment to see whether "gaydar" had any ability to detect sexual orientation:
Bob Corff: So this is the sibilant s, and that [Slips into an accent in which each syllable sounds like a tiny snake hissing], along with the melody of going up and dowwwn, and having these little curlicues—it's more decorative, it has more colors and stuff like that.
Cognitive psychologists from Ohio State University have completed a study that suggests people’s sexual orientation can be determined by the way in which they form vowels when they speak, reports Health Day. The study findings, which will be presented May 23 at the Acoustical Society of America meeting in Seattle, indicate that a majority of test subjects could identify which speakers were homosexual based on sound samples via telephone alone.
A phonetical devotion to gaydar
Lead study author Dr. Erik Tracy has seen the results, but he admitted to not fully understanding them.
“I’m not sure what exactly the listeners are responding to in the vowel,” he said in a news release. “Whatever this difference is, it seems that listeners are using it to make this sexual orientation decision.”
Tracy believes that the analysis of vowel sounds is part of the unconscious judging process almost everyone goes through when they first come into contact with a person whom they’ve never met. Gender, age, race and sexual orientation are all part of the daily screening process. Such colloquialisms as “gay voice” and “gay lisp” may very well be recognized by the equally colloquial sense referred to as “gaydar.”
“We are constantly speaking with people we don’t know on our phones, and just from this conversation, we might be able to identify personal characteristics about that person,” he said.
Putting a finger on gaydar
Guessing someone’s sexual orientation isn’t as simple as detecting a lisp or a higher-pitched voice. Study organizers had seven gay and seven heterosexual males record one-syllable words like “mass,” “food” and “sell,” then played the recordings for listeners. Recordings of lesbians were also included. After listening to only the first letter sound of each spoken word, participants weren’t able to determine the sexual orientation of the speakers with accuracy. However, when the first two letters were heard, listeners’ “gaydar” was accurate 75 percent of the time. As the only data used to make the determination was acoustic – and multiple trials produced similarly accurate results – luck was eliminated from the equation.
Interesting, but I would take it all with a grain of salt.