July 22, 2003
REPUBLICANS FINALLY STAND UP FOR GAY RIGHTS!....Fox News reports that Republicans — well, "one Republican" anyway — is outraged over Pete Stark's homophobic outburst last week:
little fruitcake, you little fruitcake, I said you are a fruitcake,'"
[Rep. Kenny] Hulshof, R-Mo., read from the unofficial transcript.
Stark directed the word — considered by some to be a gay slur — at
Republican Rep. Scott McInnis, who is married and by all accounts not
Republican sources also claim that during the chaotic scene in the
committee, Stark fired another gay slur in the direction of Chairman
Thomas. The word is too vulgar to print in full, but the last half of it
Now, one Republican wants to know where is the outrage at the Democrat for his seemingly intolerant remarks.
please. Everybody knows that "cocksucker" is just a codeword that
allows baseball managers to be ejected from games. And "fruitcakes" —
well, those are the guys with the tinfoil hats, which seems to be a
fairly accurate description of Bill Thomas, the guy it was directed at.
In fact, apparently even Republicans are now "quietly whispering" that
perhaps Thomas is something of a fruitcake.
And who is this Republican who's so eager to see a gay slur in all
this? Why, none other than Palm Beach congressman Mark Foley, who, as
we all know, is a wee bit sensitive about the proposition that being gay is a slur. Time to get a new schtick, congressman....
Posted by Kevin Drum at July 22, 2003 03:13 PM
What crap! I've heard gays called, "fruits"--I've never heard of
them being called "fruitcakes." It reminds me of the DC official who
got in trouble for using the word, "niggardly."
If you ask me, Foley is nuttier than a .... :-)
It seems like a homophobic slur to me, and if the party affiliations
were reversed, all us lefties would probably be upset about it. But
since there is an unofficial rule that no Republican can use the word
'homophobia', since using it would affirm the right of gays to live free
from persecution, Pete Stark is probably not going to be called on his
Even if the charge is preposterous, I don't want to go into the
position of defending Rep. Stark's language. The behavior of both
parties in this sorry mess seems to be pretty appalling. It sounds like a
bipartisan knuckle-dragging session.
"And 'fruitcakes' — well, those are the guys with the tinfoil hats"
Or sock puppets.
SVM: Please. I've used the phrase "nuttier than a fruitcake" many
times. It has no anti-gay connotations at all. And "cocksucker" is
just vulgar language, like "dipshit" or "dickhead."
Besides, isn't an anti-gay slur just a bit of an odd choice to use against someone who's *not gay*?
MattK is right: it's just bad behavior from both parties, not any
kind of homophobia. However, at least it has provided us all with a
comedic interlude from Uranium-Gate.
I still wanna know what the odds were on a Dem calling a Rep a
fruitcake, and not the other way around. Ah, ain't democracy grand?
What Kevin just said. Neither term has anything to do with gays, just
as Pryor's bizarre decisions had nothing to do with Catholicism. The
GOP clearly plans to milk the victim mentality every chance they get.
What a surprise.
I'd like to know how the guy made Stark mad, but I seem readier than
most to excuse his taunting. If he were 20 years younger instead of
older, it would upset me. And the other guy calling his mommy should
definitely be played in his next CO campaign. It should go down a treat.
Well, fruit has gay connotations, whether or not the fruit are in a
cake. Saying another man sucks cock definitely has gay connotations.
Fruitcake means 'insane' or 'gay', depending on the context.
What you are saying is that insults may just be an expression of
anger, and it doesn't matter that the terms are specific to gays. And
that can be true. When Eminem calls, say, NSYNC 'fags', he may not be
saying that they actually have sex with each other. He may just be
saying that he doesn't enjoy listening to their music. But I still think
Eminem is being homophobic.
Besides, have you seen Scott McInnis? He's neat, he has a little moustache....Awww, nevermind.
I shudder to think what my grandmother thought when I said the fruitcake she gave me made me feel gay.
Anyway, Pete Stark is fair game when it comes to behavior unbecoming an elder statesman, but it's pretty ironic to call him a homophobe.
if i call someone a cocksucker, i am not implying he (or she) is gay.
just like, when i call someone a mother-fucker, i'm not implying that
they have ever been involved in an incestous relationship. cocksucker is
a generic insult.
fruitcake, on the other hand, means, basically, nuts - just like "republican"
About half the men in the choirs in which I sing are gay and I have
never, on any occasion, in any circumstance, ever heard them use the
word "fruitcake" to mean "gay". And trust me, I think I've heard every
possible codeword in the book... ;)
Sven: Guess Pete Stark is not actually a homophobe. Voting record is
what should actually determine that. But if it was Santorum that called
someone a fruitcake cocksucker, I would take it as more evidence of his
That's all I'm trying to say.
Mark Foley is a gay fruitcake.
BTW, I interviewed Scott McGinnis, a hyperactive ex-cop from the
Colorado high country, several times early in his career. I think it's
fair to characterize him as "eccentric." But one should do it in an indoor voice.
Seriously, there's no excusing Stark's behavior and there's no
spinning "cocksucker" into a quaint, old-fashioned aspersion — outside
of New Jersey, that is.
The precise analogy of cocksucker is motherfucker, as stated above.
Which has fuck all to do with incest. I'd think this is pretty
straightforward. For fruitcake, I could imagine a very tenuous case
being made, were it not for the fact that it self-evidently means crazy.
That's what it means. So, if I say "put it in the trunk", it's possible
that I'm referring to an elephant's trunk. But, you know, I'd have to
have an elephant. SYM, I think you need to mellow out, or you're going
to start worrying when people talk about buying fruit.
Thinking about it, my own argument convinced me of the opposite.
Stark's message is that the other guy is a wimp. It's a taunt. How does
calling him crazy do that? So I now agree with SYM that the exchange has
a subtext. But I don't think it's in the dictionary semantics.
And it's also true that the word "cocksucker" has no business whatever
in the House. He should be censured or cautioned or whatever.
Now 'fess up... How many of you are participating in this thread just
because you get to say "cocksucker" in a discussion blog and not get
Even if it were homophobic, he would get a pas- remember the attacks
on Lyndsey Graham in 2002, or the Max Baucus attacks on his opponents.
Only republicans can be homophobic or racist- didn't you guys get the
BTW, HEre is what Stark said besides fruitcake:
When asked later if he also aimed a vulgar, anti-gay slur in the
direction of Thomas, Stark said, "I'm certain that at some point in the
last year I called Chairman Thomas a ' ****sucker,' but not last
But five sources have confirmed to Fox News that they heard Stark
call Thomas that "sucker" word at Friday's meeting -- and another choice
term that can't be cleaned up for print.
As for Thomas' behavior, Democrats want an apology to ranking
committee Democrat Charlie Rangel and assurances that Republicans will
work with the minority in a more bipartisan manner in the future.
Stark is a raving asshole, and always has been. But he is a Democrat, so he can't be that bad, right guys?
1. Kevin, Stark called McInnis a fruitcake, not Thomas.
2. I'll be blogging this myself soon, hopefully -- Stark has an
incredibly long history of picking up the nastiest slur handy for
whomever is in his way.
"How many of you are participating in this thread just because you
get to say "cocksucker" in a discussion blog and not get booted?"
Me! Me! Me!
"And it's also true that the word "cocksucker" has no business
whatever in the House. He should be censured or cautioned or whatever."
Actually, while I'd agree that it has no business on the floor
of the House during business hours, it's pretty much a given that in
any given group of men (and I'm being slightly sexist here, but I'm
fairly confident on this one), given enough time, the word "cocksucker"
is going to be tossed out, especially when tempers get inflamed. It's
just the way it works. I suspect that such words are thrown about more
often than we know; this one just got blown up because it escalated into
a full scale shouting match and the Republicans called the police (plus
the conservative press is desperate to distract people from the
Niger/Uranium - hmm. Now that I think about it, Stark should have called
him a "yellowcake").
I wouldn't say that "fruitcake" is never used to imply that
someone is gay but it sure isn't used much. I've certainly never heard
it used and I've heard just about every gay reference and insult in the
As for "cocksucker," as already noted, it is frequently used as an
insult in all sorts of situations, most of which have nothing to do with
The gay issue here is a red herring that I predict will die a quick
death. If you want to censure the guy for cussing, fine, but personally
I think you should be censuring the guy who tried to ram through a bill
without letting members read it and who called the police to evict the
Democrats from a room where it was perfectly appropriate for them to be.
I regard these offenses as far more egregious than the harmless
epithets tossed by the elderly gentlemen.
MattK: "Now 'fess up... How many of you are participating in this
thread just because you get to say "cocksucker" in a discussion blog and
not get booted?"
Curses, foiled again!
John Cole: "But he is a Democrat, so he can't be that bad, right guys?",
etc. John, you really should read the thread before you comment, you'll
look less silly (this time).
How many of you are participating in this thread just because you
get to say "cocksucker" in a discussion blog and not get booted?
oh yeah. :)
This is same Bill Thomas that had a sports writer fired awhile back.
Rep. Bill Thomas was unable to take the criticism of a sports
reporter from the LA Times. He got the man fired from his job because he
made the mistake of sending the critical letter from his office email
account instead of his personal. Free speach for Mr. Thomas but forget
And Mother Jones' Nominates Thomas for Sex in Congress Award And the winner is .... my Congressman! It seems that Thomas is one those Republican who can't keep his fly zipped.
Rep. Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) was outed for having an affair with
Deborah Steelman, a health care lobbyist who routinely had business with
Thomas' health care committee and steered huge campaign gifts to
Thomas' war chest. Steelman, now a vice president for Eli Lilly, did not
deny the affair; rather, she was enraged that anyone would think having
sex with Thomas gave her undue advantage: "To suggest I would stoop to
an 'inappropriate relationship' to achieve legislative results is
repugnant and sexist.
Here'some more stuff as Villagenews is keeping a record on this Thomas.
"Well, fruit has gay connotations"
In retrospect, I probably should have rephrased that.
Just to be clear, I don't think Stark should be censured or whatever;
given what the Republicans were doing at the time, I would have probably
used stronger language. But the homophobic subtext is there. I think
gay organization Human Rights Campaign has the right idea:
"I think Congressman Stark's use of the word, he probably regrets
having used it. I think he meant nothing by it, but I think in the 2003
context, it's probably a poor choice of words. But it's also important
to note that Congressman Stark is one of the gay community's staunchest
allies," said Winnie Stachelberg, political director of the Human Rights
Now 'fess up... How many of you are participating in this thread just
because you get to say "cocksucker" in a discussion blog and not get
Personally, I just enjoy using the word fruitcake.
Now 'fess up... How many of you participating in this thread have actually sucked cock?
Hum di dum...
I'm not sayin' nothin'.
How many of you participating in this thread have actually sucked cock?
Now, there's a thread-stopper.
None of your business what me and my husband do at night. (*saunters off whistling innocently*)
David, Molly - does it count if that question caused me to start participating in the conversation?
Crank: right you are. McInnis was the fruitcake and Thomas was the cocksucker.
Hard to keep straight....
One shouldn't deny the fact that some Democrats aren't below using
anti-gay slurs as an attempt to denigrate their opponents. The 2002
senatorial elections in Montana and South Carolina are perfect examples.
That said, as far as I'm concerned (and more than a few people on the
NYTimes gay pride board concur), the Republicans in congress trying to
use the Dem's use of "fruitcake" as an anti-gay slur is more than a bit
of chutzpah. (Calling him a "Fruit" would be a slur--not
"fruitcake"--as in "nuttier than a fruitcake.") Particularly given the
fact that the vast majority of congress people who have signed onto one
of the most anti-gay pieces of legislation in years--the federal
marriage amendment--are Republicans
"The 2002 senatorial elections in Montana and South Carolina are perfect examples."
There was absolutely nothing homophobic in the Montana campaign (S.
Carolina is a different story). As a gay myself, I reject any
suggestion that showing somebody in a leisure suit implies that they are
the vast majority of congress people who have signed onto one of
the most anti-gay pieces of legislation in years--the federal marriage
Speaking of same-sex marriage - of Stark and Foley, only one voted
for DOMA, and it wasn't Stark. Foley's got no business criticizing
Stark for being anti-gay when Stark's got a better record than Foley on
I'm just pissed it went no further. When's the last time we had a good cane beating in the Senate? 1856?
Ah, those were the days...
>>How many of you participating in this thread have actually sucked cock?
I guess that makes me a lesser man here, huh?
I'm from SC and the campaign against Lindsay Graham never made
anything of the fact that he is gay. To start with, Alex Sanders is too
much of an old-school gentleman for such crapola, and secondly, the
Sanders campaign couldn't help being aware that while the redneck
Southerner might hesitate for a moment over Graham's (very discreet,
perhaps even celibate) sexuality, the fair-play Southerner would have
been energized and outraged by an attempt to splash it into the
campaign. Furthermore, the redneck and the fair-play Southerners are
often the very same people.
Julia, nobody says Sanders called Graham gay, or even that Graham IS
gay (news to me). What was homophobic was Sanders' comments after
Giuliani made a campaign commercial supporting Graham:
"He's [Giuliani] an ultra-liberal. His wife kicked him out and he
moved in with two gay men and a Shih Tzu. Is that South Carolina values?
I don't think so."
Are Shih Tzus banned in South Carolina?
">>How many of you participating in this thread have actually sucked cock?
"I guess that makes me a lesser man here, huh?"
Julia, that question was posed by David Ehrenstein, and I doubt he
thinks that makes anyone a lesser man (incidently, my hand is raised,
"Are Shih Tzus banned in South Carolina?"
It does sound a bit like Sanders was Santoruming, doesn't it?
Again, it should be noted that despite his rhetoric, Sanders was the
more supportive of the two candidates. To quote the HRC endorsement:
"As a judge, he made case law and gained significant media coverage for
granting custody of a child to its lesbian mother, over the objection of
the heterosexual father. As college president, he instituted a
non-discrimination policy that included sexual orientation. He also
supports ENDA and the hate crimes bill, has a firm understanding of
HIV/AIDS issues and is pro-choice."
Graham, on the other hand, has taken the opposite stand on every issue at every opportunity.
"There was absolutely nothing homophobic in the Montana campaign. As a
gay myself, I reject any suggestion that showing somebody in a leisure
suit implies that they are gay!"
I'm gay, too, and expressed the same opinion on several political
message boards. I mean, no self-respecting gay guy would have been
dressed like the fellow in the ad in 1980.
But I was chastized by the straight posters--the ad made the guy look
a little foppish, which in more than a few straight peoples' eyes would
Actually, I wonder how the gay guys in the Bravo show Queer Eye for
the Straight Guy look. I can't get the show, but from reports I've
heard I would expect them to be a bit, well, 2003 foppish.
"Graham, on the other hand, has taken the opposite stand on every issue at every opportunity."
Maybe he's compensating. Doesn't he have a rather--uh--interesting
living arrangement? I had read that he was living with his male chief
Actually, I had also something similar about John Kasich when he was in Congress. Saving on living expenses, I guess.
"Saving on living expenses, I guess."
Sure. Like Cary Grant and Randolph Scott.
Yeah, "fruit" means gay, "fruitcake" means nuts, on this point there
there can be no argument because it is written in stone. Basalt,
specifically. And interestingly enough, it's not carved into the stone, rather some huge basalt boulders are arranged to spell it all out... somewhere in alaska.
"Cocksucker"... I've called plenty of people cocksucker in my life,
what with adolescence and all, and it was not equal to simply calling
them "fag", which I gave up around 16 or so. There's an argument there,
but usually cocksucker is just an insult, not an implication.
I've always considered being called a "good cocksucker" to be something of a compliment.
good cock sucker is something abnormal to hear in the walls where people are meant to make serious politics
Don't give up, you are close.
John Bradford, Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins
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