Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Everyone's talkin' about chickenhawkin'

Recently, some people over on the conservative side of the web have decided to rehabilitate the term “chickenhawk”. You see, they’ve long been annoyed that many of their ideological opponents have dismissed them with that insult, so they want to turn it around and wear it as a badge of honor. It’s understandable, I suppose, but still I’d like to urge them to reconsider this strategy before it’s too late. Call me a flaming liberal sissy if you must, but I simply care too much to let a group of earnest innocents go down a road that may bring them only shame and dismay.

Let me explain: the designation “chickenhawk”, as it’s understood on the internet nowadays–a combination of “chicken” (in the “scaredy-cat” sense) and “hawk” (meaning “pro-war”)–is relatively new. I don’t recall running into it before the Iraq War, although perhaps it goes back further than that. The older, non-ornithological definition of the word, of course, comes from the gay scene and means “a creepy older homosexual who seduces much younger, often underage, boys”. I assume that at least a few conservative bloggers are aware of this, but it doesn’t seem to have stopped hordes and hordes of them from boldly flying their new flag.

If I were them, I’d worry that people might get the wrong idea. I’m not them, though, so I won’t get too bent out of shape about it. If they want to call themselves names, they can call themselves names. That’s the magic of America. But, still, they ought to at least consider that maybe, just maybe, the older slang will outlast the Bush-era version, leaving them with a lot to explain when their grandchildren find out they were once proud members of a chickenhawk society.