Easley uses gay slur to praise Clinton

Yesterday Mike Easley endorsed Hillary Clinton. No surprise there, since like her, he is a "right of center" Democrat. What did stand out was in the course of his endorsement he decides to praise her while using a gay slur.

...nothing I love more than a strong powerful woman." Easley concluded his remarks saying Clinton -- "makes Rocky Balboa look like a pansy".

Clinton seemed to see nothing amiss with this remark, but then that is also not surprising to me. For the record:

1) Only bigots use words like "pansy", specifically bigots who are frightfully insecure about their own sexuality and have to denigrate others with childish taunts to feel good.

2) "Rocky" is not the metaphor you want to use for the Clinton campaign.

Apollo Creed, a black guy, beat Rocky to a pulp. Rocky lost. Intimating the Rocky was a homosexual does not change that reality. Why is it necessary to point this out to allegedly intelligent adults?


I find it VERY hard to believe

He doesn't know teh connotation of "pansy"

Very hard indeed.

Any you know what, I am pretty much through giving politicians the benefit of a doubt. With the money we pay them, and the benefits they collect, I expect better.

Hell, I DEMAND better.

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Liberalism as a badge of honor!
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George Allen didn't know what "macaca" meant

or so he claimed. It still cost him the election.

And I sure as heck had never even heard that word until that flack arose.

The point was less that he used the word than how he dealt with the hurt that arose from it. Allen tried to blow it off, essentially acting like it was the fault of the people who got offended, since obviously that wasn't what he meant.

Now, I think Easley should know that "pansy" has those connotations. I just find it difficult to believe that anyone who has lived in the South, especially of his generation, hasn't heard that at some point. But even giving him the benefit of the doubt, the point is that "pansy" is a pejorative. He may not have known exactly how offensive it could be, but he should know now. And he should apologize. That's all there is to it.

I grew up all my life hearing the word "jipped." I used this word, not knowing that it derived from "gypped," which is a slur based on negative stereotypes of the Romani, or Gypsies. I truly never knew that, and when I said in casual conversation that I had been "jipped" I certainly meant no offense. I lived in Hungary, and had Romani friends. I would never have deliberately used an ethnic slur against their people, but I didn't know it was one. Then a friend of mine explained to me the context and the derivation, and I got it. So I apologized, and I don't use that word any more - except, obviously, as an example of my own education about the power of words.

There are lots of things that don't bother me when applied to me personally. And I don't think we need to police each other constantly or be so careful that we lose the ability to talk to each other. But I do think elected officials have a responsibility to their constituents, and I do think that hate-speech is a category of language that needs to be watched carefully. We don't need to flay Easley alive for this, and we don't need to play the "guilt by association game" with Clinton (no matter how much fun it might be). But it is worth taking the time for the learning opportunity, because hate-speech should never be taken lightly. Words can hurt. If Easley gets a pass, then we send the message that homophobic insults are "no big deal," and that's not something we should be doing, period.

Sorry, I have heard this all too often

He's isn't funny. He's a bigot. The word slipped off his tongue without effort or thought. This is INGRAINED.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
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Liberalism as a badge of honor!
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Funny, Justin

I guess when you're a white breeder like us, it's easy enough to laugh it all off. I wonder though, what the little kid who gets the crap beat out of him in the 4th grade thinks about all this.

Mostly this just goes to show that Mr. Mike has pretty much outlived his usefulness in the governor's office. If Clinton is going to try to paint Obama as hating America because his preacher doesn't pull his punches, then calling out one of her endorsers as a dim-wit should be more than fair game.


Every time someone official uses a derogatory slang term like "pansy" (or anything else), it makes it okay for some damn bully on the playground to use it, or some teacher to tell some kid to "stop acting like a pansy and act like a man." What the hell?

He should know better. He should know better, especially since he's a little guy and probably had to take his share of abuse when he was growing up.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

And I can go back to the LtE section

of any NC newspaper and find similar sentiments 30+ years ago about the use of other slurs against blacks, Hispanics, women, etc. People getting upset because Jesse was talking about "coloreds".

Let's rework the remark, using what some are claiming he meant.

"Clinton makes Rocky Balboa look like a little girl".

And what, pray tell, is wrong with little girls?

Oh, right, it is something no self-respecting male wants to be, seeing as how inferior girls are to "men".

So, this woman is tougher than this man, and by contrast makes this man look like a -- woman?

Yeah, that makes it all better now.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
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Liberalism as a badge of honor!
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In all fairness

I don't know of a single girl that could have fought Ivan Drago.


I would have kicked his ass. :)

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors


But I would have. Hard. Especially today.

And great goddess help him if Casey Mann got near him. :-D

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors


Proposing to pretty much socialize US financial markets is "right of where she needs to be?"

Proposing to pretty much socialize the health care industry (yeah, I know; private insurance will still exist. But her plan redirects financial capital in the economy toward it, and she's planning to institute a number of rediculous regulations. That's central planning. That's socialism) is "right of where she needs to be?"

Having one of the most socially left platforms of a major party Presidential candidate in recent history is "right of where she needs to be?" (Not saying I disagree with her on same-sex marriage, and in fact, I would like marriage licensing to end and marriage contracting to be decentralized; but still, she's by no means socailly right.)

Wanting to maintain the traditional foreign policy of the left- aggressive interventionism (and that IS the traditional foreign policy of the left, dating back to Wilson)- is "right of where she needs to be?"

The only issues I can think of where she is "left of where she needs to be" for what I observe to be the attitude of most Democratic voters are on drugs (although, for some reason, we libertarians seem to be the only ones fighting for legalization these days. And by legalization, I mean EVERYTHING), the death penalty (I believe she's for it, if I'm not mistaken?), and civil liberties issues (Patriot Act, Real ID/National ID Card, etc.).

Personally, I view Hillary as a totalitarian. But no bother: I view Obama and McCain the same way, as well as Edwards, Romney, Giuliani, Huckabee, Biden, Hunter, Kucinich, and Tancredo before them. (Thompson was pushing it, but at least he's heard of something called federalism. Richardson and Dodd were clean.)

There is a difference between "socialize" and "regulate"

US financial markets are in serious need of regulation, as are ALL US corporations. As for "socialized health care", you say that like it is a bad thing. Mediocre health care for everyone, is far, far, FAR better than the current system off outstanding health care for 1%, and shitty health or no health care for everyone else.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
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It is effectively socialized risk.

Our financial markets are not in need of regulation. They are in need of cutting out the fundamental source of problems in credit markets such as the formation of asset bubbles, the driving of herd behavior, and moral hazard problems, which is the ability of the Federal Reserve to fix interst rates in the market and manipulate money and credit with complete discretion. (With particular focus on interest fixation, although changes in credit supply obviously affect interst rates.) The vast majority of economists on all sides agree that price fixation by the government never works and causes all kinds of distortions. Why should we expect price fixation in financial markets to work any differently when it clearly doesn't, and the cosequences are much worse than those yielded by inefficiency in other markets?

What Clinton is calling for in her mortgage bailout and regulatory plans (and, to lesser extend, what Obama is calling for in his plans) IS socialized risk. Her plan effectively amounts to bailouts for those who lose their homes regardless of credit history: in other words, if take on a lot of risk or take on loans that you can't afford or don't take steps to make sure you afford, the government will be there to bail you out. This, with her proposed moratorium on foreclosures, is suicide and is going to impose a huge risk for lenders. Regulation will only increase costs. (Sarbanes-Oxley, according to some estimates I've read, has cost the US economy $1 trillion and increased expenditures associated with being public by over 130%. The internal control test required by SoX is a tremendous joke.) If we want to prevent shenanigans from happening, we should have a good litigation system with stronger enforcement of contracts and massive liability established (hell, I'm against limited liability for corporations) to provide disincentives to do so.

I would say that what we have right now in health care IS a socialized system. The federal tax expenditure for employer-provided care (be it employer tax exemption for provision of benefits for tax benefits for consumers for joining employer pools) is in the hundreds of billions of dollars. (The last statistic I saw, it was over $450 billion in 2004. I'm sure it's vastly more than that now.) I personally would blame this alone for most of the problems in our health care system. This all started as most socialistic boondoggles do: as the result of previous socialistic boondoggle that created a huge problem for which another socialistic boondoggle was devised to resolve. I'm talking, of course, about the FDR Administrations price and wage controls of the early 40s, which they discovered was hampering employment. So what was the answer? Provide massive tax benefits for provision of health benefits and insurance. This has led to creation of monster bureaucracy, fractured the consumer-provided insurance market, made the principal-agent problems that naturally arises with third-party provision of health coverage MUCH worse, created this idiotic coupling of employment and access to health insurance. But hey! We got employment to temporarily go up!

Furthermore, Medicare and Medicaid comprise a higher percentage of GDP than most entire single-payer systems in other countries. Combining the tax expenditure for employer-provided care raises that figure tons. The federal government is directly responsible for the creation of those HMOs. We have assinine regulations such as the prevention from buying insurance across state lines (kudos to Biden for calling this out), monopoly power of Med School accredation by the AMA, regulations keeping alternative medicine either out of the market or punishing it relative to pharmaceuticals, idiotic drug patenting laws, the shutting out of Nurse Practitioners, and benefit mandates that have increased expected payouts and wasteful expenditures that are increasing costs.

I would prefer outstanding care for the vast majority of society, into which anyone can enter, to mediocre care for everyone. I think we can get there through a true free market medicine system where health insurance that truly INSURES (i.e., covers for bad outcomes, not expenditures for routine visits and procedures) and where people have the incentives to act in ways to improve their health and minimize risk. I wouldn't mind having some type of program set up to fund, say, vouchers for the uninsured who can't afford REAL insurance with a negative health externalities tax. (For example, a cigarette tax.) In my view, this would be a way of enforcing compensation of damages to others' private property.

hillaryious - she will ask Easley for advice - lol

Wow, she'll ask Easley for advice - oh boy that should turn out well

Clinton spent a lot of time praising Easley's leadership and educational programs, and said she'd be turning to him and Mary "for advice."

"I'm going to be looking to NC to be the guide for where we need to go in public education."

Easley Pansy remark hit Wikipedia

Damn, that was fast. You can read it here.

The name pansy is derived from the French word pensée meaning "thought", and was so named because the flower resembles a human face; in August it nods forward as if deep in thought. Because of this the pansy has long been a symbol of Freethought[1] and has been used in the literature of the American Secular Union. Humanists use it too, as the pansy's current appearance was developed from the Heartsease by two centuries of intentional crossbreeding of wild plant hybrids. The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) uses the pansy symbol extensively in its lapel pins and literature.

The word "pansy" has indicated an effeminate male since Elizabethan times and its usage as a disparaging term for a man or boy who is effeminate (as well as for an avowedly homosexual man) is still used. (There is a queercore musical band called Pansy Division, drawing on this association.) The word "ponce" (which has now come to mean a pimp) and the adjective "poncey" (effeminate) also derive from "pansy".

On April 29, 2008, Governor Mike Easley of North Carolina endorsed Hillary Clinton for the 2008 Democratic nomination for president, claiming that she made Rocky Balboa look like a pansy.

Only if being gay is somehow bad

The insult is that the term is used of gays disparagingly. It's like how Clinton runs from the term "lesbian" since she accused of being a lesbian. Instead of responding "Thanks for the compliment, but no, I'm not". She reinforces the view that being a "lesbian" is an insult by running from it.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Words . . .

`I don't know what you mean by "glory",' Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don't -- till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'

`But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice objected.

`When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

`The question is,' said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

`The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master -- that's all.'



I'm with JJ...

Dictionary says that "pansy" has two distinct definitions.

One is a disparaging term for homosexual. One just means a weak boy.

But I had honestly never heard it used as anything other than just plain weak. (Directed at both girls and boys.) Maybe I just don't hang out with enough people who have a rich vocabulary of derogatory words for gay...

Easley's comment

For God's sake, Rocky is a fictional character. Don't you think calling the comment a gay slur is over reacting just a bit?

No. I don't.

And frankly, with respect to my friend the Captain, who is a devoted Hillary Clinton supporter, this has nothing to do with presidential politics for me, any more, and nothing to do with Rocky Balboa, for God's sake. It has every thing to do with holding a publicly elected official (Michael Easley) accountable for what he said. He used a word that is an offensive word to many of his constituents. Words matter. They do. I swear to god they do, and this one does.

It seems inoffensive; it seems mild. Those are the ones that are the worst. They insinuate themselves into the language, and it is the child who is different who pays for it. An boy who likes music and dance is called a pansy. A girl who is athletic and muscular is called a tomboy. They can go along with the teasing, they can try to hide who they are, they can fight, or they can hide in the closet.

Adults let words like "pansy" go, because it's not 'fag' or 'homo'. It's not that bad, really. But words matter - and just because you don't want these particular words to matter doesn't make them matter less.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

New to Me, Also

I had never heard the word "pansy" to mean "homosexual". I have been following this thread and did not want to think I was super-sheltered, so I checked with several friends. They had never heard it to mean "gay men", either. Either way you look at it the quote doesn't make sense unless you take his meaning to be "weak".

That is exactly the point, micandacam

There are two interpretations of Easley's remark:

She makes Rocky Balboa look like a homosexual!


She makes Rocky Balboa look like a wimp!

The first one makes no sense and is offensive to a significant segment of our society. I can't believe any politician would utter it, especially in this day and age of people blowing every remark they can out of proportion (yes, Bluenc has entered into this realm).

The second one makes all the sense in the world for the point he was trying to make, considering that he preceded the remark with something along the lines of, I like strong women! Wimp is the opposite of strong, ergo, "Hillary Clinton is so strong, she makes Rocky Balboa look weak."

I doubt see how anybody can interpret Easley's remark in any other way.

Mmm, no, I've addressed this

Both contexts are derogatory.

The second context is not "She makes Rocky look weak", the second context is "She more manly than a man."

Yeah, that's not insulting.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
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Liberalism as a badge of honor!
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They are both derogatory


He's not even a real person!

But again, like your compadre Linda, you miss the point.

One is interpreted as a derogatory slam against homosexuals.

The other is not.

That is the whole crux of this matter. So I will ask you just like I have asked Linda, which do you think he meant?

Okay Teepack

I know he didn't MEAN it to be a gay slur. But what he meant really isn't always the point. He didn't mean to decimate the mental health system in North Carolina, but the effect is there for all to see. He didn't mean to break the law by telling his staff to destroy emails, but the erosion of trust in government is there for all to see. He didn't mean to ridicule gays, but I have three gay friends who found his "meaninglessness" offensive and out of line.

You win. He didn't mean anything. He was just being a dumb ass.

It was stupid

Then again, what do you expect from Governor Bubba?

The governor is not stupid

Easley is a lot of things, but he is far from stupid.

Not sure why you call him Bubba. He's the least "Bubba" governor we've hard in recent memory. (Well, wait, Jim Martin wasn't very Bubba, either.)

In any event, I actually expected a lot from him at one time, but have been disabused of illusions about Easley's integrity these last two years.

I hate it when I have to give up admiring someone, because having a sense of admiration for a person is uplifting. It SHORE DOES HURT though when you realize what a naive dingaling you've been. But again, that has nothing to do with his intelligence, which I'm convinced is pretty high.

I'm wondering if he thinks Hillary can win, though. Maybe it doesn't matter, since it costs him nothing to endorse her and he's still likely to reap some form of thanks for it. He might be figuring she's not going to fade into the background even if she loses this primary, so there may be some future prospects for him for which Clinton assistance is deemed useful.

It's harder to figure why Hillary thinks that his endorsement is going to help. I guess she figures it can't hurt at this point.

It's irritating to know that there's some danged definitive answer to this question that we'd all be privvy to if we were at the right megabucks fundraiser, clinking expensive crystalware with smoothly groomed fat cats.

If you look all big-eyed at 'em, they love to show off their gossip. (Important advice: never wear birkenstocks to these events -- it tips 'em off)


I forgot. No birkenstocks.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

Uncle Tom isn't a real person either

so I'm sure that if you called a black person an "Uncle Tom" they wouldn't be the least bit offended.

(Of course, Uncle Tom gets a bad rap, but I didn't imbue the term with its meaning, I just report on it).

Trying to defend "pansy" as not being a gay slur is like trying to defend "tar baby" as an innocent term for a "sticky mess". Politicians, especially ones claiming to be Democrats, should know better.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Just answer my question

Did Easley mean to say:

She makes Rocky Balboa look like a homosexual?

Or, She makes Rocky Balboa look like a wimp/weakling?

Remember, the word has two meanings, according to Dictionary.com:

3. Slang: Disparaging and Offensive.
a. a male homosexual.
b. a weak, effeminate, and often cowardly man.

So I ask you again, which meaning do you think Easley was using?

"Uncle Tom" is inherently

"Uncle Tom" is inherently offensive - it is itself a slur -and has an ugly history associated with just that term. Rocky Balboa is a fictional character who is the object (and only target) of Easley's "turrible, just turrible" denigration.

If there are multiple possible meanings, and some of them are not intended to state that Rocky Balboa, then your original post is wrong and unnecessarily inflammatory.

1) Only bigots use words like "pansy", specifically bigots who are frightfully insecure about their own sexuality and have to denigrate others with childish taunts to feel good.

Are you going to defend or disavow it? Bringing up even MORE inflammatory, yet irrelevant, comparisons (like the Nazis and "Uncle Tom"?) doesn't really enhance the logic of your argument.

I personally think it's pretty sick to use the word bigot in a public forum for emotional effect.

Rocky Balboa is not at issue. Michael Easley is.

He is a real person, who is the Governor of this state. He used a word that is accepted by documented sources as a derogatory slur towards gay men. I'm sorry that you can't see that, but that is the issue.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

And tar baby

can refer to a difficult problem. It just isn't the one that comes to most people's minds when it is used.

And it is NOT a "documented" term for whimp, the recurring word in the other definition is "effeminate".

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Do you think you're

Do you think you're justified in using the word bigot? Since we're parsing someone else's words and intentions 100+ posts-worth of carefully...

Yes, I do

The issue has been percolating for two days now with no comment from Easley.

If he does comment, it will be the standard "non-apology apology".

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
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Liberalism as a badge of honor!
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It is also accepted by

It is also accepted by documented sources as having popular uses OTHER than derogatory slurs towards gay men. (As evidenced by my Miriam Webster dictionary and the "Whaaaaa?"s of other people on the boards.)

If the phrase is equally susceptible (and in fact if all signs point towards the use for "weak") to two meanings, and one is possibly bigoted and one just a humorous insult,

1) you should probably give the Governor the benefit of the doubt before calling him a "bigot" and
2) you inherently cannot say that the term is ONLY used by "bigots," as Kosh did in his front-paged post.

THAT is the point that Kosh doesn't respond to.

In my 47 years

The term has always been used in a derogatory fashion implying homosexuality of a man behaving like a woman (because being woman is obviously a bad thing)

I have also addressed this whole "benefit of a doubt" nonsense as well.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
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In your 47 years...

I guess you've missed a few posts on liberal blogs also using "pansy" to mean "weak."

Hehe... at least two prominent BlueNC posters have previously used "Pansy" to mean "weak/wimpy/uptight." One called Liddy Dole a pansy. Nobody seemed to care until it got all caught up in the Hillary/Obama/Easley drama. But I guess they're bigots too?

Edit: Bigots who are insecure about their sexuality... yada yada yada... childish insults to make themselves feel better.

Again, the priciple dictionary definitions are

Slur: Male Homosexual
Slur: Effeminate man.

Both are insults.

Calling Elizabeth Dole a "pansy" would be incorrect in either context. I stand by my judgment of those who use "pansy" in the context used by Easley.

People's failure to understand the words they use is not a mitigating factor. We are in a written medium and as such, proper understanding of words and their meanings is required. The accepted arbiters of such disputes are dictionaries, and every one consulted (and referenced here) backs up my definition of the word.

I didn't see the posts you refer to, since if I had, I would certainly have pointed out that calling Dole a "pansy" would be wrong on several levels, starting with the textbook definition.

Oh, and "uptight"?? Not mentioned in ANY definition.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Some definitions and

Some definitions and dictionaries agree with you. (American Heritage) You are conveniently ignoring the ones that don't. (Miriam Webster - A "weak OR effeminate man or boy.")