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Language School's Blogger Fired For Writing A Post On Homophones; Director Fears Association With 'Gay Sex'

from the not-a-hoax dept

Let's say you're a company and you hired a social media expert to run your social media and blogging tasks. Now let's say you want to fire that person. You need a decent reason, right? Maybe your company is just going through layoffs and that job happens to fall under the ax (though, make sure you get control of your Twitter account before dropping the blade). Or maybe your "expert" ran a tweet/response campaign that backfired as badly as it possibly could. Those are good reasons to fire your social media and blogging guy.

What's a poor reason for firing that person? How about: Well, we thought the person's post about homophones for our language school's blog might make people think we're all gay and whatnot? Yeah, that pretty much covers it.

But when the social-media specialist for a private Provo-based English language learning center wrote a blog explaining homophones, he was let go for creating the perception that the school promoted a gay agenda. Tim Torkildson says after he wrote the blog on the website of his employer, Nomen Global Language Center, his boss and Nomen owner Clarke Woodger, called him into his office and told him he was fired.
Now, I know what you're thinking: that didn't f#&$ing happen. Well, au contraire, bonjour, it sure as hell did happen. A school entirely built to teach the English language to non-English speaking immigrants in Utah fired a guy for blogging about homophones. And, just so we're clear, homophones are not telephones run by the homosexual-ati as a hotline designed to disrupt the traditional family values of 'Merica. No, homophones are words that sound alike but have different definitions, like "I" and "eye."

Torkildson's account includes some eyebrow-raising quotes of Woodger claiming not to know what homophones were, claiming that they don't teach that kind of "advanced" language study to their English language students, and worrying that the post would associate the school with homosexuality for reasons uknown to this writer. Woodger's account is different, but vaguely not so different.
Woodger says his reaction to Torkildson's blog has nothing to do with homosexuality but that Torkildson had caused him concern because he would "go off on tangents" in his blogs that would be confusing and sometimes could be considered offensive...Woodger says his school has taught 6,500 students from 58 countries during the past 15 years. Most of them, he says, are at basic levels of English and are not ready for the more complicated concepts such as homophones.
Er, so yeah. It had nothing to do with homosexuality, except it has something to do with tangents and being offensive, and they don't teach the concept of homophones to English students because it's so advanced. I'd ask you to hazard a guess what the tangents and "offensive" stuff were in these damned language posts, but you've already probably guessed correctly.

Regardless, if homophones associate a language school with homosexuality, then I guess all of us Homo sapiens are at least a little gay. Right?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    BentFranklin (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 8:59am

    Oh noes, I been drinkin' homogenized milk!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    justok (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 9:54am

    They're going to ban all Homo sapiens too

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:01am

    It's a language school. Aren't they suppose to teach the difference between "Homophones" and "Homophobes"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:04am

    homo sapiens
    I sure hope they don't find out about homo erectus...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:05am

    From this point forward, all archaeological discussion of Homo Erectus should be banned. That's twice the gay sex, right there. Homos and Erectuses as well!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:07am

    Homophones seems like a rather important subject to teach to people not familiar with the maddening oddities of the English language.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    jilocasin, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:07am

    Should have stuck with homonyms

    I guess he should have stuck with homonyms and not gone all _advanced_ with homophones.

    ;>

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:07am

    he would "go off on tangents" in his blogs that would be confusing and sometimes could be considered offensive

    This guy needs serious physics lessons.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:09am

    Re:

    It's a Phalli issue...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    Dr. Sigmund Freud (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:11am

    Sooo, tell me about your Fasha.

    Looks to be, as I like to call tit, a Freudian slip.

    Otherwise known as parapraxis, an error in speech, memory, physical action, or Human Resources policy, that I interpret as occurring due to the interference of an unconscious subdued wish, or conflict guided by the ego.

    Clearly Clarke Woodger is not able to acknolwedge and express his own repressed homo-sexual desires and urges and is lashing out due to his own inner tension, and possibly self hate.

    That is my professional opinion.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:15am

    world gone mad.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:15am

    Re:

    That's not milk!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    NoahVail (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:15am

    3 easy steps

    Step 1) Society mindlessly obsesses over sex
    Step 2) 100% of language becomes double entendre
    Step 3) People make stupid mistakes confusing sex and language

    Profit) React with indignation

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    sehlat (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:30am

    Ecch! Homo!

    That pretty much sums up Woodger's reaction.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:32am

    Eye no know weigh there tail bee four reel.

    (I know no way their tale be for real)

    I mean homophones aren't basic English or anything!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:36am

    This just reminded me of homophones. Not advanced enough ? By grade 2 I would study them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:38am

    Can't wait for Apple's new rainbow iHomoPhone...

    Hooked on homophonics?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:40am

    Re:

    Oh the irony! Are you sure this isn't and Engrish language learning center?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    A Dan (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:41am

    Reminds me of another absurd reaction

    This is similar to the ignorant reaction when some high-profile people have used the word "niggardly", but it's even more absurd since "homophone" is a word in common usage. These people should not be running a language school.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Tom Stone, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:43am

    Re: homophones

    Most people would consider this a "Sound" reason to fire someone.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Whoever, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:43am

    Homo Sapiens

    I wonder if Clarke Woodger would consider himself a member of the group "Homo Sapiens"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:43am

    "No, homophones are words that sound alike but have different definitions, like 'I' and 'eye.'"

    That's unnatural and an abomination. Aye, that's what I think.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:43am

    Homo Sapiens

    I guess all of us Homo sapiens are at least a little gay. Right?

    Don't know about you, but I'm happy it's Friday. Does that count?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    Jon Jones (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:46am

    Good job he didn't blog about Homo Erectus, he probably would have been shot at dawn.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:48am

    The truly sad part is that a person with Woodger's level of mastery of the English language could even be hired by an organization tasked with teaching people English much less rise to a level of authority with in it. If our educational system in general ever considers homophones an "advanced language concept" we are truly doomed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:52am

    Re:

    If anyone should be fired it should be Woodger due to his incompetence.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:53am

    Re:

    I totally drank homogenized milk this morning and immediately sucked a cock. Imagine how many cocks I would have sucked reading about homophones!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:55am

    Re:

    Ah I missed that he was the owner. That explains it then.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    cereal, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:55am

    PC and stupidity

    political correctness is turning everyone into idiotic socially acceptable morons. Common sense has left the building. The fear of having some group destroy a reputation that must be publically apologized for has everyone on eggshells and because offensiveness has trumped the belief in free expression, and acknowledgement that we ALL say and do stupid things has made us all emotionally retarded. Yes, I purposely said retarded. Get over it. It's not derogatory. It's descriptive.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    icon
    JWW (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 10:58am

    Onion

    This story just screams something that should have come from the onion.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    sorrykb (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 11:15am

    Re: What.

    [over an hour and a hundred tabs later] Thank you so much for linking to TV Tropes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 11:15am

    An interesting tidbit...

    The original article links to Nomen's Facebook page which appears to have disappeared. Anyone want to bet that this is due to it getting trolled once the article hit?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Scote, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 11:18am

    Re: Re:

    Well, aye fore won don't think this is a big deal. Why should there students knead too no about homophones???

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 11:28am

    Well at least there's no chance the Internet will associate the Nomen Global Language Center with GAY SEX now. GAY SEX problem averted. Because we've ensured no homophonic bloggers will be writing about the Nomen Global Language Center and GAY SEX. Right?

    Job well done!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    icon
    KeillRandor (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 11:29am

    Re:

    Considering how many people struggle to understand the difference and relationship between semantics and syntactics, and their application in language as content and grammar, it shouldn't be surprising at all...

    Having said all that, our basic recognition, understanding teaching and description of language is flawed anyway...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    icon
    Ramon Creager (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 11:29am

    Re: Re: Re:

    LOL, thanks! I needed a good laugh.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    icon
    sehlat (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 11:31am

    ET! Homophone!

    chuckles evilly

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    icon
    sorrykb (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 11:33am

    Well, au contraire, bonjour, it sure as hell did happen.
    Champs-Élysées, croissant! Champs-Élysées!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 12:14pm

    Re:

    OMG, you swallowed!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    art guerrilla (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 12:18pm

    Re:

    disclosure: better half is a 'language arts' teacher (they don't say 'english' any more) and just laughed and laughed...

    hell, our grandmonster going into 2nd grade has that listed as one of the goals on their learning for that year...

    i guess 2nd grade qualifies as 'advanced' to this yabo...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Gud won, mister homogenius....

    Wait until Woodger realizes that Utah is not as homogenous as he probably thinks...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 12:25pm

    Double strike

    OK, a director of a school that not only has no idea what "homophone" means but thinks that it's an advanced concept (I remember learning about them in about the 6th grade) is one level of stupidity.

    But this guy takes it to the next level for summarily firing a teacher who actually has mastered the basic concepts of English -- rather than actually looking into the issue or at least asking the teacher about it first.

    That director should be fired for gross incompetence.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    icon
    Kal Zekdor (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 12:46pm

    Re: Re: What.

    Wow, thanks for the warning, I almost clicked that. You've saved at least an hour of my time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Double strike

    I said that too. But apparently he's not just the director but also the owner...

    "his boss and Nomen owner Clarke Woodger..."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Al Aloisi, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 1:13pm

    HOMOPHONES

    I have a most complete list of homophones on the web. Students of English all over the world use my site to learn and use homophones correctly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Al Aloisi, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 1:17pm

    HOMOPHONES

    Visit www.homophone.com for a complete list of homophones.
    Click on a word and obtain its meaning.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 1:27pm

    Re: PC and stupidity

    Curtail the hangwringing. In this case political correctness actually would have ironically saved us from this bit of stupidity. If homophobia was considered highly unacceptable it would have prevented a firing on the grounds of sounding remotely similar to homosexual. Woodger could still come up with a stupid excuse for firing but he would have to come up with a better one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 2:21pm

    Fire the department chari, dean, and proctor/chancellor!

    They are obviously not qualified to be running a language school! They are complete and utter idiots and should not be allowed anywhere near a school!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 2:49pm

    What a PR campaign!

    We have here an owner and administrator of an English language school, neither seem a better grasp of the subject then their clients. Maybe their next endeavor will be a target shooting school, should be at least as proficient as the current school. Of course the knee jerk reaction to anything that starts with homo is classic right wing nutcase that seem to cluster in Utah by some magnetic force.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    lars626, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 2:50pm

    Careful. I've got a vocabulary and I'll use it

    This ranks right with the guy in Washington DC that got fired for using the word 'niggardly' when discussing the city's budget. Niggardly is a different way of saying 'frugal', spending carefully. The origins of the word are Swedish.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Ron, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 3:10pm

    Homophones

    I am absolutely appalled and your institution to hang its head in shame for firing someone over bloging about homophones. One would think that you have some intelligence to teach languages, but I just guess you IQ is well below normal. What a bunch of idiots you people are and ignorant beyond belief

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 3:21pm

    Re:

    Clearly the problem here is that "homophone" is almost homophonous to "homosexual". If the prefixes in the English language were less homogenous, we wouldn't have to worry about the homophony of "homophone", and then people wouldn't have to be so homophobic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Tim Torkildson, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 3:35pm

    Homophones

    You sound like you're introducing an episode of the Twilight Zone -- and maybe your are!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    icon
    NaBUru38 (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 4:55pm

    Re: Homo Sapiens

    Neither Homo nor Sapiens.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    icon
    Padpaw (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 5:08pm

    Maybe they can fire Woodger for being an idiot and therefore unable to do his job

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 7:02pm

    Re:

    For a french native, albeit canadian, this is fucking hilarious !!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Oh Noes!, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 8:10pm

    Re:

    His boss acted niggardly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    icon
    Beta (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 8:23pm

    Re: Reminds me of another absurd reaction

    The difference is that in this case the guilty parties make things worse by not apologizing for not knowing what a word meant, and in the prior case the innocent party made things worse by apologizing for knowing what a word meant and using it correctly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    identicon
    David, Aug 2nd, 2014 @ 12:49am

    Re:

    In the U.S.A., your use of "therefore" makes no sense. Most jobs require being an idiot. It's almost a prerequisite for staying in the country at all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    icon
    Sheogorath (profile), Aug 2nd, 2014 @ 12:19pm

    Isn't this an adaptation of Rule 34? "If something exists, someone will find something sexual about it."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    identicon
    Scott Enk, Aug 2nd, 2014 @ 4:37pm

    Teacher Fired Regarding Homophones

    Stooopid. People like Timothy Torkildson are only doing their job in trying to bring up the level of English used by his students and, for that matter, such ignoramuses as Clarke Woodger. This incident reminds me of cases where people have been accused of being racists or even fired for using the word "niggardly," a word of Scandinavian origin that means "stingy" and has nothing to do with race.

    Woodger and his school owe Mr. Torkildson not only his job with full back pay and then some, but also an abject and *very* public apology. Woodger's actions, not to mention his self-admitted ignorance *and* homophobia, are making him and his school, community, and state worldwide laughingstocks.

    Tell Clarke Woodger and his school what *you* think of this. Write your own comments on their blog at http://nomenglobaltoday.blogspot.com/2014/06/english-is-key-to-your-success.html?showComment=1407022 290898#c4056874921915073665.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    identicon
    tracyanne, Aug 2nd, 2014 @ 5:38pm

    Um

    Being Gay, or even thought you might be Gay, is bad, because...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    icon
    toyotabedzrock (profile), Aug 3rd, 2014 @ 3:39pm

    The boss needs to enroll in his own English for beginners course.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    icon
    toyotabedzrock (profile), Aug 3rd, 2014 @ 10:42pm

    Re:

    I do believe they prefer the myth of creation in that area.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    icon
    toyotabedzrock (profile), Aug 3rd, 2014 @ 10:48pm

    Re: Re:

    People should seek a refund given his English skills are so lacking.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Aug 4th, 2014 @ 3:21am

    Re: Re:

    If it's Utah, maybe it's just one of those diploma mills that the Christian hoam-skoolud rait are so fond of?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Aug 4th, 2014 @ 3:23am

    Re: Re:

    Considering we are discussing a useful Latin term 'homo', it's almost funny complaining that English has a lot of homo-ness...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Aug 4th, 2014 @ 3:24am

    Re: Homo Sapiens

    Only allowed to be gay on a Sunday, along with bonnie and blithe and good.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Aug 4th, 2014 @ 3:25am

    Re: PC and stupidity

    Given that this was a college claiming to be worried about 'teaching pro-gayness', I don't think they were worrying about political correctness - more about the right flavour of political wrongness.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Aug 4th, 2014 @ 3:27am

    Re: Um

    Because Utah.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    identicon
    Doris Kelly, Aug 4th, 2014 @ 7:51am

    Homophones

    Now we know why the public schools abandoned the practice of homogeneous grouping.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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