Blogger claims school fired him for post about homophones

A Utah social media specialist says a Language Center believed that writing about words that sound the same but are spelled differently associated the school with a gay agenda.

homophone.png
It seems this didn't help. Fox13 screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Tim Torkildson insists that, funnily enough, the language school he used to work for minded his language to an absurd degree.

Torkildson's role was as a social media specialist. He blogged about fascinating language matters such as when to split your infinitive or leave it clenched, and where to use a colon or keep it from public view.

Naturally, I pulled those examples out of my, um, imagination. However, he says that one post in particular bothered his boss so much that he was dismissed.

As Fox 13 in Salt Lake City, Utah reports, Torkildson wrote an ode to the homophone. Because Technically Incorrect readers all have advanced degrees, they will know that a homophone is a word that sounds the same as another word, but is spelled differently.

Torkildson insists that his boss told him that merely using the word 'homophone' associated the Nomen Global Language Center with, you know, homosexuality.

Torkildson told Fox13 of his boss: "He was now afraid that people would associate Nomen Global with some kind of gay agenda. That was his fear. And he expressed his frustration to me very clearly. He just said, 'This particular blog is the last straw.'"

It may, indeed, have been the straw that broke the camel's back. For Torkildson acknowledged there had been previous issues with his posts.

Some might find it odd, though, that a language school should get its underwear in quite such a pretzel over, well, entirely inoffensive language.

The school released a statement that read: "Mr. Torkildson was fired for cause. Nomen Global does not have an anti-gay agenda, nor do we discriminate against anyone. We have had 6,500 students in the last 15 years from 58 countries. We do not discriminate."

If this is true, why remove the homophone post from its Web site, as the school has done? Torkildson insisted that it had no jokes, not even the merest innuendo.

On his personal blog, he explained that this was a "minor misunderstanding." He added, though, some helpful information about the comments he's been getting since his story appeared.

His former boss's name is Clarke Woodger. Now, says, Torkildson: "There is now a movement afoot to turn the last name of my former employer, Woodger, into a noun and/or verb. To be woodgered; to be a woodger; to go woodgering."

Yes, once upon a time men called Roger thought they were safe. And we know what happened there.

Torkildson believes his own personal brush with fame will wane. He wrote: "By next Monday I'll be Stale News, and nobody will remember a thing about me or my story. It's all just a flash in the pan." Be careful how you use the word "flash" there, sir.

However, if the school truly is one that doesn't have an anti-gay agenda, it has inadvertently embraced one by firing Torkildson and removing the post.

Sometimes, it isn't the words that expose us. It's what we do after the words are said.

 

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