Jeff Flake

‘Negative Connotation’?

You got to love when people out-speak themselves.  Seems Arizona Congressman Jeff Flake, explaining why he spent a week on a deserted island, said, "I’ve felt like a pansy, I guess, and this made it feel like I was actually doing something again."

When I fist read about his adventure, I thought, OK, not my cup of tea, but hey, whatever floats your boat.  Besides, I admired him for going there with virtually no food, though he did bring salt and pepper, which I thought at least showed a little refinement.  (If he brought thyme, basil, oregano and capers, I would have really been impressed.)  He caught fish to survive.

So then somebody raised an issue about his use of the word “pansy.”  Was it Ben Smith of Politico?  He had a piece on this headlined “Flake apologizes for ‘pansy’ remark.”

Why apologize?

"Pansy" can be used as a (somewhat dated) slur on gay men, and the comment raised some eyebrows for that reason. [Editor’s Note:  Whose eyebrows?  Smith’s?]

Flake’s spokesman, Matt Specht, emails that he didn’t mean it that way.

Well, I’m “outdated” enough to recall the use of the word to refer to gays.  (Hell, I’m old enough to remember when gay meant having a good time.)  But really, apologize?  Well, Specht doesn’t just dig the hole deeper.  He employs a backhoe.

"Congressman Flake didn’t realize that that word can have a negative connotation. He simply meant ‘wimpy.’ He apologizes if anyone took offense to it," Specht writes.

Flake, who one might say lived up to his name by his week-long stunt, wasn’t referring to gays when he employed the term.  He was talking about himself not “actually doing something.”  But he wasn’t referring to himself as gay – because that would be “negative”?!

Oy vey. (Oh, sorry, I apologize.  I’ll have my spokesman email a statement that I didn’t mean to be anti-Semitic.)