Originally Posted by lawyerdad
I don't think I understand what you're saying in the first paragraph. (I agree with the second.) One can certainly intend to insult without necessarily agreeing with the underlying rationale implied by the "insult". Certainly one who harbors no actual prejudices can make an intellectual decision to insult someone using a racist or homophobic name simply because the words will be perceived to be an insult. But necessarily, there is not "insult" to be perceived unless one is on some level buying into (or at least taking advantage of) the notion that the "accusation" is of something "insulting". For a term that implies homosexuality to be "insulting", one must be referencing a context in which homosexuality is a negative trait.
I also agree that whether certain terms of opprobrium are funny simply because of their sheer inventiveness in choice of words may be a wholly separate issue from their underlying meaning.
You just recapitulated my first point, but less concisely.
I think the inventiveness factor is the reason I appreciate any insult. Those that target sexuality are often particularly rich. Some movie references are illustrative:
"Surprise, cockfags!" (a pie-in-the-face moment in Team America
And Full Metal Jacket
Where in hell are you from anyway, Private?
Sir, Texas, sir!
Holy dogshit! Texas! Only steers and queers come from Texas, Private Cowboy! And you don't look much like a steer to me, so that kinda narrows it down!
Do you suck dicks!
Sir, no, sir!
Are you a peter-puffer?
I'll bet you're the kind of guy that would fuck a person in the ass and not even have the goddam common courtesy to give him a reach-around! I'll be watching you!
(The humor of Hartman's insults ends with the scene that follows this one.)