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JSPES, Vol. 40, No. 3 (Fall 2015)
pp. 289–301

March of the PeeWOCs: ‘Queer Theory,’ Its Origins and Implications

Dwight D. Murphey

Wichita State University, retired

Within the past 25 years, major universities in the United States have introduced academic disciplines called “Queer Studies” and “Queer Theory.” The use of the erstwhile shocking word “queer” serves the predominantly far-left academic community in two ways: it is a “poke in the eye” for a long-detested mainstream culture, and it exemplifies what the theory itself calls for – the reformulation of language as the primary tool by which to undercut the existing sense of what is “normal” and thereby to substitute words that are “socially liberating” and will lead to a “new consciousness.” In this article, we will examine the “queerity” movement as it exists in academia; will trace its origins within the Left as far back as Rousseau; and will discuss the power of these ideas in guiding the worldview of the American opinion elite. This will provide occasion to examine a fault line that, though rarely remarked upon, sharply divides the American people – the distinction between “People Whose Opinions Count” (for which we will introduce a Dr. Seusslike noun, “PeeWOCs”) and the tens of millions of people who, though they often hold passionate opinions, stand outside the hallowed ground of “political correctness.”