Language School Blogger Fired For Writing About 'Homophones'

PhilHaney by PhilHaney on Jul. 31, 2014

Tim Torkildson was a social media blogger for the Nomen Global Language Center in Utah. Nomen is a school that teaches English to non-native speakers. So Torkildson spends his days trying to get likes and shares on fun trending Facebook and Twitter topics like grammar, punctuation, and the ins and outs of “i before e except after c.”

This is a real photo of the smart guy in this story, Tim Torkilson. He still might burn the whole place down.

Recently, Torkildso decided a hot social media topic to blog about would be “homophones.” You might recall from second-grade English class that homophones are words that sound like other words, but have a different meaning such as “two” and “to.” However his boss, the owner of the school Clarke Woodger was horrified by the blog post, as he thought readers would think it has something to do with gay sex. So he promptly fired Torkildson. As Woodger himself told a local newspaper, "People at this level of English may see the 'homo' side and think it has something to do with gay sex."

Hey immigrants, are you sure you still want to come to this country and learn to speak English? You might be lumped in with seven-year olds who laugh at the word cocker spaniel.

Nice! This school will get you high!

According to Torkilson, homophobic homophone denier Woodger told him:

I had to look up the word because I didn't know what the hell you were talking about. We don't teach this kind of advanced stuff to our students, and it's extremely inappropriate. Can you have your desk cleaned out by eleven this morning? I'll have your check ready.

This one actually killed him.

Advanced stuff? Homophones are pretty basic and important to learn. Otherwise you aren’t going to know what the hell people are talking about! Am I being hard on this Pulitzer prize winner? Sure, maybe it would be forgivable if you didn't remember the exact term for “a word that sounds like another word but has a different meaning”. Fancy readin’ and writin’ ain’t for everybody! However, this guy owns a language school, where they teach people English.

Advanced "homo" stuff.

This raises so many questions. How did Woodger make it that far? Why did he decide to open a language school? Did he inherit the school? Is the school some kind of front to fool immigrants? Does Woodger want to trick people into speaking English incorrectly so people new to America won’t be able to “take our JERBS?!”? Because that’s the only thing that makes sense about a guy who owns a damn language school and doesn’t know the difference between a homophone and a homosexual!

This story is so nuts! You know, like what a squirrel eats. Nuts!

Conspiracy?

This made for what we in the business call the old “viral gold.” Slow clap for the Salt Lake City Tribune writer who came up with the title "Homophonia." So forget everything from Comic Con this week and the fact that the POTUS is being sued; in the end a lot of people all over the internets are going to be discussing homophones today. This guy is a damn social-media rock-star genius. He is getting his just deserts. Or is it desserts? Damn it!

Teach Phil Haney English on Twitter @PhilHaney