I really don't understand why homosexuals are now called "gay," since the whole debate about the subject is so dreary and so unnecessary.

Here's how absurd it's gotten: There's this sleazy whisper campaign by some political opponents of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan who are slinking in the shadows of the low road and spreading the rumor that she's ... well, you know ... a lesbian.

For starters, let me be clear. I don't give a damn if she prefers the intimate company of other women ... couldn't care less. But her friends have been popping up all over to "defend" Kagan as hetero. They feel compelled to, because it would be naïve to think that most are blasé about the matter, no matter how much it really doesn't matter.

On either side of the straight-and-narrow-minded line there are those who go bonkers. There are the defenders of the faith who use words like "abomination" when they talk about same-sex sex. They believe it's a one-way ticket to Hell.

As a defense mechanism, some of those on the "alternate" side cross the line with many of their public pronouncements. Witness the Newsweek critic who insists that actor Jonathan Groff, who is a self-outee (remember when that referred to belly buttons?) shouldn't be playing a part in the TV show "Glee,” where his love interest is a — GASP — female!

The critic Ramin Setoodah, who is defiantly uncloseted himself, believes Groff is "too queeny" for the role. Coulda fooled me, which, by the way, is kinda what an actor does. Who knew? More importantly, who cares?

Personally, I have a "Won't ask, please don't tell" policy. In other words, I'd rather be oblivious about the private parts of even the most public lives. At least the irrelevant private parts.

All this attention is really the manifestation of bigotry from people who are still fighting for their same old missionary positions from the Dark Ages.

We in the media jump all over this stuff because it's simple-minded and titillating. (And don't get me started on that word.)

Visit Mr. Franken's website at www.bobfranken.tv.