June 07, 2006

Am I bothered? Do I look bothered?

The BBC Board of Governors okayed the use of the word "gay" to mean "rubbish":
"The word “gay” now means “rubbish” in modern playground-speak and need not be offensive to homosexuals, the BBC Board of Governors has ruled.
A listener complained after Chris Moyles dismissed a ringtone by saying on his Radio 1 breakfast show: “I don’t want that one, it’s gay.”
The complainant argued that the use of the word gay in this context was homophobic. The governors said, however, that Moyles was simply keeping up with developments in English usage.
and the gay guardians are up in arms about it:
"Troubling? Absolutely. Whenever someone outside a cultural group adopts such a charged term to apply a derogatory meaning, it's a step backward. There's plenty of debate within minority communities – whether gay, black, or physically disabled – on whether offensive words should even be used within their community, let alone by anyone else. But an outsider throwing around "gay" to mean something patently unsavory — because "young people" deem it okay? We shouldn't even have to raise the argument about anyone but people of color using the word "nigger."
Oh dear, precious queens up in arms about cultural appropriation. How deliciously ironic after all those protestations over the last 50 years by heteros shocked by the redefinition of the word to mean something not quite what they envisaged the word to mean.
I've never liked the word gay to describe my particular passion, because it always sounded so innocuous, so bland, so white picket fenced and completely out of step with my particular tastes, smells, sounds and vision in man on man action. So I have no particular problem with the re-definition: language use will always evolve and it will involve fashions among the young and brainless which no-one should be upset about.
The "nigger" analogy doesn't compute, helas, because that is about the appropriation of the insulting term by the targeted minority (as queer is). "Gay" has outlived its usefulness and should in future only be used to denote a marriage arrangement that isn't "sad" (i.e. heterosexual)

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