This post is gay…

People always complain about stuff. They always find things to complain about, even when they don’t really have anything to complain about. I have nothing to complain about so I am going to complain about all the people complaining. Meta-Complaining is what I call it.

In this meta-complaint I am going to complain about the word ‘gay’.

I read somewhere about some gay people are being offended that people are now using the word gay as a synonym for the word lame. I repeat: Gay people are being offended that people are using the word gay as a synonym for lame. Tough luck, language evolves. Do you know what gay meant originally? It meant ‘happy’. Then the term evolved to become a synonym for homosexual. And now the word is evolving again. Well not now, it’s actually been changing since 1996 at least.

The truth is that words are evolving all the time. The meaning of the word lame has evolved too. Take a look at wikipedia’s euphemism article.

Trying to stop it is futile and political correctness is not a solution. Just deal with it!

Obviously though, what words evolve and what they evolve into (depending on the word) may be a possible reflection of that society’s prejudices. But that theory needs more than just two case studies.

But that is a different issue all together…

2 thoughts on “This post is gay…

  1. Hi Gerard,

    I agree that blindly applying political correctness is not a good idea, and artificially trying to stop language evolution is silly (e.g., in France they are very busy with replacing English words by French words).

    However, the underlying causes for changes in a language is important, in particular for the example you are giving here. Extending the semantics of a word that means “happy” to denote homosexuality is probably not offensive, rather the opposite. However, I consider it offensive to use a word that is a synonym for “homosexual” for lame or bad things.

  2. Mike:

    I agree with you, it is important. The cause of the evolution IS important as is the ‘intentions’ behind the original evolution. Unfortunately once it reaches critical mass, you can’t do anything about it. I think the most we can hope for is that society feels some shame.

    However, it’s generally gamers that user the word gay to mean lame. I am pretty sure that there are kids out there that play videogames that don’t even know what homosexual means but use the word gay to mean lame. Once the second generation gets involved all causes and intentions you had in the original evolution are a step removed. I am not sure if this makes it ok but I when it gets to this point, the users of the new word are not to blame anymore…?

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