You are so
One good, one not so good.
Because I’m the last person to be picked up and the first to be dropped off, I sit at the back. Sitting at the back means that I’m able to really settle down into doze-mode without having to endure the swaying and listing that comes from sitting at the front in the passenger’s seat. This is a good thing, in case you're wondering.
Listening to the radio has changed because Lifter 2 listens to BBC’s Radio 1, a contemporary music programme hosted by chatty, snappy, chirpy, crappy DJs. So, every other day, I’m regaled with the sometimes amusing, often annoying voice of Chris Moyles instead of the soothing sounds of Radio 4’s Eddie Mair or John Humphrys.
Not being a Radio 1 listener means that until Lifter 2 came on to the scene, I’d not heard Chris Moyles before even though I’d heard about him before. The inflated salary, his popularity with the under 30s, his clever wittiness, the in-your-face style often bordering on rudeness, the gaffes such as the one where Halle Berry accused him of being a racist. But, not having heard the specific program in question, I’d have missed the recent furore about his use of the word ‘gay’ to mean ‘lame’ or ‘rubbish’ had I not read about it on several blogs that I read.
In response to complaints about his use of the word, the BBC Board of Governors have come out in support of him saying that his use reflects contemporary use of the word amongst today’s youth. Gay rights and Anti-bullying organisations have decried this support saying that were the word to signify another minority, eg blacks, instead of gays, they'd not have supported it. And although they know that it’s used by today’s teenagers to signify ‘lame’, often unthinkingly as regards the homophobic connotation, supporting that interpretation sends the wrong message to the youth where school bullying of gays isn’t uncommon and where allowing a derogatory interpretation of the word may contribute towards the negative self-image many young gays have of themselves.
I’ve heard my daughter use the word in that way and seen how surprised she looked when my son pulled her up about it. She’d used it unthinkingly, oblivious to how it could be offensive to gay people.
Uroskin has this to say about the issue:
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 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, 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)
Lubin says this:
It's hard enough to get through your teens when you're gay - but at least when I was growing up, "gay" just meant fancying people of the same sex. Now there is no word which means that and has a positive association. We no longer have a word left that isn't tainted in some way ("homosexual" has a criminal-medical-condition etymology, we can discount the hundreds of words like "faggot", "batty-boy" and "puff" which are straight-forwardly derogative and even the reclaimed "queer" is still used negatively by many people). How are gay people supposed to forge a positive self-image it there are no good labels?
Uroskin is mostly right when he says ‘language use will always evolve and it will involve fashions among the young and brainless which no-one should be upset about’ but so is Lubin when he says ‘now there is no word which means that and has a positive association’. While it may be impossible to change the development of meanings in the language, I’d venture that it’s really not a good thing for the BBC to defend the use of the new meaning of ‘gay’ while there isn’t an alternative word that doesn’t have a negative connotation.
It seems strange that the BBC, often accused of pandering to the PC police, should take this stance on the use of ‘gay’. Despite being a great fan of the BBC, I shouldn’t be surprised as their obsession with World War II has definitely contributed towards the anti-German sentiments in this country. Sentiments that have increased in recent years rather than having subsided as World War II fades away.
How strange that I should be ‘forced’ to listen to Chris Moyles just as this controversy has come about.