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Is the use of the word "Gay" as a synonym for "Stupid"/"Lacklustre"/"Poor"/etc. acceptable?

 
 
Reply Mon 29 Nov, 2010 03:45 pm
I think so. I love language and am always interested when I see it evolving. Unfortunately, I am also a teacher. It's hard sometimes to know whether or not to let the use of this word go in school. In my view it's fine.

The word has already changed meaning once - gay was bright and cheerful as everyone knows. It's naive and foolish to assume we can stop it from evolving again, especially since, the majority of times we hear it in school, no homosexual connotation is intended at all.

Also, if we ban the use of gay as a synonym for lame, we have to ban lame too, right? I mean, that originally meant a physically disabled person. Now it means rubbish... But that's OK...?

Where's the line?
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  4  
Reply Mon 29 Nov, 2010 04:12 pm
@iamsam82,
I think it's a poor substitute for the alternative word choices and I would encourage them to use greater variety in their verbal expression, but I wouldn't cite it's current association with homosexuality as a reason not co-opt it again for the sake of slang.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Nov, 2010 04:13 pm
@iamsam82,
iamsam82 wrote:
I think so. I love language and am always interested when I see it evolving. Unfortunately, I am also a teacher.
It's hard sometimes to know whether or not to let the use of this word go in school. In my view it's fine.

The word has already changed meaning once - gay was bright and cheerful as everyone knows. It's naive and foolish to assume we can stop it from evolving again, especially since, the majority of times we hear it in school, no homosexual connotation is intended at all.

Also, if we ban the use of gay as a synonym for lame, we have to ban lame too, right? I mean, that originally meant a physically disabled person. Now it means rubbish... But that's OK...?

Where's the line?
I was going to mention the First Amendment (qua banning anything),
but from your profile, I see that u r an alien.





David
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  0  
Reply Mon 29 Nov, 2010 04:18 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
I think it's a poor substitute for the alternative word choices and I would encourage them to use greater variety in their verbal expression, but I wouldn't cite it's current association with homosexuality as a reason not co-opt it again for the sake of slang.
Find Abuzz: calling someone "gay" can result in violence.





David
Finn dAbuzz
 
  0  
Reply Mon 29 Nov, 2010 05:12 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
Not if used in the way in which iamsam83 refers.
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Mon 29 Nov, 2010 05:20 pm
@iamsam82,
iamsam82 wrote:

I think so. I love language and am always interested when I see it evolving. Unfortunately, I am also a teacher. It's hard sometimes to know whether or not to let the use of this word go in school. In my view it's fine.


You are 100% incorrect. Using the phrase this way is offensive and harmful to gay folks. Why do you think it's okay to do this?

Quote:
The word has already changed meaning once - gay was bright and cheerful as everyone knows. It's naive and foolish to assume we can stop it from evolving again, especially since, the majority of times we hear it in school, no homosexual connotation is intended at all.


I again believe this is 100% incorrect.

Quote:
Also, if we ban the use of gay as a synonym for lame, we have to ban lame too, right? I mean, that originally meant a physically disabled person. Now it means rubbish... But that's OK...?


No, we don't. That doesn't make any sense at all.

Quote:
Where's the line?


Way back over where you just walked. You really ought to be ashamed of yourself, to be a teacher and simultaneously claim that we can't teach kids to use words correctly.

Cycloptichorn
djjd62
 
  0  
Reply Mon 29 Nov, 2010 05:20 pm
recently there was a lot of controversy over a line in an upcoming movie, a character says something like "electric cars are gay, not gay in the homosexual way, but in a, your mom chaperoning the school dance kind of way", apparently GLAD was pretty upset and asked for the line to be removed, but as far as i know the film makers are keeping the line, good for them, it's humour for christ sake, lighten up folks
0 Replies
 
iamsam82
 
  0  
Reply Mon 29 Nov, 2010 05:40 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Quote:
Also, if we ban the use of gay as a synonym for lame, we have to ban lame too, right? I mean, that originally meant a physically disabled person. Now it means rubbish... But that's OK...?



No, we don't. That doesn't make any sense at all.




Huh? Why don't you get this? It's fairly logical and makes perfect sense.

1st definition of lame is being unable to walk. Nevertheless, we don't bat an eyelid at people using the word lame to describe stuff as inferior.

Why is it OK to use words which mean physically disabled as synonyms for rubbish, but not words for homosexual?

I genuinely don't get it. If lame is OK, then gay must be too. How does that not make perfect sense, at least logically?
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Mon 29 Nov, 2010 05:42 pm
@iamsam82,
Quote:
iamsam82 wrote:

Quote:
Quote:

Also, if we ban the use of gay as a synonym for lame, we have to ban lame too, right? I mean, that originally meant a physically disabled person. Now it means rubbish... But that's OK...?


No, we don't. That doesn't make any sense at all.


Huh? Why don't you get this? It's fairly logical and makes perfect sense.


Not all words or situations are equal. Are there legions of Lame people out there asking you not to use the word Lame? No? Then I'm sure you'll agree that the situation is not in fact similar at all.

Quote:
I genuinely don't get it. If lame is OK, then gay must be too. That makes perfect sense.


Let me ask you something - when hanging out with one of your gay friends (presuming you have any), would you feel comfortable using Gay as a word for Bad? You don't see any problem at all with that, or don't think it would cause any sort of issue with them?

If you really are a teacher, you have a responsibility to attempt to educate yourself to a slightly higher degree than you seem to have, regarding what is and isn't polite in society. You really have no reason to use the word 'gay' to mean bad other than the fact that - like most guys, including myself - you grew up hearing this. It's based on latent homosexuality and fears amongst young men who are concerned about being perceived as manly. It's not something to promote in the slightest.

Cycloptichorn
iamsam82
 
  0  
Reply Mon 29 Nov, 2010 05:59 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
I never said I promoted it, or used it in front of kids - I just don't challenge it.

I only have a couple of gay friends, it's true, but I would have no quarms about using it to mean lacklustre in front of them. They would understand that I mean it in the post-modern sense and not as some sort of homophobic insult.

And neither do my students consider sexuality when they use the term to mean poor quality. When they say, "Your trainers are gay" they are of course not suggesting the said shoes are in a same sex relationship with another pair. Sexuality doesn't even enter their mind. The word has changed.

No amount of whinging will stop the changing meaning of the word whether you or I am right. The Oxford English Dictionary already lists its fourth meaning as "not impressive, stylish, or attractive".

<br /> http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/view/entry/m_en_gb0329310#m_en_gb0329310

A radio DJ in Britain recently used the term on air with regard to a ringtone. The BBC defended him and quoted this OED definition.

Whatever the result of our debate here, you must accept that the definition of the word will change entirely over the next twenty years and its use as a synonym for rubbish, whether you think rightly or wrongly, will become widely acceptable.

Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Mon 29 Nov, 2010 06:20 pm
@iamsam82,
iamsam82 wrote:

I never said I promoted it, or used it in front of kids - I just don't challenge it.


That's the same as accepting it.

Besides - if there's nothing wrong with it, and we all should accept it, as you say, why do you shy away from using it in front of kids? Please explain.

Quote:
I only have a couple of gay friends, it's true, but I would have no quarms about using it to mean lacklustre in front of them. They would understand that I mean it in the post-modern sense and not as some sort of homophobic insult.


Oh sure, they'll understand. Why wouldn't they understand what you meant? I mean, who could misunderstand when you use a description of who they are to mean 'bad?' How could they possibly get that one so wrong?

I dare you to ask one of them straight-up how they feel about it when you say that, or use the word that way. Seriously; ask them and let us know how that turns out.

Quote:
And neither do my students consider sexuality when they use the term to mean poor quality


Yes, they do. They do so because they consider homosexuality to also be poor quality. Don't you see that? How could the word be used to mean something bad, unless the thing itself is bad?

Quote:
When they say, "Your trainers are gay" they are of course not suggesting the said shoes are in a same sex relationship with another pair. Sexuality doesn't even enter their mind. The word has changed.


You're totally wrong on this one. Deluding yourself. Sexuality doesn't have to enter their mind for the word to be used to deride a certain sexuality.

Think about this for a second instead of displaying laziness:

Student 1: Those trainers are Gay.

Student 2: What's wrong with being Gay?

Student 1: Uh, nothing I guess, I just meant I don't like those shoes.

Student 2: So why did you use the word Gay?

Student 1: I dunno, because Gay is bad?

This is what you promote? The equivalence of Gays with Bad? It seems so.

My guess is that you are male, probably under 30, who grew up the same way I did: using Gay as slang for Bad. It was common when and where I grew up. And totally wrong to do. I didn't figure it out until later in life and now I'm sorry that I hurt people's feelings - big time.

Quote:
Whatever the result of our debate here, you must accept that the definition of the word will change entirely over the next twenty years and its use as a synonym for rubbish, whether you think rightly or wrongly, will become widely acceptable.


I don't think I must accept that, and I don't think you are correct. In the slightest. I think you are looking at the back end of a rather hateful trend which has gone on for a long, long time; not the front end of it.

Why go out of your way to say offensive things, if you aren't trying to be offensive? What's the point? It's casual and lazy acceptance of hatefulness, and like I said earlier: you ought to be ashamed of yourself. You're supposed to set a higher standard than the norm for your students, but you seem to just not give a **** about that, in favor of a 'so what?' attitude.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Nov, 2010 06:21 pm
Personally, i don't have problem with it. After all, male homosexuals have already hijacked the word. I happen to be old enough to recall when gay meant happy, ecstatic, cheerful. If them gay boys can hijack it, so can anyone else, as far as i'm concerned.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Nov, 2010 06:22 pm
Geez, where is Slappy when we need him.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  0  
Reply Tue 30 Nov, 2010 03:30 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
Not if used in the way in which iamsam83 refers.
That interpretation might be revealed in the hospital.
0 Replies
 
Ionus
 
  -3  
Reply Tue 30 Nov, 2010 03:42 am
@iamsam82,
Quote:
The word has already changed meaning once - gay was bright and cheerful as everyone knows.
I never changed my usage of the word just because it was hyjacked. Anyway, it no longer seems appropriate since they died in droves with AIDS. They didnt look very gay following coffin after coffin.
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  0  
Reply Tue 30 Nov, 2010 05:39 am
@iamsam82,
iamsam82 wrote:
A radio DJ in Britain recently used the term on air with regard to a ringtone.


who was it, i think it would be ironic if his (if it's a man) initials were SM
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Nov, 2010 10:30 am
This discussion is just so nigger.
djjd62
 
  0  
Reply Tue 30 Nov, 2010 10:44 am
@joefromchicago,
really, given the stingy amount of responses (16 with most of them from about 4 responders) i'd say it's more scottish or jewy Razz
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Nov, 2010 12:08 pm
I hear the word used this way quite often by the under 20yo set.....I dont have a problem with it. But then I am loath to police language under any circumstances.
iamsam82
 
  0  
Reply Tue 30 Nov, 2010 02:40 pm
@hawkeye10,
Exactly my point. The changing definition is inevitable. Language is organic. To police it is naive.
 

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