So someone posted on an online RPG board I fuck around on the following:
Him: "Please don't use the word gay as a general derogatory for stupid."
Me: "Should I not use it as a general word for homosexual either, in case any 'happy' people get offended? "
Him: "Feel free to call homosexuals gay. :) However, linking a word for homosexuals to stupid is homophobia. I wiill not tolerate hate langage [here]."
Him: "I mean, should we call the [recent subject] we've been talking about recently niggerish? Or how about chinky?"
'Me' being the guy who goes on to say:
So. Eh. I don't use that forum of discussion anymore. Yes, I'm well aware that free speech doesn't apply to what is essentially a private setting. But I can say: Fuck, Ass, Cunt, Cocksucker, and so on and so forth without penalty. But 'gay' gets me admonished for the use of hate speech? Fucking christ.
This isn't about the origins of words or anything of the sort. It's about the idea that a word in and of itself can be classified as 'hate' without any consideration for intent, and people chastised or even punished accordingly.
I have to basically agree with him, as far as how stupid it is to call it 'TEH LANGUGE OF HOMPHOBIA!!!11!1!!1!1ONEONEONE!1!ONE!'.
Then some other cheesehead chimes in with:
It's the evolution of language. tell the guy to deal with it, cause it's not like he's gonna be able to stop it.
I fucking HATE listening to people categorize poor use of their native tongue as an 'idiomatic' use. Or as an appropriate use 'because it's how it is used now'. If that were the case, then any high school essay written in Nashville, Tennessee would include the phrase 'Alla y'all'. Which just plain isn't OK.
So I got out the shotgun.
I'd disagree with the guy's grounds for asking you to STFU; calling that homophobia is just downright ridiculous. And now, up onto the pulpit.
I'd agree, however, with his implied characterization; that implied characterization being that you sound like a knuckle-dragging slack-jawed imbecile by using 'gay' to mean 'lame', or 'pathetic', or 'fucktarded' or 'absurd' or 'dumb', or 'moronic' or 'stupid' or 'daft' or any other one of a thousand words in English that might be defined as meaning 'too ridiculously inadequate to deserve anything short of distaste'. I want to reiterate: calling something 'gay' doesn't say to me that you're teh evul homophobe. It just says that your grasp of the language leaves you way short on derogatory terms, since it sounds to me like you're doubling up meanings.
Given comments from others on the thread, I'll chime in to state point-blank that calling this the 'evolution of language' is deliberately invidious, rather than demonstrably bearing any burden of proof, logic, or truth.
Invidious is a wonderful word. It means 'tending to cause animosity, discontent, or envy'; it also can be used to mean 'of an unpleasant or objectionable nature'. Invidious comparisons are intended to cause harm or resentment- this also seems to be an invidious comparison, as one doesn't use this argument with the word 'homey' (or is that spelled 'homie'?); if it were not intended as an invidious comparison, one would say 'Homey is just how language is evolving, cope' to someone else who expresses confusion that your white ass is holding forth in the lingua franca of Harlem and Spike Lee films.
Invidious is a word that exists in the language already- and has done so longer than this language has been spoken on the continent that (I am assuming) you live on. It's one you quite possibly didn't know. Just because you didn't know it, well, that doesn't mean the word 'invidious' doesn't exist. Ignorance of English on your part, similarly, doesn't mean that I need to call this premise anything but invidious.
Now, the implication might be drawn forth that since A) I know the word 'invidious' and B) am assuming that you do not, and further, I C) am using it as well as explaining what it means, I am therefore attempting to belittle your intellect. The sheer pointless effort involved in shrinking the microscopic aside, I tender that what I'm doing is attempting to challenge your mind so that it might grow, and you might speak in a fashion in keeping with the expectations of an educated society.
It seems, as Terry Gilliam might put it, 'mercifully bereft of the ravages of intellect' to say that calling things gay when you have distaste for them is a sign of 'the evolution of language', as opposed to a signifier of the linguistic poverty of the speaker.
There are so many more pointed means of expressing distaste in English for the pathos of someone else's behavior... as I believe I have demonstrated, quite amply, above.
Other modern uses that piss me off just as much as this constant misuse of a term that either means joviality or cocksucking are:
codependence (every couple is co-dependent, if you think about what the damn word means. You're trying to say 'enabling')
reorganization (as an euphemism for 'layoffs')
optimize (in the corporate-speak manner)
I do hope that anyone else who gets sick of listening to this shit will feel free to avail themselves of the above rant.