Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm glad I'm not gay

"What a fag."

When was the last time you heard this or some variation? If I had to guess: too recently. Language is in a transition period and it's one which I don'timagine does much good for the self-esteem of gays.

Fag, gay, queer, etc: these used to mean stick, happy, and strange. Somehow they became words to refer to gay people. I suppose queer makes sense. Gay is a stretch. Fag doesn't make much sense, but that's beside the point. They all refer to homosexuality.

Now they're becoming multipurpose synonyms for "bad." People you don't like are fags. Events you don't like are gay. Items you don't like are gay. This makes some sense if you consider that homophobia is the new racism: taken for granted and unquestioned by most people. It's just part of the language and it makes sense that a word for a type of bad person would become a word for a general bad person.

The transition would not seem to be fun for gay people. Their words are being throw around as generic negatives. What other meaning can be drawn besides: "Everyone thinks you're bad." Or even worse: "You are indistinguishable from bad people."

I'm noticing this as a trend, more and more words don't mean anything special anymore. A few days ago I saw someone use the n word in WoW to refer to a Horde ganker. It made no sense. What does ganking have to do with a word which historically referred to black people in an extremely negative manner and to this day is even used in a strange dichotomy as a word of brotherhood between but also a disparaging word for someone who acts badly.


G-Rebel said...

Fag used to mean a pile of small sticks used to build a fire. Words change, indeed, and often for the worse...or should I say for the less productive.

I don't like any of those words and therefore would never use them. I wonder if "accountant" (that's me) or "lawer" will ever be used to describe sneaky, slimely people. Oh, wait, we already do. I need to get a new job lest you think poorly of me. :)

Klepsacovic said...

Words seem to get homogenized, moving towards a lot of ways to say the same thing without much detail. So fag, homo, queer; all seem to mean bad. Then we have to make up new words, or ruin even more words, to fill in the space left by our lack of synonyms for stick, same, and strange.

I believe fag was a stick, faggot was a bundle. So we might have a queer saying such as "It would make me quite gay if you could bundle the fags into some faggots."

G-Rebel said...

You are right about fag and faggot. In England a fag is a cigarrette. Go figure.