Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Are homosexuals gay or queer?

Once upon a time, in the slightly more rational past, the word "queer" was objected to by homosexuals as being highly derogatory. For a while homosexuals were "camp" instead but the word "gay" eventually became almost universally embraced as the "correct" term. Lots of Australians and Brits continued to call them "poofters" or "poofs" but that was wicked.

Now, however, we seem to have reversed gears. "Queer" seems to be OK now (as in the TV show "Queer eye for the straight guy"). But "gay" is so bad that even children will be pursued by the British police for using it:

"A father launched a furious attack against the police yesterday for investigating claims that his 10-year-old son had called a schoolfriend "gay" in an email. Company director Alan Rawlinson said he was astounded after two police officers arrived at his home in Bold Heath, Cheshire, to speak to his son George. The officers were called after a complaint from the parent of another boy at his son's school in Widnes.


Confusing, isn't it? What it DOES go to show is that the old Leftist obsession with changing the language is pointless. If something is disliked, ANY word used to describe it will become derogatory.

There was an interesting older instance of that in Australia. Just after the war, Australia got a lot of immigrants from war-torn Europe and Anglo-Australians were not at that time very impressed by them -- largely because the poor English of the immigrants created unaccustomed communication difficulties. Words like "dago", "wop", "wog" and "reffo" were commonly used to refer to the immigrants.

But the government decided that Australia needed the immigrants concerned and insisted that they be referred to as "New Australians". Very rapidly, however, the term "New Australians" came to be used disdainfully too.

And what I always think is the most amusing example of mealy-mouthed language is the way economically backward countries were once described. They started out "savage", then "backward", then "poor", then "underdeveloped" and then "developing".

At that point, people realized that "developing" was precisely what most of the countries concerned were NOT doing so we seem now to have settled on the term: "less developed". "Savage" would be a more informative description of many of them.