An unscientific poll of grade school boys in northwest Chicago shows a disturbing trend toward a new epithet that is entirely inappropriate: instead of ‘stupid’, they say ‘gay’.
For instance: when my father would play me, say, a Roger Miller song when I was ten, I’d say “Dad, that song is stupid.” Today, when I play, say, King Crimson, Roon says “Dad, that song is gay.”
Where the hell do they get this language? Who says stuff like that? I mean using an entire subculture’s sexual proclivity as an epithet is totally gay.
Ok, so they get it from, um, us. Surely they didn’t make up the word and surely they didn’t decide to use it as an interlocutory substitute for “unacceptable” without a little modeling. (And by modeling I mean behavioral modeling, not runways.) I know you think I’m talking about parents but I’m not. I’m talking about comedians.
Every single comedian doing a gay impersonation drops the prancing fey bomb and impersonates the very same gay guy from 1987 who idolized Kate Bush and wore his button down shirts like halter tops. We all know that guy didn’t rep the gay community even then, but today it’s so far off the mark it’s like thinking Amos & Andy are hip.
Today’s gay is indistinguishable from today’s not so gay. They have earned their place in the status quo by becoming so typical and every-day that there’s not even any drama in coming out anymore. I expect parents will be throwing coming out parties with the same indifference as sweet sixteens. And as much as I’d like to follow my comedic instincts and make a Cotillion joke, I just can’t. Not because it’s not politically correct, but because it’s just not funny. Why? Because gay is boring. Big yawn.
But the poofy queen has become such a stock character in sitcoms and stand-up that comedians just can’t give it up. They keep swishing across the stage in a parody of a person that hardly exists anymore and truthfully, I wonder if the slang logic of ten year-olds is picking up on this.
When they say ‘gay’ they actually mean ‘boring’ or ‘stupid’ and so in that respect, they’re dead on. Maybe this isn’t indicative of intolerance but of sophisticated linguistic theory at work. Maybe they’re all micro Chomskyites and we’re really behind the language curve here, like finding out phat means awesome, a linguistic shift that has a perfectly intact logic but didn’t trickle down to the elders until it was already passe.
I distrust political correctness, but I insist on linguistic integrity and I’m leaning toward an appreciation for the ‘gay’ epithet coming from these tiny Stevie Pinkers. The big swishy gay is as dead as E. Aaron Presley and impersonating either of them is as lame as the current GOP. It is, in a word, stupid. Kids know this instinctively and they’re language reflects it. To think otherwise is to promote a belief that children are not sophisticated users of language, and that’s, in a word, gay.