GAY'S THE WORD

Columnists in the metropolitan glossy magazines aimed at metrosexuals (as opposed to mere homosexuals, or bisexuals) have been, for some time, chewing the fat about the use of the word ‘gay’. Apparently it is, (or was), all the rage in school playgrounds. And other places where young persons gather. ‘Gay’ is used to describe anything limp, or second rate, or just plain bad. What is worse, middle class kids are using the word in this manner. This is a dreadful insult to us… queers. ..And there lies upstart’s problem. We, non-heterosexuals, have ‘reclaimed’ the formerly, in the ‘Anglosphere’ anyway, most grosSeand insulting word used to describe us. Why is it illicit for young people who have probably never heard the word ‘queer’ used in the old, coarse manner, and are not benders themselves, to reclaim the word ‘gay’?. The English language is flexible mainly because it is something of a shotgun marriage between two disparate tongues. English as she is spoke in

England is also class-ridden. The French / Latin element in it is almost unknown to many (largely working class) young people who have had the sort of education Mrs Thatcher (and therefore Mr Blair) approved of inflicted upon them. They may well be sneering at the word ‘gay’ because it is from the element in the Ianguage used by authority figures from politicians to teachers. This is not to say that there has not been a coarsening of society. The mention o f Mrs Thatcher above was not gratuitous. She and her ‘ites’ destroyed a great many of the institutions which had made society in England (as opposed to ‘ Great Britain’) a pleasing, kindly place to live in. The trade unionSeand ‘one nation’ Toyism come to mind. She brought in a vision of society which replaced the collaborative, co-operative one born out of the horrible experience of the Great Depression, rather than even the 1939-45 War. This vision was based on her notion that there ‘is no such thing as society’ (she claims she did not use that precise phrase…). The grisly economic free-for-all she introduced was based on the ownership of large(sometimes obscenely large) amounts of cash. And hard cash was the crucial aspect of this; the owners of said dough were not expected to behave in a ‘social’ manner. And they didn’t. They did not endow universities, schools or churches (except possibly the Church of Scientology). They are making money out of fantastical (PFl – private finance initiative) arrangements whereby they get vast sums of the taxpayers’ money to build collegeSeand schools. Which they will eventually own as private property – you couldn’t, to coin a phrase, make it up. This has led to the situation where there are growing numbers of ‘gated communities’ in the area around London, the ‘Home (whose home?) – it used to be the monarch, but now it is probably Roman Abramovitch) Counties’ in particular.

The twee phrase ‘gated community’ is a poIitism for a kind of ghetto, a place where the very rich gather for their own protection (and that of their goodSeand gains -well-gotten, or otherwise). It is also the reason why boys (and some girls, mostly complete innocents) who should be running Scout and Guide troops are being shot and killed on a regular basis. An element of racism, real and inverted, has been introduced into this because most of these children have been ‘West Indian’, as even third generation Londoners are described by the media. Anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear knows quite well that this cohort of ‘immigrants’ have become not’ British’ but specifically English. They are responding to the same stimuli as the men who got obscene ‘bonuses’ in The City [the ‘square mile of

London], just before Christmas. They have found their niche in the market economy. They supply drugs which are – effectively – quasi-legal. Even supplying heroin is something of a ‘gray area’ in the policing of large conurbations, it is the source of the killings. The profits are just too large to temper greed with mercy, for the people who administer the trade.

That may sound an oddly pompous way to describe such people, just remember that generations of sound chaps (George Orwell’s father, for example) administered the trade in opium between the proudly-entitled ‘British India’ and

China. (There was a move to add China directly to the Empire, but Uncle Sam did not appreciate the idea. Orwell’s Da waSean Inspector of [opium] Plantations; his job was to ensure that the stuff was of sufficient quantity and quality to keep the Chinese masses befuddled. And the Chinese State enfeebled.) ‘Our’ great universities (i.e. Oxbridge) operate on the dictum ‘pecunia non olent’ – ‘money doesn’t stink’. The most disgracefully plundered booty, Cecil Rhodes’s riches, for example, becomes mature old money when it is spent in accepted ways. The filthy rich these days prefer to buy football clubs rather than endow Chairs in universities. The Irish and the Indians are (somewhat) different in this regard, but only just. Sport is also, traditionally, an excellent way of ‘laundering’ dirty money.

It’s true to say that the cohort who use ‘gay’ as ‘not good’ have been joined by the likes of Chris Moyles (seen on the telly being ‘interviewed’ by CharIotte Church and behaving like a dirty old man whose wa*k’ fantasy has just come true). That’Sean extremely coarse image – but we are not ashamed of using it – he iSean element of the coarsening of English, or metropolitan, culture made flesh. (Lots of it.) The metrosexual glossies are also affected by this style. Their columnists bemoan the use of ‘gay’ as a put-down, but the word ‘c*nt’ is scattered throughout them like confetti. And it is used as a much more crude ‘adult’ form of put-down, than kids using gay’.

We are ‘right to be worried by this trend to use a word with which we chose to describe ourselves (apart from having sexual connotations since it entered the language in Plantagenet times, it usefully contained the acrostic Good As You’) being used aSean insult. But we clearly have the odd mote in our collective eye. This is not (more’s the pity) a Gay Liberationist call to the barricades but if we cleaned up our own act it might encourage others to clean up theirs.

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