Going to take a minute away from the anti-SOPA/PIPA onslaught to make an observation and a request.
Dear Internet users and the greater world of people under the age of 30—
STOP USING THE WORD ‘GAY’ TO MEAN ‘SOMETHING YOU DON’T LIKE’.
I can’t tell you how many times that word has appeared in my Twitter feed today thanks to @herpderpedia’s retweets of people freaking out about Wikipedia’s SOPA/PIPA Blackout.
Let’s get one thing perfectly straight (pun intended): it is not ‘gay’ for Wikipedia to black out their site. It is not ‘bright or showy’, ‘given to or abounding in social or other pleasures’, or ‘having or showing a merry, lively mood.’ And it is most certainly not ’homosexual’. (source: Dictionary.com)
I’ll skip over the ridiculous comparison of what would happen if I started saying ‘that’s so straight’, because that’s not even a very good analogy. Instead, we’ll skip right to the outrage I would invoke if I started saying ‘that’s so black.’ ’That’s so asian.’ ’That’s so mexican.’
This applies, too, to other words whose actual meaning references a group of people but whose colloquial meaning is ‘something bad’. Like ‘retarded’ and ‘lame’.
Slurs are not funny, they aren’t cute, and just because everyone else in your high school English class is making them does not mean they are cool. They are hurtful and inappropriate, not to mention the fact that they don’t actually communicate what you are trying to communicate. Think of a better word. You will be infinitely cooler if you used a different, more descriptive, possibly even melodramatic word. There are glorious sites (that aren’t blacked-out, I might add) like Thesaurus.com (there are even books called thesauruses that you can get from a big building called a library that has, literally, thousands of other books, filled with words) that can help you come up with a more descriptive word for how you feel about Wikipedia’s blackout. Here are a few I’ll give you for free, no library card needed: