Awl contributor Tom Scocca just blew my mind by IM'ing me this sentence, from this coming Sunday's fairly interesting New York Times Magazine cover story about gay kids: "By far the most common usage of the word 'gay' in middle schools is in the expression 'that's so gay,' a popular adolescent phrase that means that something is dumb or lame." Um. *Head explodes.* Hey. You guys? Anyone? You mean, "dumb," the word that used to mean "a person unable to speak" that later came to mean "stupid"? And "lame," the word that used to mean "a person who is crippled" and later came to mean "stupid"? So basically this proves that, in the evolution of the English language, the word "gay" is primarily going to mean, heh, well, "dumb or lame." I can't believe this little ouroboros of linguistics just happened right here under our noses, behind our backs. At a place where editors of words work.
Thursday, September 24th, 2009