I’ve just encountered the Think B4 You Speak campaign after having it flagged by Penny arcade and I have found myself torn in two.
The basic gist, if you’ve not heard of this is that it’s an effort to stop people using the term “Gay” in a derogatory sense, as in “That movie is so gay!“, in this case meaning “crappy“.
The ads are actually kind of patronizing and heavy-handed. “It’s like saying ‘That is so gamer with more video games than friends’.” And yes, that’s a neat and hurtful equivalent that any young and naive ‘gamer‘ can grasp. But the message is delivered with such a rap on the knuckles that I almost feel sorry for the teenagers on the other end of my 360 headset spouting casual bigotry. By its very nature the term in this context is not meant to hurt or offend, but is simply a foolish, trendy phrase that’s found its way into the lexicon on the back of South Park and a couple of other shows. The way in which it’s being countered however is a calculated exercise in singling individuals out, by people who should know better.
So like I say. I’m torn between complete agreement that offhand offensive terms inadvertently insulting minorities should be ironed out of our culture and standing up for the rights of dumb kids everywhere to be offensive little gobshites.
It brings me to mind of the comedy routine of my favorite dead comedian Bill Hicks, talking about the pedestrian right-of-way law instituted around the time of the L.A. riots (anybody stepping into the road must be allowed to cross the street by oncoming traffic)
“Yes, cos only in America does common courtesy have to be legislated.”