Thinking B4 We Speak


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.”


  • Bobby Gonzalez (nerdygonzo)

    The campaign isn’t attacking anyone’s rights to be a complete, classless, asshole. I am sure that the ad makers know that those people are beyond reach. The people they are trying to reach are the very people you feel sorry for.

    Those people say the word without any real hate for gays, but that doesn’t change the fact that it does hurt. In order for those dumb kids to realize it does, they need an example of someone doing it to them.

    These ads seem like the best way to get to kids who don’t realize their words can hurt. Then they can imaging that gay people have to deal with it every time someone like them decides to use the word gay without thinking

  • Brooke e.

    I think they’re missing the mountain for the molehill with this. Telling people not to use the word “gay” as a term for something you don’t like is not curing the actual problem which is: Homophobia. I know plenty of people who use the term “gay” in a (what could be considered,) derogatory way, yet in actuality have no issues with gay people whatsoever. I think it is off the wall to attempt to control language in any form or fashion. And I think BILL would agree with me on that one. If they’re going to create PSAs about “naughty” words that upset people why not make one about the word “bitch”? I’m a woman and that offends me so maybe they should make one about that as well.. And people use that word just as often and more often as a word to emasculate other men or infer weakness. And while we’re at it why not make PSAs about EVERY word that pisses people off… We shouldn’t because condescending scolding sessions from celebrities who are so far removed from the real world rarely if ever, work. Sorry to spam up your page. OH and Bill most likely wouldn’t have agreed with the attempt to stifle language by the way, so I think that reference to him is a little off base.

    ~Brooke E.

  • Tre’

    Excellent post, Brooke.

    And besides, gays don’t own the word anyway.