I have this last week witnessed, an event, which I can only describe as being ‘surreal’ in nature, and would have been unimaginable had it occurred only a few short years ago.
An article I published a few days ago, BOVVERED has been reported to the police by someone with far too much time on their hands, for containing content they believed was ‘Homophobic’ and therefore should be viewed as being both ‘Inflammatory’ and likely to cause offence.
The content in question was the name ‘GAYLORD’, which was the moniker given to a character portrayed by the late comic actor Dick Emery, which I referred to in the article.
*GAYLORD ga(y)-lo-rd as a boy’s name is of Old French origin, and the meaning of Gaylord is “lively, high-spirited”. The name Gaylord has seven variant forms: Gaillard, Gallard, Galliard, Gay, Gayelord, Gayler, Gaylor and of course GAYLORD.*
That got me thinking; maybe I too, should feel offended by, and begin reporting to the police other common English words, names and phrases, that could be viewed in a similar manner.
I could even travel down to the west end end of London, and stage a sit-down demonstration at one of the capital’s oldest and most elegant Indian restaurants, GAYLORD LONDON (est: 1966), demanding that they immediately change their name or cease trading at once, or I will refuse to leave.
I could then launch a mass e-mail writing campaign, even adding an online petition in order to reinforce my demand that any similar-sounding, thus clearly offensive names be either changed or prevented from ever being transmitted or published in the media and on the Internet.
It could mean however, that athletes such as Tyson Gay, the second fastest sprinter ever after Usain Bolt, would then have to join Irish broadcaster Gay Byrne, Author Gay Hendricks, Australian singer Gay Kayler and British Horticulturist Gay Search, as having offensive names that should be only referred to forever more as the ‘G’ word.
But no matter, my sensibilities and delicate nature are far more important.
*Gay (Gaye) is a female or male given name (795th (“Gay”) and 1295th (“Gaye”) most common female name in the United States, according to the 1990 U.S. census. It can also be used as a short form of the female names Gaynell and Gaynor and as a short form of the male names Gaylen and of course GAYLORD. The writer Gay Talese’s name incidentally, is derived from Gaetano, his grandfather’s name.*
Should it prove a success, other names could be added to the list which could also then be classified as being Offensive, Racist or Homophobic.
Just imagine the possibilities ?
Middle-aged, man-bag carrying and balding men suffering from erectile disfunction, running shrieking in horror to their local police station, demanding the use of the name ‘Everard’ be outlawed with immediate effect.
Which would mean that Railway Engineer Everard Calthrop, Major General Mathias Everard, Actress Harriet Everard and a medieval Norwich Bishop, would be struck from historical records and cast into the liberal wilderness of all offensive and Non Politically-Acceptable Words, like a discarded, once-fashionable item of hideous clothing.
Of course I would not even consider doing any of the above in reality, and thankfully such behaviour remains the domain of only a few bitter, small-minded, mentally stunted and spiteful people.
I passionately believe in freedom of speech and expression, transparency and honesty and will fight against the censure of the truth in any form.
I also believe, that as a society, we would suffer greatly from the enforced loss of any part of the English language.