Friday, July 10, 2009

We really are devo now

A moment ago I had a great chat with Alex who works at Ella's Uncle, that great cafe on Dundas West. We were talking about our respective Kathleen Hanna encounters, and how lucky we were to come of age at a time when there were so many strong role models in music (e.g. L7, Salt N' Pepa, continuing torch-bearer Kim Gordon). Does anyone remember seeing Michelle Shocked and her hairy legs in Rolling Stone magazine in 1989? That makes an impression on a kid. These days Rolling Stone describes Lady Gaga as having an unconventional kind of beauty and an "ethnic" nose. Say what? I would hardly call Lady Gaga's physique unconventional. And what is meant by an "ethnic" nose, exactly?

Presently we are witnessing the devolution of values that were at the forefront not so long ago, values that were propelled in part by Riot Grrl, queercore, Guerrilla Girls, and other activist art movements. What's so funny about peace, love, respect and equality? Yes, great strides have been made in some areas- marriage equality for instance- but until I see Beth Ditto replacing the tweeny bop singers in young girls magazines, I'm not going to feel that the Western devolution to a pre-90's sensibility has lost momentum, let alone stopped.

For instance, consider the prevalence of the saying "That's so gay." This phrase gets tossed around all the time by people who don't consider themselves homophobic, who don't actually want to insult gay people, right alongside "those people" who take pride in their homophobia.
In light of this issue, I humbly propose a language action. Instead of saying "That's so gay" try using the phrase "that is delightfully homosexual," and only for things that are indeed delightful. Using homosexuality as a pejorative is ugly, regardless of intent.

What could be described as delightfully homosexual, then? Here are some examples:

"I watched Queen's 'I Want To Break Free' video last night. It's so delightfully homosexual!!"
"Oh my God, you like Klaus Nomi? He's so delightfully homosexual."
"I went to Hot Nuts at the Beaver last night. It was delightfully homosexual."

On that note, happy belated Pride Week, and thanks for stopping by.


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