"I’ll just quickly note that although language does evolve constantly – as I’m fond of arguing myself – comedy at the moment is in danger of cementing more harmful and old-fashioned stereotypes than it erodes, and certain comics seem to think there’s absolutely no problem with that, even as they adopt apparently right-on stances on other issues. If you think there’s any chance a word you’re using might cause misery to the vulnerable, it seems a bit rash to tweet it casually as you’re sitting in your millionaire pad. It’s all very well saying ‘gay’ doesn’t mean ‘happy’ any more, because users’ consensus has modified its meaning over 50 years. But one of the ways in which it’s been modified is that millions of schoolkids now use ‘gay’ to mean ‘bad’, e.g. ‘it’s really gay we have Physics on a Monday’. In fact plenty of much older people do that as well, and the net result is a continuation of negative associations with homosexuality. No one actually thinks you’re saying that Physics is a homosexual subject, but the sense of insult endures all the same. The moral of the story: you can let words go in any direction you like, but you’re still in charge of them, and they always have the potential to do harm. Using a word which you know to be politically or socially volatile, and then saying ‘pff, it’s just a word, cool down guys’ is a bit like letting off fireworks in the high street and going ‘hey, it’s just explosives, it’s not my fault if someone gets in the way’."
Mark Watson - On the whole Ricky Gervais kerfuffle
(I really wanted to just take a line, but the whole paragraph turned out to be too great to cut up— so this is pre’ much the whole post. I just thought it was brilliant because it’s a kind of awareness you don’t often see in the ‘big’ comedians. i.e. the ones who get to be on TV/panel shows a fair amount.)