It Started With “Gay”

…or maybe it was “grass”, but either way, the result was the same:  a perfectly good word was hijacked by bastards in order to make something socially unsavory become more acceptable.   Hence “gay” for homosexual — deeply ironic considering that homosexuals in general are the gloomiest and most unhappy people on the planet.

Now, of course, we have a similar situation, only now it’s words hijacked by Big Tech:

According to a study by the University of Leeds, which looked at datasets of informal conversations, all mentions of the word ‘tweet’ in the Nineties referred to birdsong, while one in 100 do now.
We need not despair that, in future, our children will think of a remote data-storage system when they hear the word ‘cloud’. But we should offset it by teaching them the names of clouds.
We need not despair that, in future, our children will think of a remote data-storage system when they hear the word ‘cloud’.  But we should offset it by teaching them the names of clouds.
Seven in ten uses of ‘web’ in the same period referred to spiders: this has become one in ten.
‘Field’, ‘fibre’, ‘cloud’, ‘branch’ and ‘net’ have all changed meanings, too, co-opted for commercial or technological ends.
This is the living mutability of language, the way it shifts to keep tight its embrace with the world. But there is an edge of loss to this change.
Now, the speaker is not contemplating a sky or the running twists of water, the slender might of a spider’s web, or pasture, trees or the music of birds. He or she refers to a ‘virtual’ world, conjured in pixels.
What the tech firms call ‘disruption’, when they destroy old trading networks, is one of the forces of our time. Populist politicians disrupt electoral tribes*; the Leeds study shows that technology [is] disrupting language itself.

I have a very dear lady friend with the ancient and lovely name of “Alexa”.  She’s considering renaming herself as “Lexie” (a nickname), simply because Amazon’s electronic Stasi toy has become ubiquitous in ordinary conversation — and that’s not to mention all the jokes made when people get introduced to her.   (As she puts it, you can only hear “Alexa?  Turn on the coffeemaker” so many times before it starts getting really  old.)

And it’s all quite unnecessary.  Tech firms should actually create names for their products instead of lazily co-opting existing words or names.

We can talk about homosexuals and hippies some other time.


*Actually, no.  All  politicians create electoral tribes;  “populist politicians” (e.g. Nigel Farage and Donald Trump) simply create new electoral tribes out of elements of those electoral tribes made by establishment politicians.

7 comments

  1. The reason I support Trump is I have watched policitians promise the moon and stars and deliver dirt. But they have stood up the deep state to continue things and now we are screwed.

    Was just reading about the singularity that is projected to occur in 2052 so it would not matter.

  2. Tech firms should actually create names for their products instead of lazily co-opting existing words or names.

    Or, people could just stop buying the fucking things. Alternatively, those of us who understand what those things are could stop associating with those who insist on having one; I won’t enter a house or office that has one, or carry on a phone conversation with someone who is anywhere near one.

    Which wouldn’t stop the bastardization of names or corruption of language because too many people seem to think it’s no big deal and just peachy.

  3. On a boating forum, I used the word ‘homesexuals’ to refer to homosexuals. Apparently, that word is a “trigger” (speaking of appropriation), and resulted in my dreaded Third Infraction with a Time Out in The Penalty Box.

    My second infraction was using the word ‘mohammedans’ in reference to mohammedans.

    My first infraction was referring to the former occupation of a mohammedan == sweeping out his hut. And comparing that as a yuge promotion over his prior occupation == sweeping out his cave.

    I did not, repeat not, say one word about the gentleman ‘sweeping out his goat’… although one tends to imply the other.

    * * * * *

    re:
    secs dolls

    This is not ‘secs’, this is masturbation.

    What next? Co-opting ‘farmer’ to include warehouses filled with marijuana plants?

    Or how about ‘biker’ to include wanna-bees on BMW motorcycles with all the wrenching done by shop-workers.

    And yet, oddly, I am OK with ‘dating’ to include ladies supplementing their income with temporary ‘arrangements’.

    But when did the plural of ‘one’ become ‘ones’? FFS.

    FFS. F! F! S!

  4. When changing the meaning of words, let’s begin by complaining to/about Shakespeare; just to start, no man loved a good pun better

  5. Never mind Shakespeare, you can go back to Catullus and Aristophanes, and there’s probably a thing or two in the Epic of Gilgamesh.

  6. Try working as a software developer for a global agribusiness. When discussing database designs that track growers (farmers etc.), their farms, and what they grow on them, we have to be careful to distinguish between a “field” as a plot of land with geospatial boundaries and a crop of some kind, and a “field” in the database which is used to store information about that plot of land. The Field field, in other words. We usually resort to using Field for the crop area and lower-case field for the database reference. Or we use “attribute” or “column” instead of “field” when talking about the database schema. It gets awkward–there’s no generally agreed-upon convention.

  7. How about “geek”?

    Originally a carnival sideshow performer who would bite off the heads of rats or chickens, usually a case of syphilitic dementia and/or extreme alcoholism.

    Now an expert computer technician; Best Buy even calls their computer tech service “Geek Squad”. (But don’t trust them; friends have observed GS do really ugly things.)

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