The Gay Obsolescence: Don Wenow's gay apparel

Christmas is coming the goose is getting fat. Thus, I once again I am filled with wonder over usage of the word “gay,” as in “Don we now our gay apparel.”

According to Wiktionary:

“Gay is almost exclusively used today in the sense of homosexual and the related senses. The earlier uses of festive, colorful and bright can still be found, but have fallen out of fashion and are liable to be misunderstood, though if used in a way that suggests that a fashion is common among homosexuals, the two meanings do not necessarily contradict.”

Even in a relatively modern cultural phenomenon such as the “Flintstones,” the cartoon about stone-age people trapped in the suburban mid-1960s, was the word “gay” used to denote happy, upbeat, festive, or as the song says:

“When you’re with the Flintstones,
have a yabba dabba doo time,
a dabba doo time,
we’ll have a gay old time.”

Of course, Fred and Barney did spend quite a bit of time together …

Nonetheless, when one takes a form of the word “gay” to produce a noun such as “gaiety,” or the state of being happy, then the connotation is much less directed at homosexuality than gay as happiness or festivity. One would surmise, however, that gay people could experience gaiety as could straight people but it would seem the correct term to describe the state of homosexuality with respect to the word gay would be “gayness.” But then again, don’t ask me. Who do you think I am, William Safire?

So the usage of gay in the happy, upbeat sense seems very outmoded, antiquated, démodé, passé, moth-eaten, or even downright queer.

But alas gay in senses other than homosexuality is not nearly as obsolete as some of the words one may find on the page of “23 Obscure and Obsolete Words.” Here are a few examples:

“BOANTHROPY – A type of insanity in which a man thinks he is an ox.” Perhaps this type of insanity was more prevalent when oxen were more in vogue. Today, some insane people think they are Donald Trump, including Donald Trump.

“GROAK – To watch people silently while they are eating, hoping they will ask you to join them.” Although the term itself may be anachronistic, groaking is alive and well. To paraphrase Jimmy Carter: “I have groaked in my heart.”

“PERISTEROPHOBIA – Fear of pigeons.” Hmm, one who suffers from this phobia should stay well away from Union Station in Washington, D.C.

“SUPPEDANEUM – A foot support for crucifix victims.”
And we are all quite thankful that this has fallen out of modern usage.

Oh well, I guess all words eventually end up on the shelf where they stay until we accidentally knock them off and they come crashing to the floor that is humanity. Is that profound, ironic, or just plain drivel? Yes. Yes it is.

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