Friday, July 07, 2006


The still-burbling discontent over the BBC's defence of Chris Moyles use of "gay" in the modern sense has surged up again, as the little-known Gaydar Radio has seized the opportunity for a spot of publicity and sent a letter to ofcom about it:

"By sanctioning the derogatory use of the word gay the BBC has endorsed not only the negative use of the word gay but, more insidious, they have promoted the acceptance of a bigoted and harmful definition of gay," said the Gaydar commercial director, David Muniz, in a letter to the Ofcom standards case manager, Fiona Lennox.

This is, as we've said before, a bit of a puzzlement. Obviously, homophobia stinks and there's no place for it on the public airwaves, but clearly, Moyles wasn't being homophobic and Gaydar's letter seems to accept this. Which means that the network seems to want the BBC to be responsible for stopping the shift in changes of meanings of words. We're sure, you know, Mark Thompson would add ossifying language to the aims of the Corporation in return for an extra few thousand on the licence fee, but is that really what we want the BBC to be doing? After all, if the BBC was charged with making sure that language doesn't shift in its meanings in ways that could upset people, wouldn't they have had to have ensured that "gay" never got used on air to mean anything other than happy.

At a time when there are so many things to be worrying about - not least the rise of religious right - for the gay rights movement to suddenly be focusing on trying to save the meaning of words seems a curious misdirection of effort.


Anonymous said...

Give up on gay - it clearly means crap now. Let's start using a new word. How about "Robbie"?????

Anonymous said...

So Gaydar are assuming that the public will need Chris Moyles to make their minds up on either what "gay" can mean or what they feel about gays? I mean, I know he has a lot of listeners but surely some of them have their own opinions. What next? Attacking Matt Lucas for making cripples, teenagers and transvestites funny?

Anonymous said...

So you're saying that Chris Moyles should be able to make whatever offensive or derrogetory comments he likes because his listeners won't necessarily go along with what he says? And many people have attacked Matt Lucas for mocking the disabled and homosexuals. He usually pulls back squealing "BUT ANDY'S NOT REALLY A CRIPPLE! AND I AM A GAY SO IT IS ALLOWED!"

Paul said...

I didn't think Ofcom had any remit over the BBC?

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

anonymous #2:

Of course Moyles shouldn't be allowed to make offensive comments. The question here is if he was being homophobic when he called a ringtone 'gay'. He wasn't, and to try and turn this into a row about something else as Gaydar are serves nobody well.


Ofcom do have some remit over the BBC. They were formed by a merger of the ITC, the Radio Authority and the Broadcasting Standards Commission. The BSC covered all broadcasters, not just the commercial ones, and so Ofcom inherited their licence to meddle ("responsibilities") covering the BBC on privacy, taste and decency.

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