Whelp, it’s a Christmas story…in October…before Halloween. Sigh.
And as opposed as I am to discussing the most wonderful time of the year before the time of the year has arrived, this story from HuffPo just didn’t light my Yuletide log in a blaze of glory.
So, before I rant, look at the “fun” picture. Notice anything? Hearing the melody of “Deck the Halls” racing in your mind? Yeah, so much for that tradition as the lovely people at Hallmark has decided to take folklore into its hands and change the lyrics of the song.
Why? You guessed it. Because of a word that had nothing to do with the world in which we live in 2013.
More about that word after the jump:
Hey Hallmark, do you really think that “don we now our gay apparel” meant nipple tassels, hot pants and Daisy Dukes in the 16th century? Did someone research the work of colonists and settlers to whoop up on the Puritans for all their anti-gay marriage protests? I’m just interested because same-sex couples have been getting busy since before the Hebrew slaves built the Pyramids.
A spokeswoman for Hallmark said the line was intentionally changed to prevent misinterpretation by holiday shoppers.
“When the lyrics to ‘Deck the Halls’ were translated from Gaelic and published in English back in the 1800s, the word ‘gay’ meant festive or merry,” Kristi Ernsting told The Huffington Post in an email. “Today it has multiple meanings … the trend of wearing festively decorated Christmas sweaters to parties is all about fun, and this ornament is intended to play into that, so the planning team decided to say what we meant: ‘fun.'”
She added: “That’s the spirit we intended and the spirit in which we hope ornament buyers will take it.”
That’s sweet. Someone has been researching history on Wikipedia. You know, I’m willing to bet Kristi’s paycheck that a great majority of your ornament shoppers hum “Deck the Halls” and don’t even snicker when that line comes up in their heads. No, they just follow the bouncing jingle ball and keep on spending.
I’m a linguaphile, a wordsmith by trade. To wit, I appreciate etymology — why words became words. Some of the worst abusive words known to man began as meaning something completely different. Had it not been from some half-wits misappropriating the English vernacular, Hallmark wouldn’t get the PC bug to do this in the first place.
The word “gay” seems to have its origins around the 12th century in England, derived from the Old French word ‘gai’, that meant “joyful”, “carefree” or “full of mirth.”
However, around the early parts of the 17th century, the word began to be associated with immorality. Then, the meaning of the word somehow changed to mean “addicted to pleasures and dissipations. Often euphemistically: ‘Of loose and immoral life'”. Two centuries later, the word morphed into a woman who was a prostitute and a gay man was someone who slept with a lot of women, often prostitutes.
And now today, a “gay” man isn’t known to sleep with several women, but what do I know. While I don’t support destroying tradition in the name of being politically correct, I think if we were a more educating bunch about our words, we wouldn’t say half the crap we do today…and to the people we do today. Ah well, maybe that’s why I’m taking Rosetta Stone classes in Croatian.