Monday, April 19, 2010

He Was A Gay Young Man

I have been feasting on the joys of Agatha Christie over this past week - I find every five or six years I forget enough about who-done-it to be able to re-read them all. Well I don't have all of them - about 30, but certainly not the entire collection.

It is interesting to read them in date order and to get glimpses of the changing world of England and English society from the role of the various wars in changing the population bases, privations, the effect on the mental and physical heath of returned soldiers through to the clothes, the role of modernity (in which ever era), the changing face of staff within the home and the development of the "traditional" English village.

What amuses me most is the change of the meanings of words. Yes there are lots of "gay" young folk in Agatha's world and I am quite sure that none of them are same-sex attracted; there are references to "making love" with none of the implication of actual sex and the one that was new to me "slutty" referring to someone who slumped as they sat. It strikes me as somewhat obvious that these changing meanings are all in reference to sex in one way or another. Is that coincidence or indicative of the changing nature of society?

Just my thought for the morning :-)


pita-woman said...

Here's another one for you.
Waaay back when, if you said someone/thing was "queer", you just meant it was strange or odd. But somewhere along the way, it became a derogatory reference to a gay man, and I don't necessarily mean a "happy" man.
I remember learning the word queer in 1st grade, and it's proper meaning. First time I said it in front of my mother, I got a lecture about NEVER using such a word. I couldn't imagine what I'd done wrong!
on a different note...
Mountaingirl, if you'll email me your mailing address, I've got something I want to send you.

Mountaingirl said...

I remember the change in "queer" too lol - we had a lady that lived at the end of the street who was quite queer for a number of years - until she wasn't - she was "strange" instead lol