A few words from Sir Ian

Passed on to me by Mary Ballard: Sir Ian McKellen proclaiming a gay pride slogan (not one I have — yet — on a t-shirt):

Observation: the slogan comes in two parts, together replacing the gay pride slogan of my youth (a few years ago):

We’re here / We’re queer / Get used to it

The in-your-face first part of the older slogan has been replaced by a simple statement of fact (and modest, too, making an existential claim well short of the universal We Are Everywhere), the second part by a more currently fashionable exhortation. (At least, many people seem to feel there’s a fashion for “get over it”. I haven’t tried to collect data on this version as opposed to “get used to it”.)

Observation: I don’t know whether something is intended by the bold color choice (flaming red and black), and if so, what, but it’s an interesting alternative to more traditional pink or lavender.

Observation: yes, that’s a Stonewall shirt, here.

Observation: somebody seems to feel that the shirt is hilarious, a suitable target for mockery. But then the range of images on hilarious.com is pretty wide.

Observation: a number of commenters on hilarious.com identify Ian McKellen as Gandalf, period, as if that’s what he had been knighted for.

Observation: yes, Sir Ian is very old, by which I mean that he’s at least a year older than I am. Ok, not by much, but still more than a year. (Nancy Pelosi is younger than he is, but only by about ten months, which means that by my metric she’s old but not very old.)

8 Responses to “A few words from Sir Ian”

  1. Rick S Says:

    To me, there’s a slight difference in connotation between “get used to it” and “get over it”. While the former was intentionally (more than?) a little aggressive in the Gay Pride context, it was not inherently so in its connotations. Certainly, it’s less aggressive in other contexts. For instance, when a couple replaces steak with hamburger on the dinner table in order to save money, “Get used to it” suggests–or at least might suggest–shared suffering and an invitation to be stoic.

    In contrast, “Get over it!” to me invariably sounds exactly equivalent to “Stop your whining; it’s boring!” If my significant other were to say it to me, my feelings would definitely be hurt. It’s just brutally dismissive.

    But then again, maybe that’s just me. Most of the people I hang out with are decades my juniors, and once in a while some expression I’ve picked up from them evokes associations in me that are older than my friends are. (Fortunately, while we’re all keenly aware of the generation gap between us, it doesn’t seem to get in the way of our friendship.)

  2. Alan Palmer Says:

    The newer T-shirt doesn’t announce that the wearer is gay; just that “some people” are. It could therefore be worn by anyone, whatever their sexuality.

  3. arnold zwicky Says:

    To Rick S: I too have the impression that “get over it” is more peremptory than “get used to it”, and as a result that the version on the Stonewall (U.K.) t-shirts (and posters, buttons, bumper stickers, etc.) is a bracing kick: a mild statement, then a stern order.

    To Alan Palmer: Nice point. I’m not sure that Stonewall (U.K.) appreciates it, though, since the t-shirts seem to be marketed entirely to an LGBT audience. Of course, it’s entirely possible that they hope that people in this audience will buy t-shirts to give to supportive straight friends.

    But it would be nice if there were an outreach sales effort, along the lines of Equality California efforts on behalf of “marriage equality”. (My local farmer’s market has a nice motherly lady giving out stickers and buttons, and collecting donations, for EQ CA. Of course, this is Palo Alto.)

  4. irrationalpoint Says:

    In the UK, the slogan also occasionally appears on the sides of buses and billboards. Stonewall have done well making this a highly prominent campaign. Alan Palmer’s observation is a relevant one here: I think Stonewall have done some publicity stuff getting celebrities (some gay, some not) photographed wearing the T-shirt and making anti-homophobia statements.

    Observation: I don’t know whether something is intended by the bold color choice (flaming red and black), and if so, what, but it’s an interesting alternative to more traditional pink or lavender.

    I suspect that’s not an accident actually. It’s a criticism that’s sometimes made of Stonewall by other more vibrant queer rights groups that Stonewall tends to focus heavily on the rights of Respectable Gays (TM). Certainly there’s very little action or discussion from Stonewall about people who are gender-bending, less binary-conforming, less socially privileged, or trans. So I’m not surprised that they’re using imagery that distance them from more traditional “flamboyant” or “butch” discourse or imagery.

    (Hmmm…musing on the various possible meanings of “traditional” in this context…)


  5. irrationalpoint Says:

    “celebrities (some gay, some not)”

    I should have said “some publicly out as gay, some not”. Oops.


  6. mollymooly Says:

    @irrationalpoint: do you really intend the implicature that the celebrities were all gay but not all out? If not, I suggest “celebrities, not necessarily gay” instead.

  7. irrationalpoint Says:

    Molly Mooly: no, I meant I didn’t know if they were gay/out or not, because I live under a rock and am ill-informed on matters relating to celebrities (rather than because of cynicism on my part). Your formulation works too.


  8. Alan Palmer Says:

    Following up on irrationalpoint’s um … point about getting celebrities, gay or not, to wear the T-shirts, I’d imagine that if the shirts were pink or lavender that might be a step too far for some of them.

    That said, the Stade Français rugby team often appears in pink shirts (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stade_Fran%C3%A7ais_Paris#Name.2C_logo_and_colours). There are few groups of men more aggressively hetero than a rugby team, what goes on in their scrums nothwithstanding …

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