If heroic souls get medals for rescuing drowning toddlers and even rescuers of cats up trees get hearty rounds of thanks, what do you get for rescuing a word? Whatever it is, the platinum version should go to Peter Coleman in the Spectator Australia (5 May 2012) who, describing the characteristics of a typical Anzac Day march, writes that the "mood is gay, not solemn" and concludes: "So we re-enact this Australian carnival every year in the sad, gay and rowdy Anzac March." Though I am sure there are not lacking, at comedy festivals or in university departments of "Queer Studies", those who would endorse Coleman's usage if he intended it in the debased modern sense of gay, this indefatigable writer deserves the thanks of everyone who cares about the language for defying the sniggerers and the activists and using this expressive little word as, say, Wordsworth did.

12 May 2012

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