Is your fad speak up to date?

    24 October 2019

    Our culture is changing at a rapid pace. It wasn’t very long ago, that people felt part of their community, were vaguely patriotic and we had a broad sense of what was right and wrong. Now our cultural values are transforming so quickly, it is hard to keep up.

    Each new fad explodes onto the scene and demands that we re-shape our worldview and change our behaviour – #MeToo, trans education, LGBTQI+ pride, climate activism, slave-trade shame – it’s difficult to keep up. Jokes that would lighten the mood, can now create an uncomfortable silence or an interview with the office inclusivity counsellor.

    What can and cannot be said changes so frequently, that we are unable to understand what is socially acceptable. Most of us simply do not have the time to keep up.

    So, the only practical strategy is for us to adapt our public behaviour and language to suit each new cultural fashion. We all want to be accepted for the lovely people that we are, so let’s play the game. Don’t say what you think; instead, anticipate what you think will be ‘acceptable’ and stick to the script.

    Here’s your guide to right-on Fad Speak:

    Situation: Pride Month

    You work at a bank that is celebrating LGBTQI+ Pride month and your manager asks you to show that you are an ally by wearing a rainbow hairband.

    What you may think:
    We treat everyone equally and I don’t really care about the sex lives of our customers.

    What you say:
    Thanks, it’s our responsibility to convey the truth that money is not homophobic and credit cards are gender fluid.

    What NOT to say:
    I will begin each interaction with a new customer by updating them on my sexual preferences and ask them about theirs. Let’s break taboos in banking and celebrate sex! Customers who open up should be given a £5 bonus.

    Situation: Pronouns Team Meeting

    At a team meeting, your manager has, on instruction from HR, to ask everyone to state their gender / sex pronouns.

    What you may think:
    You’re having a laugh.

    What you say:
    My pronoun is Mx because I am a Cisgender person.

    What NOT to say:
    I’m not sure what mine is, but I think that the HR manager who forced you to do this is a Wkr, or possibly a FckWit.

    Situation: Sustainability Action Day

    You have been asked to join the ‘Sustainability Action day’ at work.

    What you might think:
    Isn’t this company sustainable if it makes decent products that people buy, pays my wage and makes enough profits to keep the investors happy?

    What you say:
    Let’s declare that we’ll be plastic-free by Friday and carbon neutral by Christmas.

    What NOT to say:
    Let’s re-wild the office. Frank could dress up as a wild boar and Tamsin could stalk around like a lioness. No, even better, let’s all give up our annual leave to join the Extinction rebellion demo dressed as Gollum and the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

    Situation: Someone mentions Brexit

    At a dinner party, the guests erupt in laughter when a diner says “It’ll be so funny when those northern Leave voters lose their jobs after Brexit”

    What you might think:
    Oh god, where do I start.

    What you say:
    Ha-ha, and they’ll still want to go on holiday to Spain!

    What NOT to say:
    Let’s do a swap with the EU. We’ll keep all the EU citizens who have moved to the UK and the EU can have all the British people who call themselves ‘citizens of Europe’. Who’s up for that?

    Situation: Climate Guilt

    Outside the school gates, one parent asks you “And, what are you doing to encourage little Lucy to tackle climate change?”

    What you might think:
    I’m not really in a position to change anything on that scale.

    What you say:
    Oh, we recycle everything and I’m thinking about going to work on an electric scooter and replacing our gas boiler with a thermal heat pump.

    What NOT to say:
    I’m going nuclear

    Using right-on Fad Speak is the easiest way to stay sane and get on in life. The next fad will be along soon, so get practising.