Tacky (adjective): Showing poor taste or quality.
There is a lot of noise made about what is and isn’t offensive. I’m sure if you search the internet there are lengthy articles about the current state of political correctness and our society’s penchant toward the offensive. Personally I’m a huge fan of political correctness and I think it’s gets an undeserved bad rap. I tend to think a lack of language is partly to blame for the problem. There are not enough words to describe the complexities of the situation. Gray areas exist such as when a person isn’t truly offended themselves however they see something wrong with a statement. In that case offensive really isn’t appropriate because no one was actually offended but it still isn’t totally cool either. I thought about it and I purpose we bring back the word tacky. Tacky behavior or language usually comes from a place of bad judgment and ignorance rather than genuine hate and malice. Here’s an example of when to use the word tacky:
Recently I was listening to the podcast Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend and she was interviewing comedian Greg Fitzsimmons. Right of the bat Greg started talking about a gay friend. He used adjectives like fruity and light in the loafers. At one point he took a second to think of a better word to describe the man and he landed on the word faggy. Yes faggy. Their whole conversation continued to be a minefield because they were talking about gay men (without any gay men present) and making so many incorrect stereotypical assumptions my mind was spinning. It reminded me of that one straight friend who’s been told about Grindr hookups so now he thinks he has complete insight into the entire gay world. I wasn’t offended and in fact the only emotion I felt was a twinge of disappointment. This is a situation that I would call tacky. Greg Fitzsimmons said some incredibly tacky things. Do I think Greg is homophobic? No. I think he was trying to be funny and used astoundingly poor taste in order to make a point. No real harm done because he just being tacky. As we’ve seen society can sometimes overuse the word offensive and that’s why we need the word tacky. I challenge you to use tacky more often when you encounter these types of situations. When someone posts an inappropriate comment on a Facebook picture of your family: tacky. When you hear someone blame all the world’s problems on millennials: tacky. When a friend posts outlandish bullshit just to get attention: tacky. Like so many overused buzzwords before it (diva, genius, literally) the word offensive has a purpose and place but it isn’t always the best word for every situation. It’s time for tacky to make a comeback.