This morning a promoted tweet appeared in my timeline from Carling. I responded to the tweet as a quote and gave two reasons as to why I wouldn’t follow them. The first was because I don’t like Carling and the second was that they used the word ‘banter’. I really don’t like the word banter, as was evident in my follow up tweet.
The response I got to this tweet I found quite amazing with a lot of people retweeting and favouriting, evidential the vast majority of people feel the same as I do. There were also a few people who suggested that I should “lighten up” as “‘banter requires it to be a two-way ribbing” and to an extent I agree with them – well not about the lightening up part.
Bantering is a game of wits that traditionally relied on repartee, jesting and humour. However, in recent years the term ‘banter’ has been misappropriated by the “laddish culture” to get away with verbally attacking someone under the guise of humour and wit. If things go too far and someone reacts to a comment then their reaction is always deflected with “I didn’t mean anything by it, it was only banter”. Subjects that are normally inappropriate sexism, racism, sexuality, all seem to be fair game under the modern banner of banter.
Now I don’t have an issue with having fun and repartee with friends as friends know what is acceptable to say to each other. Friends would not want to purposefully cause each other hurt or distress. If you have ‘friends’ that upset you through ‘banter’ then they are not your friends, you’re unfortunately just their entertainment. It is modern use of the term ‘banter’ that really annoys me. As was pointed out to me ‘banter requires it to be a two-way ribbing” so if someone has to defend the words they use by describing it as “banter”, as offence has been caused, then it is not ‘bantering’. There is no humour in causing hurt or offence, it is just bullying.