It’s time to surrender the word ‘Banter’
Banter is not about witty humour anymore, but about attention-seeking by being as controversial as possible in the loudest possible way.
Banter has become boring. This article isn’t about humour snobbery – I have no desire to take a ‘my humour is funnier than your humour’ attitude (even though I am pretty hilarious). This isn’t even a criticism of the chauvinistic, homophobic and sexist elements of banter – that’s a tired, over-criticised subject and it generalises all banter, most of which is essentially harmless, as deeply offensive. I’m just really bored of everything that the word ‘banter’ has come to entail.
Witty and original humour between friends that plays on inside jokes is what banter used to mean. It doesn’t even come close to that definition anymore. Wit is meant to be inventive and intelligent – bleating out ‘that’s what she said’ in response to any phrase with a weak sexual innuendo in it falls well short. There is nothing remotely original about the 49,058 posts (at the time of writing) on truelad.com which all rely on adding LAD on the end of an anecdote to demonstrate how ‘banterous’ the story in question is.
The ‘between friends’ aspect is well and truly dead – you see, banter just isn’t banter if it’s not loud and in public, preferably involving shirtlessness and chanting. Finally, I can’t help but feel the meaning of ‘inside joke’ has been stretched to its limits when, as seen on the UCL ski trip, a group of lads get down on all fours naked and stick their thumbs up the person in front of them (in what I suppose must be called a Human Banterpede) all in the name of banter.
The definition of ‘banter’ has completely changed: it’s not about witty humour anymore, but about attention-seeking by being as controversial as possible in the loudest possible way. I want a new word for behaviour and conversation that is actually funny in an inventive and witty way – the word ‘banter’ has been ruined by, well, all the shit banter it has come to refer to. They say sarcasm is the lowest form of wit; I can’t help but disagree. BoycottingbanterLAD.