A little more info, at HuffPo:
The video, posted December 23, features the Republican presidential hopeful's New Hampshire staffers decked out in Santa hats, singing to the tune of "Deck the Halls." While the group sings of Newt's solutions stopping Obama's "trauma," one staffer dons an elf outfit and runs around Gingrich's New Hampshire office.So... maybe the problem was the implication that an "elf outfit" is "gay apparel." (Paging David Sedaris.)
In other news... a teacher in a Michigan elementary school changed the "Deck the Halls" lyrics after the kids laughed at "Don we now our gay apparel." She made it "bright apparel" and then got publicly criticized for not turning it into a "teachable moment." Video at the link of the principal telling the reporter: "We have an anti-discrimination and bullying policy that includes sexual orientation, and so, going forward, the teacher will be addressing: this is how we're supposed to be reacting, this is how to be respectful about this."
"Gay" is not a bad word... I agree. But can you really teach people not to laugh at the silly line "Don we now our gay apparel"? Nothing makes you want to laugh more than being forbidden to laugh. And "gay" is supposed to mean mirthful. Where's the mirth? If mirth is forbidden because we must be respectful and ever on the alert for incipient bullying, then I think you need to pick another song. But "Deck the Halls" is one of the best secular Christmas songs.
What are you going to do? Maybe we need to recognize that music is not compatible with the highest values of the public schools of the United States:
It's better that our dear youth spend their valuable time in learning respect for all minority groups and essential and useful bullying resisting skills and fill their time with teachable moments and healthy recreations instead of music.ADDED: My son Chris tells me about the time, years ago, when he was in a public school chorus that had to sing the song "Scarlet Ribbons" and the kids were forbidden to laugh about the line "I peeked in and on her bed/In gay profusion lying there..." Chris IM's:
we had to practice a lot to get to the point where we wouldn't laugh on that line, and we had been able to do it in the last rehearsals, but then in the performance someone laughed, that made everyone laugh, and it made you laugh and you had to cover your face and sort of put your head downIt almost seems like bullying to put the kids through that! [LATER: I just realized that the "you" in his description referred to me! It still makes me laugh right now.]