Sunday, August 14, 2005
My Name Is Pops And I Wear An Ass-hat
Before I get started, a couple of housekeeping points to make:
1) Since Technorati has gone all-but tits-up since it was "upgraded", I've been getting behind on keeping my list of mutual links up to date since I can't easily tell when I get a new link somewhere anymore. For those of you who are new around here who may have added the Bucket to your blogrolls and haven't seen the courtesy reciprocated, I apologize. I know you must be frustrated as it probably looks, as you see my list, that it's about as easy to get added to as Paris Hilton's Sidekick.
And now you're thinking with six-month old references turned into crappy jokes, you don't mind being left off so much anymore.
Alternate reasons for non-immediate-reciprocation may include the facts that a) I don't like you b) I like you, but your blog sucks c) I'm horrendously lazy. And while one or more of those things may well be true, officially I'm sticking with the Technorati excuse. Thanks for your cooperation.
2) Just to clear up some confusion with regard to something I said in Friday's post, my youngest son is not actually named "Eustace" (with or without the quotation marks). I apologize for leading you on. I know the confusion came from the fact that in the same sentence, I said my wife had tried to stab me with an ice-pick while I was sleeping. That part was totally true. She says there was a fly on my face and she was going to kill it, Miyagi-style, except instead of chopsticks, ice-pick. I have chosen to believe her.
I'm grateful for the existence of blogs. They have given me a way to express myself that utilizes and highlights my abundant and wondrous talent for the written word.
I know "wondrous and abundant" may sound conceited (not to mention rambling and over-wrought), but please understand that they are only appropriate relative to my other faculties. I can't do math, I can't dance, I'm the world's slowest runner and I throw like a girl. A girl with no arms. Yes, it's that bad.
So if the internet had been swept away by a sudden craze that involved interpretive dance to twist my body into hieroglyphics that would spell out word-problems to be solved by making an appropriate number of jump-shots, I'd be totally fucked.
Luckily for me, it's this instead. Like I said: grateful.
What I enjoy the most is the ability and freedom to make shit up. Whole words and sentences conjured out of nothing, the only requirement being intelligibility with little or no regard to proper form or usage precedents. For instance, that whole last bit may or may not actually be a sentence.
To me the most fascinating part for me is the jargon. All subcultures develop a descriptive reference vocabulary that (by and large) only makes sense inside the circle. Sometimes the motive for usage is professional exactitude (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and sometimes because it sounds funny (fucktard) and sometimes because snobby bastards have too much goddamn time on their hands and want to make the rest of us look stupid (canis lupus familiaris my ass... it's a dog, Poindexter).
I would argue (and this will be controversial) that blog-invented slang and jargon generally fall into the second category. Please, send your angry e-mails to me at email@example.com and we can discuss your disagreement in graphic detail. Wear something slinky. You know how I like it.
But since language is a liquid, living thing--a life-cycle that seems to be accelerated by the internet, though I'm not 100% sure on that--words and phrases come and go with alarming speed. One day everyone's all "Sit on it, Potsie!" and the next we're like "Sit on what? And who are you calling 'potsy'?"
A more recent example is the word "ass-hat". There was a time not so long ago when everyone and anyone with whom you disagreed was an ass-hat (or: asshat, but I prefer the hyphenated alternative). Guy cuts you off on the freeway? Ass-hat. Wage-slave puts too much froth in your Starbucks? Ass-hat. Everyone involved in Star Wars Episode I? Ass-hat. Pitcher can't catch the return throw from the catcher with a guy on third in the bottom of the ninth in a tie game between two teams tied for first place in their division? Total fucking ass-hat. Seriously, that still pisses me off.
It didn't matter that no one had ever seen or could even clearly imagine what exactly this hat made of ass involved; it was a word. It had life, it had context, it had usage.
But alas, "ass-hat" seems to have run its course. It saddens me because it had such potential. Language is a fickle bitch and not every word pleases. For every ubiquitous "cool", a word used in thousands of instances even when there is no measurable drop in temperature, there are dozens upon dozens of forgotten words like "tubular", which once again (thankfully) means simply "shaped like a tube".
Grody. Gnarly. Far out. Tripindicular. Rad. Groovy.
Hey, is it just me or has almost all the phased-out slang come from valley girls or hippie burn-outs? Maybe language knows what it's doing.
Outside the blogosphere even, language keeps moving, old words melted down, puddled together and reforged into something new within subcultures and friendship circles everywhere, even sometimes escaping into the culture at large.
Anyone else see the new Chrysler commercial with Lee Iacocca and Snoop Dogg? Loaded with the new slang that Snoop and his posse have been trying to force down our throats for a few years now. I have no idea what Snoop said in any of it, but he did refer to himself once as "tha dee-oh-double-jizzle".
Does that sound filthy to anyone else? Anyone? No? Just me?
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 4.4