Sunday, November 20, 2005

Putrid Pop-Culture Parlance


Ever notice how certain phrases go in and out of cultural fashion? Generally, they go out of style because a large portion of idiots out there use said phrases about every 7.4 minutes in casual conversation, making the rest of the normal population sick enough to want to stop speaking altogether. Or maybe that's just me.

I remember when "Where's the beef?" was a flippant way of complaining about fast food. Then it became the punchline to a handful of dirty jokes. From there, it became part of everyday chatter, used as anything from an unsatisfied housewife's lament to a replacement for "how are you?". The little Wendy's catchphrase mutated rapidly and became a linguistic monstrosity. Other expressions that have followed that same path are "cool beans", "I'm a happy camper", "alrighty then", "whazzzzup" and just about any sentence ending with the word "bitch", as in "I'm Rick James, bitch". If people out there would just use these phrases in moderation, life would be a lot sweeter and I wouldn't have those recurring fantasies where I climb to the top of a bell tower with a high-powered rifle.

Here now, is my list of current phrases that are making me insane:

1. "My bad" - I think I mentioned this somewhere else before, but it bears repeating. Oh, it's not quite as commonplace as it used to be. It's clearly trying to die, but certain tribes of collegiate, wannabe hipsters just keep resuscitating it. Whatever happened to "oops" or "I'm sorry"? I'd even take a "sorry, dude"! This is just a phrase for people who hate grammar or who just like to bask in the glow of their own annoyance. But, if you were to point out to such a person how much those two little words irritate you, they would just say it again. And whether it was to be a smart-ass or to sincerely apologize, it's really not worth going to jail over. So, try to ignore it if you can.

2. "I heart ____" - People who talk like this are always soooo cool. At least in their own minds. This is especially popular with the "Ironic Age". I don't even know where this all started. For years and years, people have been using the heart symbol to represent love when they write something. It's just shorthand. No one ever read those messages literally. I think this all came about with that movie, I *Heart* Huckabees. It wasn't until after that came out that I started noticing people speaking in this bizarre manner. "I heart this" and "I heart that". Well, to all you heart hearters...er heart lovers, I *brain* that you all *nose*. Ha ha! Take a break from pretending to remember the '80s and figure that one out. Or do something more constructive, like trying to think up a term for Prince's old name symbol.

3. "Get er done" - All the project managers at my last job said this constantly. Funny, as they rarely got anything done.

4. "Can you hear me now?" - Yes, we can all hear you and it's hilarious. Gee, you sound just like that Verizon commercial! How clever! Now put the phone down and order your freaking yuppie latte, there are 15 people in line behind you.

5. "Jumping the couch" - Sort of a take-off on "jumping the shark", this term for being insanely, visibly in love was coined after Tom Cruise put on his little puppet show on Oprah. I hate that a catch phrase was created because of Tom Cruise, especially for an action that was so ridiculously phony. Then again, I am happy to hear the expression "Tom Cruise is a jackass", or any variation thereof, in general discussion. That one never really gets old.

These are hurting my head, so I think I'll stop at five. Feel free to chime in with your most hated phrases. And if I've offended any habitual users out there, well excuuuuuse me! My bad, dude! Like, totally fer sure omigod...sorry, Charlie. Don't have a cow. Get over it. Don't worry, be happy. Yadda yadda yadda, wubba wubba wubba...

13 comments:

Sangroncito said...

I completely agree with you. Those kind of pop culture phrases are chalk on the blackboard to my ears. I can only think of one in Brazilian Portuguese at the moment..."`ta ligado?"...which literally means "are you plugged in?"...used when asking if you understand what the other person is saying...Elismar (Amber's boyfriend) says it all the time...kind of like the English-speaker who says "you know?" after every other sentence. Grrrr.......

Pigs said...

Thank you for mentioning "Can you hear me now?" ARGH!!! I caught myself using "heart" on my blog recently. *head hung in shame*.

Celebrity Rant said...

Dude, you totally nailed that!

Bar Bar A said...

My son has "It's Rick James, Bitch" on his voicemail message and doesn't know the password to change it. Luckily no one ever calls him but me.

Yes these are all overused phrases that have out-lived their usefullness.

You know what really bugs me? It's when, you know, people say "you know" like, after every few words, you know, in like a sentence, you know????

Johnny Wadd said...

My bad has defiantly gotta go.

Homer Jay said...

Where exactly did that whole "shizzle" thing come from?

An80sNut said...

I purposely try to avoid most catch phrases but for some reason I'll always be stuck saying "cool" here and there.

Masha said...

How about when somebody randomly says "Word." after whatever you said. I'm always like, "Word what?" oh, right.
Sometimes i seriously have to go to www.urbandictionary.com so that I won't be lost in today's society.

Neo said...

Becky -The word: "Like." Add that one to the list.

BeckEye said...

Sangroncito - So, "annoying" is the same in any language? ;)

Pigs - Don't hang your head so low..I've actually used "Can you hear me now?" Yes, it's true. *Gasp* It was when that whole thing first started and I honestly caught myself saying it not to be funny, and then realized I said it. It was funny the first time.

Celebrityrant - Thanks, yo. Fer sure.

Well Woman - I have some friends who use "you know" way too much. But at least it's much less clunky than "you know what I'm saying".

Mic - True dat. (Aha, there's one I forgot!!)

Homer Jay - WHAT?? Doggie fizzle, homesizzle. (Now it's your turn to say "what?".)

80s Nut - I don't think "cool" is so much a catch phrase. I don't find it any different than saying "great", "nice" or anything along those lines. Now, using "cool beans" on a regular basis would make you "Trapped in the 80s Nut". :)

Masha - Word up. Let me clear my throat. This is how we do it.

Neo - Ummmm, well I can't put "like" on the list. Not until I break my own bad habit of using it!!

Mr. Happy said...

Funny post - You go girl!

CarpeDM said...

I am not very fond of "wuzzup." I have found myself using "Can you hear me now?" but it doesn't bother me that much because I think the Verizon guy is kind of cute.

But yeah, this post rocks (I'm from the 80's. There is a law indicating we much use the word rocks or rockin' or something using rock at least once a day. Sorry).

sotomite said...

I agree, especially about "my bad". If I were king, anyone using that lame phrase in a business meeting would be fired on the spot. Oh yeah, let's all toss out proper grammar and sound like drug dealers and thugs.

On the other hand, there are slang phrases which never lose their punch. One which jumps to mind (if only because I'm weird) is the age old scenario of an Army unit standing in formation at attention, whereupon the silence is broken by a particularly loud and flappy fart, followed by a second person immediately asking, "Captain who??".

Makes me laugh every time it happens.

 

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