GenX so in the funnies

Zippy takes on the passage of the years with GenX so:

As I said about the syntactic construction in Language Log four years ago:

GenX so — so-called because it seems to have first appeared in the speech of Generation Xers (in the 80s, with the movie Heathers as a major boost for its spread) — is recognizable in speech by its characteristic high-rising-falling intonation (which distinguishes it from ordinary intensifying so, even when the intensifier is accented), but can be detected in writing only through its syntactic context: clear cases of GenX so occur in contexts that otherwise are not available for intensifiers — with dates and similar time expressions (“That is, like, so 1980s”, “It was so two years ago”), proper nouns and pronouns (“This is so Iceland”, “It’s so you”), absolute adjectives (“You are so dead!”), negatives (“It’s so not entertaining”, “A pizza delivery man who can’t find a campus address is so not my problem”), and VPs (“We so don’t have a song”, “Parker so wanted to be included”, “I am so hitting you with the September issue of Vogue!”).  There are cases — like the title of this posting [“So in style at the NYT”, 4/6/06] — that aren’t so easy to classify, but the Times editorial’s so [“This is so not amnesty”] is a solid example of a GenX use, with a negative.

GenX so is a development from ordinary intensifying so (“That is so beautiful!” ‘That is very beautiful’), which has been around since Old English.

[Since my latest medical adventure started (a few details here), I’ve been largely out of things; in that period 16 cartoons for posting piled up and at least that many new other topics. I’m still involved in a medical mystery story, but no longer in crippling pain, and I’m trying to catch up.]

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