Archive for the ‘Slang’ Category

Playing for laughs

February 22, 2017

… or, playing over the top, and in fact doing this knowingly while winking at the audience, so that you might want to say: camping it up. I refer to the Netflix version of A Series of Unfortunate Events, in which Neil Patrick Harris (NPH) plays the villain for laughs, while Patrick Warburton plays the author-narrator, Lemony Snicket, ditto, and a bunch of others — notably Joan Cusack, K. Todd Freeman, and Alfre Woodard — join them.

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toonmanteaus

February 9, 2017

Two cartoons about/with portmanteaus: a One Big Happy and a Zippy:

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(#2)

smad about having to dwipe. In #1, Ruthie invents portmanteaus to suit her condition: sad + mad, dust + wipe.

The Zippy is more complex. First, the Sharknado films (with the portmanteau sharknado = shark + tornado) are old stuff on this blog, though I don’t recall having seen the shark-headed surfer image (a hybrid being to accompany the portmanteau) before. But the title duditude = dude + attitude was new to me — though the word has a fair presence on the net.

The focus of the strip, however, isn’t on portmanteaus, but on shifts in slang fashions (in white middle-class American speakers, I’d guess): on the claimed spread of awesome (at the expense of great) and the claimed decline of cool. Google Ngram shows no such changes in books (though great has been declining overall for some time), but of course the claim is about informal speech and writing. I haven’t checked the relevant COCA material, but my subjective impression — and it is only that — is that the first claim is broadly accurate while the second is dubious. (On the other hand, the second claim might be broadly accurate for young speakers.)

The rarest of slurs

February 8, 2017

Yesterday’s weird slur bulletin from Iowa (hat tip to LJ Yanney on Facebook): in the Des Moines Register, “Adel lawmaker accused of using gay slur” by Molly Longman:

A central Iowa lawmaker has been accused of using a gay slur while making fun of a former political opponent at a public forum over the weekend.
State Rep. Ralph Watts, an Adel Republican, said in an interview Monday that the critics are wrong about the slur: They misunderstood a homonym.
“It was not a slur,” Watts said.
A video taken at the Saturday forum at the Adel library shows Watts referring to business owner Bryce Smith — the Democrat whom Watts defeated in November to win his seventh term in the House — as either “Red Ryder” or “red rider.”
The terms sound the same and are one letter apart. But the meanings are drastically different.
One Iowa, the Des Moines-based advocacy group, said in a news release Monday evening that “red rider” is a slur used to describe a gay man.
A “Red Ryder” is the brand of BB gun Ralphie asked for in the film “A Christmas Story” before his mother told him, “You’ll shoot your eye out.”
… Watts said later Monday that he didn’t know the term “red rider ” was a slur.

Hardly anyone else does either. If you sling a slur in a wasteland, does it sting?

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Poppin’ Fresh in a pink dress

January 22, 2017

(It starts with dough and cross-dressing and eventually touches on several sexy topics. So: definitely racy, but probably not enough to frighten the horses in the street.)

Today’s Rhymes With Orange portrays the kinky side of the Pillsbury Doughboy, Poppin’ Fresh (the advertising icon and mascot of the Pillsbury Company):

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The Doughboy cross-dressing in an adorable pink skirt — a fluted cupcake liner, from the set on the kitchen counter.

Now: some remarks on cupcakes; a note on sexual undercurrents in the Poppin’ Fresh ads; and extensive discussion of sentient, speaking figures (often anthropomorphic, as here) in advertising, cartoons, or fictions of other kinds, figures that are in fact foodstuffs.

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Meaty matters

January 19, 2017

(Mostly about language, but male bodies and bodyparts play significant roles.)

Yesterday, a posting about a fantasy agency supplying male hustlers, featuring two meat + N compounds: meat market ‘sexual marketplace’ and meatmen ‘men considered as sexual objects’ (as bodies as wholes, but especially as assemblages of sexual parts — cock, balls, and ass).  The interplay of two senses of meat here (the body, especially the male body, as a whole vs. the central masculine bodypart, the penis) led me to two joking uses of meat, in a Pat Byrnes New Yorker cartoon from 2001 (in which the ‘animal flesh as food’ sense of meat is central) and a piece of advice on the Usenet newsgroup soc.motss from Joseph Francis some years ago (in which the ‘body as sexual object’ sense is central).

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Gay men on the new subway walls

January 5, 2017

Widely reported, in the middle of stories about the extension of the 2nd Avenue subway in NYC, a piece about Vik Muniz’s mural in the 96th St. station, with over three dozen mosaics of typical New Yorkers waiting for a train, including this gay male couple holding hands:

There’s a nice story about these men, “Meet the Gay Couple Holding Hands in That Groundbreaking NYC Subway Mural”, an interview with the men by Alexander Kacala on the (informatively named) Unicorn Booty site on the 3rd.

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Mac Daddy Santa

December 23, 2016

Exciting interest in the Twitterverse at the moment, this holiday tweet from Tiger Woods (the real Tiger Woods) yesterday:

Xmas tradition that my kids love. Mac Daddy Santa is back! –TW

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Batty stuff

December 12, 2016

Over on ADS-L, there’s been riffing on batshit and other bat-crazy stuff. Which led things to the comic strip Shoe and its character Batson D. Belfry:

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Senator Batson D. Belfry, beltway blowhard, was originally a take-off of former Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neil. He has evolved over the years and, these days, typifies what outside-the-beltway Americans consider to be the quintessential politician: You can’t trust him as far as you can throw him, and he’s so big, you can’t throw him very far. (link to the strip site)

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The eyes reject

December 9, 2016

From a Facebook discussion between a black woman T, a white guy C, and me, over the interpretation of a baffling — because drastically poor in detail — news story involving two young black men, a set of store employees, and a policeman: the guys asked for sliced cheese; an employee said the store didn’t carry it; the employee then herded the staff into a back room, locked it, and called the police; the cop who turned up told the guys they had to leave the store or they’d be arrested. T and I suspected that race might have been involved in the incident, and I was especially dubious about the sliced cheese part of the story; C maintained that race was not at issue, and in any case we didn’t have enough information to suspect that it did. At this point, T to C:

please don’t use your woke status to affirm your reading of the story and to presume that Arnold is alone in his side eye.

That is, my figurative side eye (or side-eye): I didn’t actually look sideways to express distrust or disbelief, but I certainly did express those attitudes (verbally rather than visually).

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Camping it up

December 3, 2016

The Steam Room Stories video of December 1st, “Camping It Up”, which came to me this morning, is all about performing effeminacy; you can watch it here. (Actors: Ray Tezanos, Evan Bonifant, Raif Derrazi.)

Two of the steam room guys are gaily camping it up — girl, bitch as affectionate address terms, campy repartee, sexual inuendo, gay voice, effeminate hand gestures and facial expressions — when a third regular (played by Derrazi) betrays his heterosexuality (Derrazi, the model/actor/bodybuilder, is in fact gay), which means to the others that they’re not in the gay space they had thought they were, so they switch to butch mode and turn on him angrily. Derrazi confesses he just wanted to be one of them, because straight men are so boring.

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