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Sunday, March 28, 1999
By Paul Ford
How many can you spot? And when is a cliche a characteristic?
Some call them memes, I call them utter bullshit. I'm guilty of most of them. Here are 25 to start.
- White men age 18-30 writing about pimping, or using 70's Black culture references
- Alternately, White people talking about "the Man" in an ironic tone
- Or White people in their mid-to-late 30's dancing badly to Motown
- Or just appropriating anything from any other culture and subverting it to their weird pasty need for hip, detached irony
- And White guys criticizing White culture, especially criticizing White appropriation of other cultures, so that they sound cooler and actually more down than the blue-eyed guys rapping along with old Public Enemy
- Women writing long, post-feminist essays about meaningless sex
- Gay men in their 20's who call each other "bro" and roll up their bluejean cuffs
- Mentioning NAMBLA as an "I am a cool guy into weird cultural references" signifier
- Men describing their amazing careers
- Women in thrift-store dresses at New Media parties
- Every bar in New York
- Jewish People making fun of Jewish People
- Mentioning Mentioning Hitler
- Online journal validation requests
- The Society for Creative Anachronism
- Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace
- The entire breadth of Postmodernism
- The business catch-phrase "at the end of the day"
- Constructing meaning from the terrible The Matrix
- Trashing Maureen Dowd
- Trashing the media
- Trashing people who trash the media
- Online mailing lists that will be better
- Men who think they're sensitive and different because they admit they might have homoerotic tendencies when they mock wrestle and play grabass with their drunken friends
- Carping, ironic writing in personal journals
"You is a badass motherfucker, Brad."
"I be pimpin' in the Hamptons."
"Soouuuul train all the way back to Yale!"
"As a sex columnist, my sole intention is to make you feel inferior and inexperienced because you don't give blowjobs to strangers at least seven times each week."
"And that brings us up to 1982...has it really been 18 hours of me rambling continously?"
"I make 240,000 dollars a year, and I actually found this dress inside a cat's asshole!"
"Tonight I went to Superbar, and then the Egg Bar, then Twiddle, and after that, Cumtorium."
"Ah ha! And Hitler should have gassed all of them! I can say that because I'm Jewish."
"Every conversation people mention Hitler. Every TV show. Everyone is fixated on Hitler! I say this because it makes me look thoughtful and analytical. But I don't mean anything."
"Isn't that guy terrible? Don't you think he's terrible? I didn't tell you that I ran his dog over with my scooter and took all the money out of his kid's chemo fund, but he's an awful guy, right? Send me email about how awful he is, and make sure to mention how evil men are, and how I never, ever could be manipulative because I am beautiful. Here's a picture of me with my hand under my chin looking winsome."
"We are so pathetic, we wish we had died 500 years ago."
"More than just a story derived from the principles of famous racist Joseph Campbell, it's about cheaply made plastic toys."
"Look! I bought all these books by Foucault, which I will never read but will display proudly on my aluminum bookshelves. Who are Hume, Locke, Berkeley again? My clothes are made of copper wire and newspaper clippings."
"At the end of the day, we'll all get medically castrated, put on sweatsuits and Nikes, and kill ourselves."
"The ontological quandary is resolved speedily by Reeves saying 'my name is Neo!' Verily, this is a film for the ages."
"The image of babies in bottles resonates with anti-Cartesian overtones."
"Maureen Dowd is a filthy, filthy human being who would have peed on the cross."
"I watch the evening news and read the same six papers every day, for a total of 22 hours a day, and everything I read is terrible and pointless."
"Brill's Content doesn't ever focus on how ugly Dan Rather is."
"This mailing list will be a real discussion about (online life||political issues||writing), not drivel like all the others which started with exactly the same charter."
"Everybody is a little gay, but I'm still all man, babe."
"Just because I do it doesn't mean I approve."