Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Whitebread Wired

Wired posted a truly strange article about a cultural trend in Britain that has teens and aspiring MCs rhyming over instrumental beats played on their cell phones. While that sounds like an interesting grass roots use of technology, the author of the "article" proceeds to put "quotation marks" around a bunch of "slang" terms she has interjected into the story.

Nothing makes your analysis of pop culture sound more ridiculous than putting these quotation marks around slang terms. These are the people that ask Will Smith in interviews what "getting jiggy" with it mean, or want Ludacris to give a dissertation on the origins of the word "chickenhead."

If you are writing a hip piece on a cutting edge trend, write it well enough that your readers can figure out these words from the context of the story. The second you insert quotes around words like "hype" and "jam," you undermine any insight you think you are providing into this street culture. You immediately sound lame and it becomes dubious that you have any type of insider perspective on what your writing about. If I wrote about ballroom dancing and had to put quotes around "fox trot" it would be ridiculous. But somehow, because it is a street culture phenomenon, all the pale-faces feel the need to put quotes around everything because young people use some creativity in their vocabulary. Anyone that took the SAT's can figure out what "flow" means in the sentence "rappers want to try out their flow over beats." The quotes are "unnecessary."

Rant over.

(The second page of the article is actually interesting - it talks about how cell phone companies haven't been able to capitalize on the trend at all. The tie-in to Grime is interesting too, as the music's low production quality makes mimicing the sound fairly easy for aspiring youths. This could have been a great article, but I tuned out about three paragraphs in)

1 comment(s):

  • I wanted to write a comment with a bunch of psuedo-slang words in quotation marks, but that would be tackier than Von Dutch hats. I agree with you one hundo. that's it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:02 PM  

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