Tuesday, July 29, 2008

They're just weeerds, so I'm just sayin'

"Words have not only meanings, but..." also have multiple meanings, and we as humans naturally conjure up images in our mind based on words, and their meanings. For example, if I say "I drive a red sports car" (I do not, my sports cars are both blue) then you understand that "red" is something like a rose color, or a heart, or a cherry, or a strawberry, something "red" if you will, but lets not get into that discussion today. Let us review some words.

First, let's review the words "a" or "the" as in "a nose" or "a toe". If I suggest that I have "a" nose, you understand that I, as a human, have one single nose. In general, human entities have a single nose. If I suggest that I have "a toe" you would ask what happened to my other 9, because again, we as humans understand that human entities have, in general, 10 toes. We should be careful about the use of the article "a" so as not to be disingenuous and/or ambiguous in our meaning. For example, each entity has "a voice" and we as humans understand that each entity has a single voice, just one. Those of us who are fortunate enough to be appointed or elected representatives of some group of people can indeed suggest we are "a voice" for our organization, for example, I am "a voice for FBody.com" which is my car club. People freely join my car club with the understanding that I run the car club, my rules. However, I am NOT "a voice for car enthusiasts", which is a much broader group of people, most of whom have no clue who I am and probably don't want me to speak for them. If one should suggest they are "a voice" for something, they should be specific in who or what they are "a voice" for and ensure that everyone understands exactly which entity they represent and they should also ensure that everyone knows that they represent only one small entity, not everyone.

Moving on, we should examine the word "spam". [When I was your age!] "Spam" was this meat like food in a blue can, yellow letters I believe. I suppose it is one of the worst things like food I have ever eaten but this is what "spam" is, or was. However, today the word "spam" is associated with those annoying, unsolicited emails that show up in your inbox thanks to Monty Python and a geek on usenet back in the early 80s. In this case, it is interesting to see that the meaning of a word, like "spam" has changed drastically over time. Ask a youth today "did you get spam today?" and the answer is probably "yes, in my email". Had you asked a youth back in the 60s "did you get spam today?" the answer might have been "eww gross, who eats that crap" or "I'd never buy that garbage".

Continuing forward with more words, if I were a cool Youth living here in Monmouth County, I might turn on my radio and rock out with my cock out (do the kids still say that? didn't think so...) to Hot 97. For anyone who is not in the know (let me guess, the kids don't say that either?) Hot 97 "IS HIP HOP AND R&B".
As of today, the top song on this awesome radio station is by an "artist" called "The Dream f/ Young Jeezy" by the title of "I Love Your Girl". Being the BIG FAN of Hot 97 that I am, I enjoy singing along:
Oh He bought chu dat watch?
such a nice guy he's so generous!
U sucka ass nigga U let's go nigga
Now being the *HUGE* HIP HOP AND R&B fan that I am, I sing the number one tune without worry, including singing the word "nigga" which I believe is short (or "shawty" if you listen to HOT 97!) for "the n-word".
I also love to sing the bridge to the song which is:
As she runs her fingers through her hair, he tryna call her over there but she like, F**k! That nigga! She drop it down to the floor, I'm like shawty you should go, but she like F**k! That nigga! Call it envy, I want her on me, all up in my head, now she in my bed,
I don't know what any of that means. I could try to do a word analysis on it but the punctuation, spelling and grammar all are an epic failure.

Suppose I go on to the number two song today which is by the "artist" by the name of "Lil Wayne" titled "A Milli". Again, being the BIG FAN that I am, I sing along:
Im Millie in here wit them Young Money Milli on aires,Think you really pop a wheelie in air,Mac Milli..the Vanilli’s in here.. im a rascal dont get whopped,I get brats who dont give top,I get tassel, pass you wit a flow you could never put a brake on,An I break on anything a nigga take on,
Again, I just don't know what that all means, but how cool am I for blasting that funk out my speakers!? The kids don't say that either, "hot damn"... oppps. hrm. LOLs!

So today, when I say the word "nigga", most people picture some gangster (or is it "gangsta"? see,) thug, and I don't mean some Italian fella with a Tommy Gun, I mean some black skinned gentleman with a sideways pistol. It's also fair to suggest that "nigga" is the same as "nigger", just pronounced with an "a" sound instead of the "er" sound, just as "tryna" in my song lyrics is instead of "trying to". Overtime, the word "nigger" has changed from being a derogatory term for black slaves instead of word that is used to glorify black stereotypes.

Unfortunately, just as my grandmother, who is from a very different generation of humans, still associates spam with that disgusting meat product, there are some older generations who still associate "nigger" and/or "nigga" with a derogatory term. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your politics, the word has changed meanings and it is no longer used to offend.

Of course, cutting someone's nuts off still hasn't changed meaning - it still means castrating someone as far as I know.

Finally, what makes the internet great is that we can freely use the words "a", "spam", "nigga' and the like and the public can freely chose to read, or not read, our words. Additionally, through the internet, our audience is global. I have several frequent readers from California and many from Florida, had I been publishing a newspaper, it would be impossible for me to reach this large of an audience. Again, fortunately, or unfortunately, "newspapers" are going the way of the word "nigger" changing in meaning from print press paper product to an online conglomeration of articles. Sadly, there are those who still think that newspapers are important and influential, as they are from an older generation. For traditional newspapers to remain relevant, they will have to adopt the new online version of "newspapers", just as for older folks will have to adopt the new meaning of "nigga" vs the old version of the word.

For that matter, "fat" back in the 1930s probably mean a 6ft tall 250lb man, these days, I think that is called "husky" and "fat" is when you hit 300lbs, go figure, another word which has changed. Likewise, I'm a geek, which in the 1970s meant skinny with glasses and a pocket protector, maybe bad breath to boot, but I'm cruising at a healthy 6ft/190lb and a rather muscular build and many of my geek friends are in equal or better shape, I suppose "geek" is a changed word as well. In any case, I am indeed "a" geek, one of many geeks because we know there is more than one geek in the world, however, I only have "a" voice, one of many voices in the world, but "a" voice for myself and no one else who claims to represent youths is "a voice" for me.

P.S. - I've NEVER listened to HOT 97 and it was painful just to have to load their website, never mind try to listen to the songs and/or try to read the lyrics.