When I was a young one in the ’80’s, Valleyspeak had emerged from the San Fernando Valley courtesy of films like The Last American Virgin, Valley Girl, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Words such as “Awesome” and “Totally” infected the American vernacular almost overnight around 1981. Why not? It was the sign of the times. Carterian austerity gave way to Reaganoid yuppiedom and people were tired of going without. Everything digital was new and “awesome” and people could totally afford the total package. One particular element of this craze was to punctuate every sentence with the word “like” as much as you could. It was infectious. The language became a speech virus that many practitioners could not control.

Although it doesn’t seem to have any precedence in the media, the 2010’s are wrought with a new addictive language with key words that stick in the brains of many like a nervous tic. To fellow writers following this blog, I advise you to use these words sparingly throughout your works or you may date yourself in years to come.

Below is a seven minute tutorial on toning for digital painting. It isn’t a bad tut as far as the info provided, but count how many times the commentator says “basically.” Heh, turn it into a drinking game. I promise you will be very drunk if you take a shot every time the presenter says this word before the video ends. Truth be told, you’d probably get liquor poisoning.

Aside from “basically,” which I find to be most popular with the tech-geek crowd, other mundane words that have become contagious utterances in the ’10’s are:

1) Absolutely – Q: “Did you like your measly Saltine cracker?” A: “ABSOLUTELY!!!!!” Eh…it’s just a Saltine. You didn’t win the Lotto. Chill out, bro.

2) Actually – “This mainframe actually clocks in at actually 700 petaflops per second. And if you’ll actually look to your left, you will actually see a facsimile of Master Yoda, in the actual nude…”

3) Seriously – “SERIOUSLY! I just ate a bagel and I wanted strawberry shmear and I got blueberry! SERIOUSLY?”

4) Innit? (Britons Only) – “So, I take a wee gander o’er at that Ned bird, innit? And she was no-havin’ none of it. Innit?”

I beg you. Please think a bit before you speak. Even on high-production, Big Media presentations, these words are used to the point of excess. I know I sound anal retentive, but listen to that video above for a few minutes. It’s grating.


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