17 maggio 2010

Puns, put-down and fresh coinages from the white-hot furnace of e-culture

What do you call the loss of productivity caused by too much time spent on Facebook? "Social notworking." A steeply devalued retirement account? "201(k)." A painfully obsolete cellphone? "Brickberry."

These linguistic dispatches from the land of cooler-than-you come courtesy of wit-mongers Cramer-Krasselt, a Chicago-headquartered full-service agency with a tidy billion dollars in annual billables. C-K's notable accounts include Corona beer, AirTran Airways, Levitra and Porsche -- which sounds like a recipe for a wild weekend in Fort Myers, Fla.
For the second year, the firm has published its Cultural Dictionary of the zeitgeist-iest words and phrases, pulling together -- as only an office full of droll and snarky hipsters can -- the slang, puns, put-downs and freshly minted coinages from the white-hot furnace of electronic culture. It's pretty hilarious.
To wait impatiently while the SMS system catches up, for example, is to be "textually frustrated." "Baling out" is F-bombing a helpless underling a la Christian Bale; "Blago" here appears as an expletive, as in "Holy Blago, Christian Bale really Blagoed the pooch!" Some entries are simply Web wastrels, such as "pwn" (to triumph utterly over another) and "gr7" (pretty good, but not gr8). Hit your teenagers with these and watch their eyes narrow with suspicion, or is that respect?
And yet many of C-K's entries offer real insight, even wisdom, to a consumer culture constantly trying to figure itself out.
The first question, though, is why an ad agency would bother. Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure famously wrote, "There is no thought without words" . . . sort of. Actually, he wrote, "La pensee, chaotique de sa nature, est forcee de se preciser en se decomposant." Which I translate as, "Thought, naturally chaotic, becomes concrete and precise in the framing of language."

Source: Ihavenet