Σάββατο, 7 Ιανουαρίου 2012

AWESOME.....!!!!!


British-born poet and journalist John Tottenham says that saying 'awesome' in his presence is like 'waving a crucifix in a vampire's face.'

"Awesome," according to one dictionary of slang, is "something Americans use to describe everything."

The linguistic overkill horrifies John Tottenham. So the British-born L.A. poet, painter and journalist has launched what he calls the Campaign to Stamp Out Awesome, or CPSOA.

"Saying the word in my presence is like waving a crucifix in a vampire's face," Tottenham says. "It's boiled down to one catchall superlative that's completely meaningless."

English man
John Tottenham holds an anti-awesome bumper sticker at Stories bookstore in Echo Park. 

"It's a matter of semantic satiation," Tottenham told me. "Sometimes I'm sitting in a crowd and I hold my breath until someone says it. Seldom do I die of asphyxiation as a result."

There's no arguing with Tottenham's premise that "awesome" is seen and heard everywhere, from the sign on the tchotchke aisle at the 99-cent store to the lips of supermarket cashiers. UC Santa Barbara linguist Mary Bucholtz says that from its dusky origins, perhaps in 1970s surfer slang, it's spread to Australia and English-speaking India.

But Tottenham failed to convince me it's a bad thing. What's wrong with bathing everything in the sunny light of superlativity? I asked him.
I admire the "awesome" generation's ability to talk at all with only a few words at its disposal.

The economy of expression is poetic, I argued. The conversations go like this:


Caller 1: Dude?

Caller 2: Dude.

Caller 1: Whadup?

Caller 2: Chillin.

Caller 1: Awesome. Want to kick it?

Caller 2: I'm down.

Caller 1: Now?

Caller 2: Awesome. I'm out.

Caller 1: Peace.

Somewhere, DEA agents are holed up in a hotel room listening to this for hours on end and going out of their minds.

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