CNN Headline news (drop it like it’s hot)
It was reported a few months ago that an internal memo circulating at CNN asked journalists/anchormen to use more hip-hop slang to attract younger viewers. Of course this practice is fairly common today, especially among ass-kissing media outlets that predicate their flimsy content on “'tude” because they covet the 18-34-year-old ad market. No surprise there (there’s nothing worse than hearing aging 30-somethings try to keep up with ever-changing slang).
New slang is strange to figure. It percolates quickly from prisons, projects, playgrounds and pro-sports fields to Lilywhite Lane, Suburbia. Kids hear it in songs and read it in worshipful, babbling magazines that treat the most derivative rappers like gods simply because their media-generated images “scare white Middle America” (what most cultureless white teens are rebelling from anyway—rock lost its bite long ago). But slang can also experience mutations along the way that alter or lose the original meaning as it is re-interpreted by foreign ears. I hear this a lot in California—where I bet the average skater-brau/hip-hop wannabe-playa wouldn’t understand two consecutive words were he thrown into a Baptist church in the South or on the floor of a car plant in Detroit. But it got me thinking—how bizarre will those CNN broadcasts be in a few years, when the world supply for oil and water is dwindling and we are being led into global chaos by war-mongering evil empires like the United States?
Wolf Blitzer: We go now to CNN’s main homey in the field, MC Yes Man—
Yes Man: Wolf dawg! What up, baby? We got crazy military buildup down here, fo’ real, yo. I’m peepin’ stupid ships upon ships ’bout ready to drop the Bizey on some shiZey somewheres, cuz!” Somebody ’bout to get they ass ripped (Arsenio woofs here).”
More likely, there would be so much new slang and ADD-fueled abbreviation that I can’t even imagine future CNN dialogue yet. The bottom line is that market-driven slang will grow more over-used by tired, calculated writers. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with slang or hip-hop culture, in the hands of media outlets it becomes yet another tool to spin, obfuscate and short-circuit real meaning.
You ain’t got nothing to say—so you play your wack-ass games.
“Almost half of the projected benefits from President Bush’s plan to scrap taxes on dividends would go to the 1 percent of the population whose incomes top $1 million.” —James Ridgeway in Village Voice
1. MLK day
2. Asskickers and Mother Hips at LaSalles (2/14)
3. Return of the Melvins at the Brick (2/3)
4. Everything but the Burden: What White People Are Taking from Black Culture, Edited by Greg Tate