Friday, August 20, 2004
Well Well Well, What A Small World

Earlier this evening I got to thinking about slang; and thinking about slang, I harkened back to an excellent webpage run by a college associate of mine. It was a beautiful website devoted to words and creative ways of using them which, sadly, no longer exists. There's so much I wish I could go back and save from that website; Miah (for that was his name) had devised a stunningly long list of "slang" terms -- the quotes are intended to denote that each of his phrases was entirely the creation of his own fevered imagination, and had not, so far as anyone knew, ever been used in wider society before. I don't remember many of them, but I do remember "House Honkies" (the all-white cover band that invariably plays at bars on off-nights); "(to)Play Local Forecast" (taken from the horrendous light jazz played during the local forecast on the Weather Channel, and intended as a sarcastic plea from the audience when the House Honkies start in with an REO Speedwagon tune); and "Dumbassery" (which is just like tomfoolery but performed by dumbasses... this one I've actually seen used, but it's impossible to know whether it actually took, whether Miah unconsciously stole it, or whether it's a case of synchronous co-creation.) So many more -- sweet words, we hardly knew ye -- were lost into the aether, and now reside in the land of dead webpages (along with the Dysfunctional Family Circus, another masterpiece lost to the sands of time. Get a taste of what you missed here.)

Anyway, Miah's big slang coup while we were at college was to actually convince a newspaper journalist that he was a young linguist and that all his slang phrases were drawn from actual speech and merely recorded on his website. This was complete bullshit, of course, but the guy bought it and some of Miah's homebrew slang appeared in, I believe, USA Today in the late 90s.

The only reason I bring this up in the blog is that, in looking for any trace of Miah's old pages and slang dictionary, I found this page. It's curious because, while it contains a (dead) link to Miah's old page, it also lists another (dead) link to the webpage of a current friend of mine. I'm not going to tell you who, because that spoils the fun, but it's someone who reads this blog fairly regularly.

Still, it's nice to be able to quietly catch up on old friends online; I can find several of them active even now. Most of them come by way of Shaw Izikson's American Feed Magazine (apparently currently dormant). His staff and contributors list reads like a virtual "Who's Who" of my life ten years ago, and includes one name I could swear belonged to a guy I knew in the 9th grade... but that's impossible, because that was all the way back in Dallas, and the world can't possibly be that small.

(Similarly, over the weekend I attended a screening of a documentary about Howard Zinn, and in it was a brief interview with the guy who is hopefully about to become my film professor. Same school, mind you... apparently folks from my alma mater really get around, at least within funky liberal circles.)

Update Fixed the missing DFC link; sorry. Hint: you want to read the reviews.

Update 2 Because Doug is a friggin' genius whom I now owe a beer, Miah's slang page has been snatched back from the webpage underworld. Hallelujah. (And, as it turns out, it isn't "dumbassery," it's "dumb-fuckery". And that's how language is corrupted over time, kids.)
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