cats afforded nine; you’re allotted one


I’m all for English being a living language and all, and god knows when you start complaining about Things These Tweens Keep Saying™, you really should just buy some black socks and sandals and rent VHS tapes of “Matlock”. That disclaimer aside, there are a few utterances of internet dialogue I’ve come across lately that give me a case of the motherfucking Mondays.

Let us start here…

tl;dr – For those of you who have never trawled message boards since 2007 or so, “tl;dr” stands for “too long; didn’t read”. It’s usually placed after an internet post that exceeds two paragraphs, or following a heartfelt screed written by someone passionate.

It’s actually worse than meh, despite its clever (and sorely needed) use of the semicolon. The writer of “tl;dr” not only has to scan enough of the entry to conclude that is is “too long”, but scroll to the end of what he “didn’t read” in order to post a comment about how it was “too long” so he “didn’t read” it.

It is anti-intellectualism distilled into four letters, and serves only to belittle the writer and make the commenter feel superior. And if you put it in the comments section at the end of this, I will shove a “dr” up your semi-colon.

YOLO – Sent microbial by Twitter over the last 18 months (but feels like years), YOLO stands for “you only live once”, although the intent is more like “You Only Live Once!!!! :) :)”

At one point, it might have been a “you go girl” sentiment with the yearbook-signature complexity of “carpe diem!” – but now it’s a hashtag acronym used by two kinds of people: binge drinkers about to do something stupid, or tee-hee pussyfarthings about to do something mind-bendingly pedestrian.

In the first case, I always took “you only live once” as proof that you should be vaguely careful with that one life. And in the second case, I can’t believe I spent part of my one life reading your tweet about “cutting my hair shorter this time! #YOLO!!!”

“content” – Even 9+ years ago on the blog I had expressed both disgust and surrender on the word “content” as meaning “anything you read or watch on a website” but even now, a decade later, it still pisses me off.

Perhaps now I see it in proper perspective; it’s a semantic disease from the top-down. The day someone defined all writing, music and pictures on the web as “content”, it was instantly devalued, and no doubt helped fuel the long, slow, conservative-backed death rattle of the arts in general. “Content” as a word is as bad as “partial-birth abortion” – both are oddly inaccurate and have an agenda.

I’d generate more content today, but #YOLO and this is already “tl”.



fucking Garfield.

0 thoughts on “cats afforded nine; you’re allotted one

  1. Griffeth

    I’m constantly amused at myself for falling into the “things ain’t like they used to be” trap as I grow older. I try to keep my guard up against this, telling myself that the milieu of the younger generation is *meant* to seem goofy, superficial and lacking to me. The worst offender are music and pop culture, where I find I have to really fight these biases on a near daily basis.
    Yet, as I delight in reminding my own mother during her frequent flights of head-shaking fancy, the phrase “the world’s going to hell in a handbasket” is, after all, a *cliche* for crying out loud. Even my idyllic childhood of bicycles and baseball cards possessed the likes of Charles Manson and the KKK.
    And yet . . . and yet . . . sometimes I just want to give in. There is no Smiths in today’s music. Gen X may have had a slack element, but we were saved from the withering exhaustion of snark. UNC was never better, before or since, than my time there (’88 to ’93, culminating in a hoops championship, natch). The new Hectors(es) are a pale shade of the original. Those October nights of my day were crisper than they are now, right?
    Today’s crap is, after all, tomorrow’s nostalgia.

  2. killian

    LOL. Adam Gopnik wrote a brilliant piece on months spent sending LOL thinking it meant “lots of love.” Until his son Luke disabused him of the notion. Lots of apologies had to be made. Quite interesting to think WHAT, if anything, will be made of all these acronyms. I might be ready to don my black socks now.

  3. Just Andrew

    I’m sure there is plenty more that could be included, but for my money anyone that uses “cool story bro” or “you mad bro” deserve flies swimming in their smug coffees.

  4. kent

    I always felt like TL;DR. It might be abused by kids who are like Beavis reading the warning on a tube of glue: “words…words….words”
    But sometimes — especially on the Internet — people do go on. So TL;DR covers it. It’s also showed up as a preface to summary, as in “The TL;DR version is …”
    The abbreviations I like a lot is SMH (Smack my head), and the Pan-African KMT (Kiss My Teeth). KMT is a smacking of the lips which indicates fierce approbation and/or disgust. It’s what a Jamaican mamma in South London does to let their kids know they’re out of line. In the right mouth, it can be frightening.

  5. Alison Byrne Fields

    The fist waving, we’re growing old sentiment of your post made me think of this article (i.e., content) from this weekend’s NY Times about our generation appearing on a presidential ticket for the first time in the form of Paul Ryan. I was particularly fond of this quote from (I can’t believe I am writing this) Johnny Knoxville:
    “From a vanity standpoint, it makes you feel a bit old to have a person from your generation on the presidential ticket,” said the actor Johnny Knoxville, 41, of “Jackass” fame. “And it’s embarrassing that it’s Paul Ryan. I wonder if the Germs ever felt this way about having Belinda Carlisle as their first drummer.”

  6. Kaarin

    Agree with you on tl;dr but I think it’s fairly awesome that a properly used semicolon made it into any Internet abbreviation.

  7. Ehren

    I am a reflexive defender of the notion that people have always complained about “kids these days,” glorified their hoary ancestors and held up their own adolescence as the time when “by god, the world was damn near perfect.” It’s just our biology and psychology.
    That being said, I don’t like dismissiveness of any sort. Things like “cool story, bro,” “tl;dr,” and “don’t you have anything more diverting to talk about, Lord Chesterfield” are all ways of saying you don’t even care enough about someone to pay attention to them, though you do have just enough energy to be a dick about it. I share your loathing of this, Ian.
    Content doesn’t really bother me. It was a vague word to begin with, and has been used as a descriptor for the meaning of text for a long time. And so much of the world begins as text, I think it still works. I find “media” to be sort of similar.

  8. Kathy

    YOLO was all over the Ocean City MD boardwalk this summer and I was baffled. Finally found one shirt that had it this way:
    The latest one I had to Google – PWND
    The latest one I heard from my bro (actual brother) – IKR for I know, right?
    One that always irks me – BOGO (really, it should be BOGT, amirite?)
    I’m old and set in my ways. My texts are legible and non-abbreviated. Sigh.

  9. CM

    Did I read it right that you had to end the entry because you were f–ing Garfield? I’m LOL’ing at the image of that. Are you two going to eat some lasagna after? (Sorry, is there an acronym for ‘make a really silly comment on someone’s blog today’?)


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