Archive for November 17th, 2011

November 17, 2011

Zazou

zazou

The Zazous were a subculture in France during World War II. They were young people expressing their individuality by wearing big or garish clothing (similar to the zoot suit fashion in America a few years before) and dancing wildly to swing jazz and bebop. Men wore large striped lumber jackets, while women wore short skirts, striped stockings and heavy shoes, and often carried umbrellas.

During the German occupation of France, the Vichy regime, in collaboration with the Nazis, and fascist itself in policies and outlook, had an ultra-conservative morality and started to use a whole range of laws against a youth that was restless and disenchanted. These young people expressed their resistance and nonconformity through aggressive dance competitions, sometimes against soldiers from the occupying forces.

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November 17, 2011

Pocho

pocho

Pocho [poh-choh] is a term used by native-born Mexicans to describe Chicanos who are perceived to have forgotten or rejected their Mexican heritage to some degree. Typically, pochos speak English and lack fluency in Spanish.

Among some pochos, the term has been embraced to express pride in having both a Mexican and an American heritage asserting their place in the diverse American culture. The word derives from the Spanish word ‘pocho,’ used to describe fruit that has become rotten or discolored.

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November 17, 2011

Pachuco

Zoot Suit

Pachucos [puh-choo-koh] are Chicano youths who developed their own subculture during the 1930s and 1940s in the Southwestern United States. They wore distinctive clothing (such as zoot suits) and spoke their own dialect of Mexican Spanish, called Caló or Pachuco. Due to their double marginalization stemming from their youth and ethnicity, there has always been a close association and cultural cross-pollination between the Pachuco subculture and gang subculture.

The Pachuco style originated in El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, and moved westward, following the line of migration of Mexican railroad workers (‘traqueros’) into Los Angeles, where it developed further. The word ‘pachuco’ originated, probably early in the 20th century, in a Mexican Spanish slang term for a resident of the cities of El Paso and Juárez. Even today, El Paso and Juárez are the ‘El Chuco’ or ‘El Pasiente’ by some.

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November 17, 2011

Zoot Suit Riots

Zoot Suit

The Zoot Suit Riots were a series of riots in 1943 during World War II that erupted in Los Angeles between white sailors and Marines stationed throughout the city and Latino youths, who were recognizable by the zoot suits they favored. While Mexican Americans and military servicemen were the main parties in the riots, African American and Filipino/Filipino American youth were also involved.

The Zoot Suit Riots were in part the effect of the infamous Sleepy Lagoon murder which involved the death of a young Latino man in a barrio near Los Angeles. The incident triggered similar attacks against Latinos in Beaumont, Chicago, San Diego, Detroit, Evansville, Philadelphia, and New York.

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November 17, 2011

Zoot Suit

The Mask

A zoot suit is a suit with high-waisted, wide-legged, tight-cuffed, pegged trousers, and a long coat with wide lapels and wide padded shoulders. This style of clothing was popularized by African, Mexican, and Italian Americans during the late 1930s and the 1940s. It started during the Jazz Age in Harlem and slowly spread throughout other ethnic-neighborhoods across America. Malcolm X was known to have loved zoot suits in his early days as Detroit Red, a Harlem drug dealer, racketeer, and pimp. In Britain the bright-colored suits with velvet lapels worn by Teddy Boys (young men wearing clothes inspired by dandies) bore a slight resemblance to zoot suits in the length of the jacket. Often zoot suiters wear a felt hat with a long feather and pointy, French-style shoes. A young Malcolm X described the zoot suit as: ‘a killer-diller coat with a drape shape, reet pleats and shoulders padded like a lunatic’s cell.’ Zoot suits usually featured a watch chain dangling from the belt to the knee or below, then back to a side pocket.

The amount of material and tailoring required made them luxury items, so much so that the U.S. War Production Board said that they wasted materials that should be devoted to the World War II war effort. This extravagance, which many considered unpatriotic in wartime, was a factor in the Zoot Suit Riots, a series of riots in 1943 that erupted in Los Angeles between white sailors and Marines stationed throughout the city and Latino youths, who were recognizable by the zoot suits they favored. Wearing the oversized suit was a declaration of freedom and self-determination, even rebelliousness. The word zoot probably comes from a reduplication of suit. The creation and naming of the zoot suit have been variously attributed to Harold C. Fox, a Chicago clothier and big-band trumpeter; Louis Lettes, a Memphis tailor; and Nathan (Toddy) Elkus, a Detroit retailer. Zoot suits were initially called drapes.

November 17, 2011

Skweee

Daniel Savio

Skweee is a musical style, with origin in Sweden and Finland. Skweee combines simple synth leads and basslines with funk, r’n’b or soul-like rhythms, overall rendering a stripped-down funky sound. The tracks are mostly entirely instrumental, though there are exceptions. The name Skweee was coined by Daniel Savio, one of the originators of the emerging sound. The name refers to the use of vintage synthesizers in the production process, where the aim is to ‘squeeze out’ the most interesting sounds possible.

The major outlets of skweee music are the Swedish record label Flogsta Danshall and Finnish record label Harmönia. The preferred media format of skweee enthusiasts is the 7″ vinyl record. Early releases were exclusively released in this format. More recently, however, a series 12″ vinyl records, digital releases and CD compilations have been released through these outlets as well. Skweee has during late 2008 and early 2009 started to influence the sound of dubstep. Producers such as Rusko, Gemmy, Joker, Zomby, Rustie, and Jamie Vex’d, among others, have given their take on the sound resulting in several interesting releases on the boundary between skweee and dubstep.

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November 17, 2011

Textese

h8u by eiknarf

SMS language or textese is a term for the abbreviations and slang most commonly used due to the necessary brevity of mobile phone text messaging, in particular the widespread SMS (short message service) communication protocol. SMS language is also common on the Internet, including in email and instant messaging. It can be likened to a rebus, an allusional device that uses pictures to represent words or parts of words (e.g. ‘i <3 u’ which uses the pictogram of a heart for ‘love,’ and the letter ‘u’ replaces ‘you’).

The objective of SMS language is to use the least number of characters needed to convey a comprehensible message, also as many telecommunication companies have an SMS character limit, another benefit of SMS language is to reduce the character count of a message, hence, punctuation, grammar, and capitalization are largely ignored.

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November 17, 2011

Euphemism Treadmill

world toilet day

spaz

A euphemism is the substitution of an uncontroversial phrase for a more frank expression that might offend or otherwise suggest something unpleasant to the audience. Euphemisms often evolve over time into taboo words, through a process described by American philosopher W.V.O. Quine, and more recently dubbed the ‘euphemism treadmill‘ by cognitive scientist Steven Pinker, and discussed in his books ‘The Blank Slate’ (2003) and ‘The Stuff of Thought’ (2007).

This is the well-known linguistic process known as ‘pejoration’ or ‘semantic change.’ Words originally intended as euphemisms may lose their euphemistic value, acquiring the negative connotations of their referents. In some cases, they may be used mockingly and become the opposite of euphemisms, ‘dysphemisms.’ Euphemisms related to disabilities have been prone to this. In his remarks on the ever-changing London slang, made in ‘Down and Out’ in Paris and London, George Orwell mentioned both the euphemism treadmill and the dysphemism treadmill. He did not use these now-established terms, but observed and commented on the respective processes as early as in 1933.

November 17, 2011

Reappropriation

pansy division

guido power

Reappropriation [ree-uh-proh-pree-eyt] is the cultural process by which a group reclaims terms or artifacts that were previously used in a way disparaging of that group. For example, since the early 1970s, much terminology referring to homosexuality—such as gay, queer, and (to a lesser extent) faggot—has been reappropriated. Another example of reappropriation would be an African American collecting lawn jockeys or other artifacts of darky iconography. The term reappropriation can also extend to counter-hegemonic re-purposing, such as citizens with no formal authority seizing unused public or private land for community use.

The term reappropriation is an extension of the term appropriation or cultural appropriation used in anthropology, sociology and cultural studies to describe the hegemonic action of reabsorbing subcultural styles and forms, or those from other cultures, into mass culture through a process of commodification: the mass-marketing of alternate lifestyles, practices, and artifacts.

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November 17, 2011

Allophilia

wutang

Allophilia [al-oh-fil-ee-u] is having a positive attitude for a group that is not one’s own. The term derived from Greek words meaning ‘liking or love of the other.’ It is a framework for understanding effective intergroup leadership and is conceptualized as a measurable state of mind with tangible consequences. The term was coined by Harvard sociologist Todd L. Pittinsky in 2006, after he was unable to find an antonym for prejudice in any dictionary. Studied by social scientists, allophilia is the antonym of negative prejudices and the antonym of a host of ‘–isms’ (e.g. ageism, sexism, racism), ‘-phobias’ (e.g. homophobia, islamophobia, xenophobia), and ‘anti-s’ (e.g. anti-communism, anti-intellectualism).

Allophilia has five statistical factors: affection, comfort, engagement, enthusiasm, kinship. The Allophilia Scale measures each of these factors. The typical remedy for prejudice is to bring conflicting groups into a state of tolerance. However, tolerance is not the logical antithesis of prejudice, but rather is the midpoint between negative feelings and positive feelings toward others. Allophilia enhancement should serve as complement to prejudice reduction. In one study, symhedonia (empathic joy) has been shown to be more closely associated with allophilia, while sympathy (empathic sorrow) has been shown to be more strongly associated with prejudice.

November 17, 2011

Nigga

nigga please

Nigga [nig-uh] is a term used in African American Vernacular English that began as an eye dialect (non-standard spelling to draw attention to pronunciation) of the slur ‘nigger,’ which originated as a term used in a neutral context to refer to black people, as a variation of the Spanish/Portuguese noun ‘negro,’ a descendant of the Latin adjective niger, meaning the color ‘black.’ In practice, its use and meaning are heavily dependent on context. Presently, ‘nigga’ is used more liberally among younger members of all races and ethnicities in the United States, although its use by persons not of African descent is still widely viewed as unacceptable and hostile, even when without intentional prejudice. In addition to African Americans, other ethnic groups have adopted the term as part of their vernacular.

There is conflicting popular opinion as to whether any meaningful difference exists between ‘nigga’ and ‘nigger’ as a spoken term. Many people consider them equally pejorative, and the use of ‘nigga’ both in and outside African American communities remains controversial. Some comentators have noted that ‘brother’ (‘brotha’) and ‘sister’ (‘sista’) are terms of endearment, but The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a civil rights group, condemns use of both ‘nigga’ and ‘nigger.’

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