Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I remember the precise moment that the word "crunk" jumped the shark. I was still a newspaper journalist, and a colleague was writing a story about a popular college event in town. One of the quotes in the article contained the word "crunk," and the editors decided that the term needed elaboration. It was a perfectly reasonable decision, but when the article ran the next day, I knew the word's days were numbered.
I think we can all agree that the death knell for "swagger" is its use as the name of an Old Spice product. Even LL Cool J as a pitchman can't make this work. Granted, swagger was a legitimate word long before it began peppering hip-hop songs and youth lingo. But in recent months, we've been treated to a Swaggapalooza courtesy of T.I. and Soulja Boy, who downsized it to "swag." (I love how putting words in quotation marks makes them extra unhip, like when the Curtis comic strip writer makes references to "rap" music.) It was great while it lasted, but once Madison Avenue gets its hands on something with a cool factor, the expiration date is just around the corner.
If I were a single man, I wouldn't want to get caught with this in my medicine cabinet, no matter how good it smells.