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Grunge speak

In 1992, an earnest New York Times reporter asked Megan Jasper, a former receptionist for Sub-Pop Records, for slang used by the nascent grunge scene. There was no such slang… so she made it up. And they printed it.

Grunge

Daigo Oliva from São Paulo, Brasil [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I don’t know how anyone thought these could be legitimate slang terms: cob nobblerlamestain, and wack slacks. (Those mean “loser,” “uncool person,” and “old ripped jeans” respectively.) Wait, hold on, now I really want to use those in conversation.

Jasper was probably a notorious office prankster, or maybe she was just channeling the general grunge scepticism of authority. The co-founder of Sub-Pop Records was the one who pointed the reporter in her direction; the newspaper angrily requested an apology from him. His response nicely reflects the grunge aesthetic:

When The Newspaper of Record goes searching for the Next Big Thing and the Next Big Thing piddles on its leg, we think that’s funny.

Me too.

Categories: Arts & recreation Language Music

The Generalist

I live in Auckland, New Zealand, and am curious about most things.

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