“Have We All Become Madonna?” The New York Times Investigates

This would be a fun Madonna to be. There is nothing British about her.

  • This would be a fun Madonna to be. There is nothing British about her.

It’s a solid question, right? HAVE we all become Madonna? Have all of our arms taken on that sinewy, ripped quality that makes me think snakes are slithering under the surface of our skin? Have all of our faces been so plumped full of Botox and Juvederm and the liquified placentas of children who were the products of immaculate conception that we are barely recognizable as the awesome young woman who sang about oral sex in a church more than twenty years ago?

Or is it just that we all speak in British slang now, even though we’re Americans? Oh, it’s that? Interesting.

The New York Times reports on a disturbing trend among Americans who are not Madonna, wherein said Americans abandon their native slang and adopt something annoyingly called “Britishisms.” What this means, the Times warns us, is that people, maybe even people you KNOW, have stopped saying words like “bathroom” and “apartment” and instead say “loo” and “flat.”

Who are these monsters that say things like “a coffee” instead of “coffee” or “beer” instead of “lager”? Well, they could be anyone—anyone! But first you have to, like, talk to people to find out. Which, ew. So unnecessary in these days of gchat and texting. Also, apparently, many of them work in fashion. In this most superficial of industries, the Times reports that such foreign terminology like “clever” has been adopted to describe when an article has been well-written. I don’t know about you, but I’m grateful that the Times has translated what all of these confusing British terms mean. Why can’t we all just speak American anymore? I don’t get it.

And of course the Times wouldn’t report on this trend if there wasn’t a seriously dark side to it. The reporter shares with is the potentially harrowing experiences of one man trying to navigate this new linguistic minefield. “’You find yourself calling your friends ‘lads,’ which is generally accepted,’ said [Daniel] Coggins, 36 [a writer who lives in the West Village]. ‘The next thing you know, you’re calling them ‘chaps,’ which they might loosely tolerate. And then you say ‘tallyho’ and you’re greeted with a blank stare.’”

First, they came for our “guys,” and made them “lads”…it’s a slipper slope, everyone. Beware.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen


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