The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


January 14, 2014

Joe Hadsall: First act of 2014: Kill the 'Go home, you're drunk' meme

JOPLIN, Mo. — Sometimes I don't think the Internet grasps how mean a meme can be.

I'm gonna keep myself from editing that last sentence out of my column, despite how OL'd I L'd.

Anyway ... I think I'm going to stop using that "Go home _____, you're drunk" meme, because it sounds reckless and heartless. Sure, it's funny. But I think it's also pushing it. So, it's time for it to die.

Most memes that show up on our Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus (I just made myself LOL again!) accounts have an inherent, innocent cuteness to them. Others are downright vicious. And others are awesome just because they are so succinct and sharp.

One of my favorite memes lately has been the "Because noun" wordplay, where the object of a discussion becomes the very evidence of whatever point is being made about the object. "Bacon is awesome, because bacon." Or "Chiefs lost in the playoffs because Chiefs."

The linguistic trick is brilliant because it's filled with confidence and bravado. The very object attempting to be described, justified or validated needs none of that -- only its existence is needed to prove its point. Correct usage is a hallmark of cleverness and wit.

That's probably why the American Dialect Society chose "because" as its word of the year. Forget "twerk," or "selfie," the word that the Oxford Dictionary chose as its word of the year. The ADS went with something vintage, old-school and classic.

Modern usage of the word on social networks gave it more power, as well. The use of the word eliminated the need for identifiers, subjects or other clauses. It really trimmed up the English language a bit.

And think about this: We're not seeing many people write "'cause" or "cuz" as a contraction for "because" anymore. As if growing with the bulk of the transitions it gobbled, "because" grew back to its true form! Outstanding!

I remember "because" being one of the most thrilling yet annoying words as a child:

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