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An Epic Takedown of Élite Brospeak by The New Yorker


Stashed in: Words!, Awesome, New Yorker, BRO!, Epic!, Pied Piper

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People who string words together for a living—generally a difficult, obsessive, detail-niggling tribe—tend to take inordinate delight in new slang, much in the way that people who study beetles love new bugs. I have probably published the phrases “for a while” and “during some years” almost as many times as I’ve read them. They are boring. How much more delightful would it be to say that Joseph Haydn lived in Hainburg for a minute? Or that Guy Debord’s later work was hella bootsy? Good slang words are the opposite of reductive. They belong to the expanding outer ring of the lexicon, the only part that is legitimately in flux.

“Epic” is not one of those good words. It advances no new combination of ideas. It’s an old term reaching toward an old meaning, with new desperation. When Zander says his party was epic, he is trying to communicate that the d.j. whom he has hired at three hundred dollars an hour—and the people who had nothing much better to do at 2 A.M. in midwinter—partook of a tradition in which battles were fought, six-headed monsters were met, and lives succumbed to ideals such as loyalty and love. Most good slang comes from marginalized, or at least regionalized, communities, in part because slang answers a need to articulate experience outside the mainstream. Zander merely strains toward the canonic. “Epic” is the watchword of lucky white men trying to pose as other lucky white men who suffered more interesting lives.

So we should not use the word Epic anymore?

If it goes out of style, the scale at which the word "epic" won't be used, will still be epic, though. 

It will be AMAZING.

Are we allowed to still use the word amazing?

Three pipe you are very clever. 

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