Meh, the unimpressed expression of "who cares" coined on The Simpsons, has now officially entered the lexicon. It's being listed in the Collins English Dictionary! In these crazy times of war and crumbling economy it could have been some dread-filled "word" like ZOMG that got the honor, or it may have been a Hope and Change rally word like Obamamania (well, all right, that would never happen, but still). I guess it speaks to a young generation defined not by apathy exactly, but by a sense that we're (they're?) not supposed to be easily impressed, that this dismissive, tarty little word made the list. Kids have been sort of unimpressable for a while now, probably, but only recently has the idea of childhood become such a resoundingly cynical one. Markets are tested and groups are focused and everything's dangerous and sarcasm is now mistaken for cute, youthful willfulness. That 'meh' became the battle cry for this seen-it-all generation makes perfect sense; it's funny in its onomatopoeic nonsensicalness—it's like someone gave up halfway when trying to come up with a word. It's a bit sarcastic, just like kids like it, and it came from a pop culture touchstone. It worked its way up, in such a modern little cyber-organic way, through the school halls and internet chatting rooms and it's now in a big British book. It even beat out the über-popular Sex and the City term "frenemy," which was being considered too! Maybe that means that a meh attitude isn't a path to slackerness and failure, but rather an alternative route to success! The meh sentiment demands a lot—impress me!, it yells. And maybe that's a good thing. Or, you know, whatever. Maybe not. Who cares anyway.
[Anderson Cooper Effects speculates that the dapper (and gay! probably!) news anchor stayed out all night on Wednesday. They noticed Anderson wearing a black suit/green tie ensemble on Thursday morning's "Live with Regis & Kelly" suspiciously similar to the one he sported on the previous evening's "Anderson Cooper 360." Was March 12th a lucky night for our silver haired friend? Intrigue!]
2007: a year of "meh." It was like being drawn and quartered by one team of horses galloping towards terrible and another racing toward excellence and come December, we hadn't moved an inch from where we were last January. Yesterday we talked about things we unreservedly endorsed as good: ironic greeting cards, Elizabeth Bishop, Tionna. But what about those things that straddle the ledger line between goodness and badness?