Back to Full Contents

‘Superlativity’ speech, or
Don’t resort to cliché
As Wankmaster Tent says, capitalism has now been elevated to deity status. Accordingly, some elements of our society seem unable to resist absolutist comment and histrionic emphasis on their lifestyle and their products.

I’ll take Tim Westwood as an example of this superlativity, because as someone able to be divorced from reality he is a particular peddler.

The hip-hop game is “all good”, his message “all about the hip-hop in the 2003 baby”, his nights “massive” and as a listener you’re either in tune or “out of the game” – no half-measures, the definitive articles are indicative. The drip-feed of popular culture means that the phrases are already well in use on smellyvision: Cull loses count at the number of times football commentator Clive Allen gets tongue-tied when describing players so he resorts to the readily-sourced “he’s shown what he’s all about”. All or nothing. While penalties that are regarded as certain are ‘Stonewall’: how the name for the gay NYC riots of 1970 got corrupted to mean a ruling for hetero heathen footballers is beyond me, but again it’s an example of the absolutisation of language, because phonetically it sounds definite, convincing, emphatic.

Frankly, these developments reek of desperation. Why claim so much for ultimately something so insubstantial, as a hip-hop record, a piece of clothing, a football club? Is it really that indispensable to your life. Oh it is isn’t it?


Internal memo from a
certain enronitis telco

"We've made tremendous progress in a short amount of time and there is no doubt that people are definitely running, not walking. But now it is time to turn the heat up another notch. We must continue to put the pedal to the metal and the next 50 days are perhaps even more crucial than the first. Every milestone is important. Keep on pushing and don't let up. Thanks to you, we are making incredible progress one day at a time. As we launch the new site today, it seems appropriate to borrow from our first Outrageous Song of the Day: 'And we can build this thing together/Stand this stormy weather/Nothing's gonna stop us now' - Jefferson Starship.

'Another notch'? 'Pedal to the medal'? Dear oh dear. Neat attempt to cover their trax by saying it's the 'outrageous' song of the day. Abzolud knobbers. That's a bit like that KPMG company song which contained something about being 'Truly dedicated to gold standard service', which probably means 'team leaders' pissing on each other in the lifts (see WhoreCull3).

Just wanted to get this picture in of bloated fat CBI cunt Digby Jones (hardly modified at all)

+ Their 'corporate guidelines'

1. Build Trust and Credibility
Do what you say and say what you do

2. Respect for the individual
Treat each other with dignity and integrity

3. Create a culture of open and honest communications
Everyone should feel comfortable to speak to his or her mind

4. Set tone at the top
Management leads by example

5. Uphold the law
Put the law of the land on a pedestal

6. Avoid conflicts of interest
Carefully and consciously manage
various stakeholder interests

7. Set metrics and report results
Balance between short and long term

8. Promote substance over form
Focus on what is important and not what is convenient

9. Be loyal
To your families, your company, yourselves

10. Do the right thing
Because it's the right thing to do


Our language, tiger

On the street wordplay is a positive thing, a sign of expression and enquiry. At the other end, of government injustice and corporate malfeasance, it is a Machiavellian tool whose effect is to trompe le monde

Dizzee Rascal’s record is wicked, bruv. Boss, Blood, mayytte. No it’s not wicked, iz wikkid. That word is an exception, it has been in the lingua franca for two decades, and a 10-year-old on the Clapham Omnibus (alighting at Expression Drive; rather than Received Pronunication Avenue) is as likely to pepper his nascent tongue with that as an Arthur Baker-esque veteran sporting his full raving honours and subculture colours.

Mostly though words have a short shelf-life these days, as short as the latest musical genre that goes from the shit to hit to shit in a matter of days. Hundreds of days, but days still. We think that this can be a good thing.

Hold the newsreader’s nose squarely, dear1
WhoreCull exists for many reasons and one of those raisons d’etre is certainly to stretch English away from the turgid confines of basic journalese or modern literary prose: both perfectly valid, perfectly correct forms of expression, but usually as dull as dishwater. Particularly to an editorial team who for the most part can’t look at any given word and fail to find myriad derivatives or sub-meanings, who won’t let lazy transatlantic metrotypes drop the Ds for Ts just because you can finish your metre easier. In fact if we do have a standard in this regard it’s a tirade against zombie nation’s ‘like… whatever’-isms – the disinterested repetition and tailing codas so clearly an expression of a wealthy western anti-inquisitive ennui. Liam Lynch’s United States of Whatever tune hit the nail on the head, but like so much well-intentioned product its only ramification has been to ‘ramp up’ usage among people who are too lazy to realise they’re the subject of his mockery.

Then there’s the wiggers of the West, those suburban white boys infatuated with black America’s linguistic mores, having heard nuttin’ but G things for ‘fiddin’ years. Nick McDonnell’s 12 has two rich white kids Timmy and Mark Rothko walking, talking and frontin’ like they be south Bronx hoods, so clearly into a world not their own that they also fail to see any irony in their ridiculous demeanour.

Not that it’s necessarily better a few blocks uptown. Here you have massive stars like Ja Rule coming thru on a ghetto hood ticket. Times was hard. I ran wid my peeps, etc. In interview all the usual phrases are trotted out with almost bored diction, and you get the impression he may well have been told to say that by Murder Inc records and actually has no experience of the life he is talking about (why bother if you can get away with it?).

Indeed you could go further and say the ‘language of the streets’ is just one big mode of deception because – let’s face it – in London, Birmingham, New York, Detroit, poverty and crime are not nearly as big issues as they are in third-world holes, so the culture could well be creating the crime. How important are those trainers or phones really? (see page 23).

Or friendly milk will countermand….
Early Culls from Gavin Wyber, replying in extreme kind to a rabid homophobe, or ‘Adolph McGroot’, looking at the way feminism so disappointingly aligned itself to mature capitalism, by advocating a National Euthanasia Programme for Whores, were as much adventures in language as they were driven by didactics. The overall effect can be to confuse, but again we’re in favour of disorientation round here, at least until sufficient experience finds us the final definitive cairos of life.

We encourage this because we think people should twist their language out, so at least how you talk is exciting if not what you talk about.

Weapons of mass deception
There though our method and the instances discussed are mostly fairly benign. To the David Frums (the guy who penned Bush’s memorable ‘Axis of Evil’ mnemonic) and Ali Campbells of this world, the use of language has a distinctly disturbing undercurrent. People wondered why Ali Campbell, a mere civil servant – a director of communications in a world of politicos, was so central to this latest WMD/sex-up fuck-up from no 10.

Well, we’ll tell you. The governing world is becoming less and less accountable to the highly-taxed, frustrated ‘little people’. Democracy is a sham. Globalisation distances everyone but the worshippers of the owl from realpolitik. The message is far more important than actual events. The messengers are, to use a mixed metaphor, always moving the goalposts of debate to extricate themselves from their latest mess. We bombed Arabs again because Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. No we bombed Arabs because he had the potential to deploy WMDs. No we bombed Arabs because that potential could be realised within FORTY-FIVE MINUTES. Not even an hour, frightening eh? Well twisted MI6, or Whitehall, or Downing Street, or some bloke in Lords bar. Or everybody. Better ignore UN wishes and the Geneva Convention and pre-empt the problem to solve it. If it’s there. We don’t know. But we need you to know.

And better ignore those citizens who, with finely articulated slogans and strength in numbers, told Blair that he can get to fuck with his warmongering. The 1 million-plus of ACTIVE DISSENTERS (the apathetix and the fence-sitters by their inactivity should have less say here; it’s a point echoing Rousseau, but a valid one) had no effect whatsoever. We know we’re getting fucked over, but what’s to be done?2

US Offence Secretary Donald Bums’felt (ju ci?) was at it too, recently saying that the very unclear ‘prism of experience’ of 9/11 rather than WMDs was the reason for bombing Arabs. Saddam = Osama = global terrorist network. Every Arab muslim is a threat, it’s obvious. Well Donny and Dubya, the more insightful among us realised on about 12 September 2001 that Iraq was likely to get it in the neck for what might have been the work of a Saudi wahabi affluent fanatic, for what was your enormous security balls-up.

What of the corporate side, the Enrons of this world? In a marvellous piece on corporate America’s creative use of accounting techniques those few years ago (I’m sure it’s still going on) Donald MacKenzie referred to Wittgenstein, who realised that words are flexible beasts and that you can say anything to justify the action. Wittgenstein did not approve of this, he just saw the loopholes possible in legal practice. When you pay some enthusiastic Accounts man flipping great wadges of cash, very big holes to loop through can be found.

Linguistic elasticity, if you will
So I’m on the W3 bus trying to forget all that shit because the sense of futility is palpable. I do not have Tony Bush or George Blair’s ear, let alone those of Jeff Skilling or Bernie Ebbers who destroyed the retirement dreams of many bourgeois souls (not so bothered about that, but it’s still wrong). But the black girls at the back have mine: because like Shakespeare every word is spit right; every word has that clipped London hybrid (of Jamaican patois and street cockney) sound, new ones are being created right there, the metres are clinical, the cadence all quality and all said at speed (see Don’t resort to Cliché, this page). I admit it. I’m fascinated. Yeah-yeah-yeah, taste of the X-otik. I’m cultural touring, baby.  

In general though, one enormous boon of our society is that language and vernacular in particular are always moving forward; indeed subcultures seem intent on finding the new buzzwords. This is articulation of the new, a rapidly-changing society where people now look at artificial screens all day and then take their soma to zone out. First, electronic mail, Second e-mail. Now email, one word, no hyphenation: even my granny knows what it means.

Dictionaires have a job on each year trying to work out what has become accepted for inclusion, and what is still out of bounds for the establishment. We ultimately accept that emotional and intellectual expression can be just as finely articulated by a Munchian howl or physical discourtesy but they wouldn’t fill our journal.

So, tell me, as my age appreciates and the battle for relevance is slowly lost, can I still say that tune is “wikkid”? Best not.

1 © Fry & Laurie, BBC for these and other bon mots

2 Those marchers demonstrated against invading Iraq. They were not pro-Saddam but distinctly anti too. People just felt it had to be done via the UN because let’s face it ‘brown people’ can’t stand the US/UK and with good reason. This fine distinction was also lost as no 10 said the million were “appeasers”. Fuggin liddle cundz

Back to full contents          The myopia of memory