Media Drives Words into Culture

Oscar SelfieEveryone I know is convinced that the media drives our culture. This year saw more people convinced based on the new entries in the Oxford English Dictionary that originated in the media. The following words became a part of our language.

Beatboxer: A performer who uses (amplified) vocal effects to imitate the sounds and rhythms of hip-hop music.

Bestie: A person’s best friend; a very close friend.

Crapshoot: A situation or undertaking regarded as uncertain, risky, or unpredictable.

Hashtag: (On social media web sites and applications) a word or phrase preceded by a hash and used to identify messages relating to a specific topic; (also) the hash symbol itself, when used in this way.

High muckety-muck: A person of high status and influence; an important person, a bigwig.

Hip-hopping: The action of hip-hop. Of or relating to hip-hop; that hip-hops.

Selfie: A photographic self-portrait; esp. one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media.

Un-PC: Not politically correct.

While some of these words have been around for decades, they all came into such prominence in the media that the dictionary companies had to acknowledge it. The biggest influence of the selfie came from Ellen Degeneres’ Oscar stunt when she got the top stars of the decade to be in her self-portrait.

Earlier generations knew the pound sign “#” from the butcher and later the phone, but this generation only knew it as a hashtag, thanks to social media. Other words used often by the media became a part of the culture and was therefore officially adopted into becoming real words.

Unfortunately, there were other changes that snuck up on many over the past few years. The educational system that was started by churches and seminaries to educate their people, shifted from using the B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (Anno domini – In the year of our Lord) to B.C.E. (Before the Common Era) and C.E. (Common Era).

The media played a major role in this influence. Generations ago people respected Christianity and set the calendar by its greatest event. Now that the media says Christianity is politically incorrect, the calendar has changed. Since few conservatives are in the media, it will be interesting to see what new words enter our culture in years to come.

Copyright © 2014 by CJ Powers

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