April 23rd, 2006


So, like, Valspeak, like, WTF is up with that?

So I'm, like, passing people on the street, and, like, catching snatches of their conversation, and this is, like, New York, right, nowhere near the San Fernando Valley, home of, like, Valspeak, and yet these people are all like "Like..." all the time, honest to God there are, like, 20 iterations of the word "like" in, like, one minute of speech? There's also this "high rising terminal" thing? That turns every statement into, like, a question? By means of, like, rising intonation?

But, like, it's mainly, like, the "like" thing that I don't, like, like. I know that it's a, like, powerful meme, used by the, like, articulate and the inarticulate alike. It, like, started in California? I guess? And then, like, got boosted by, like, Frank Zappa's, like, "Valley Girl" single? And then, like it, like, or not, it, like, swamped California then, like, marched over the whole United, like, States?

So now I'm, like, wondering how long it'll be before, like, saturation occurs? Like, what will happen when there are more, like, "likes" in every, like, sentence, than, like, any other word? So, like, people are just going to be like "Like, like, like, I guess, it's like, and she's like, and I'm like, like, like, right?" Right? Like, language won't, like, mean anything any more?

I'm not, like, like that. Like, I tend to use, like, Japanese hesitation phenomena. I'll be like "Ehhhhhhh toooooooooooo..." if I can't, like, think of a, like, word. But I can't, like, help being like "I wonder if this is like some kind of, like, viral infestation, a bit like the kind I was, like, describing in my, like, Wired piece about, like, feral pop music like taking everything over?" Because, like, it's like saying "like" is based on a deep fear of, like, silence, and, like, the word "like" just rushes in like a, like, placeholder, to, like, make sure nobody, like, interrupts you, even if you've got, like, nothing to say?

But, like I say, I'm, like, worried about you guys. Like, how long will it be before this, like, virus takes over completely? Maybe we can, like, get a glimpse of the, like, future of American conversation by, like, using this speech, like, simulator, the, like, Valspeak Translator. So, like, feed a chunk of what I, like, just said through that and I'm like:

"Like, like, wow, what will happen when there are more, like, like, like, wow, "likes" in every, fer shure, like, mostly, sentence, like, wow, than, man, like, man, any other word? So, like, wow, like, like, wow, people are just goin' to be like "Like, oh, baby, like, oh, baby, like, like, I guess, man, it's like, like, wow, and she's like, mostly, and I'm like, oh, baby, like, mostly, like, like, wow, right?" Right? Like, like, language won't, like, like, mostly, mean anythin' any more?"

So I'm like, omigod? You know? Would you guys just, like, shut the fuck up? Cos, like, I'm, like, starting to, like, totally do this thing too? And I don't, like, you know, like it?