• The Persona Issue

    Decode Your Teen’s Tweets

    The Persona Issue
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    Decode Your Teen’s Tweets

    The spread of consumer electronics has produced a specialized shorthand, often developed by teenagers and widely popularized by women, to communicate complex yet commonplace ideas efficiently. Within the English-speaking world, many of these terms have been popularized widely enough that their communist currents are well known (see here and here for authoritative guides to the language young people use to agitate against capitalists). But even if the heyday of McCarthyism has passed, both left- and right-wing anti-communism remain strong in countries like the United States. As a result, youth have adopted a new set of critical concepts in their casual digital communications. For this week’s column, then, I’ve assembled a new guide to decoding your teen’s texts, updated to include the latest terminology and usage examples. Study up:

    1738 – a holy number drawn from 17:38, or 5:38 PM, the traditional time at which gangs of “Trap Queens” gather to plot witchcraft and the destruction of the nuclear family.


    af – “as Fanon”; multiplies magnitude by association with Frantz Fanon, anti-colonial psychiatrist and revolutionary.


    ctfu – “crash the fucking Uber”; so entertained by something you’re liable to cause an automobile accident.


    FTP – “free toilet paper”; as public restrooms grow increasingly scarce, Millennials use this phrase to share ideal locations for urination and defecation with friends.


    #mcm – “mortal coil Monday”; a hashtag to honor people who will die at some point in the future.


    mf – “Milton Friedman”; a generally deplorable person.


    ngl – “no government/litigation”; when you do or say something you don’t want to be taken to court or prison for (young people are frequently taken to courts or prison for their actions).


    s2g – “swear to gentrification”; emphasizing frustration by appealing to a process which causes many of them.


    tb[q]h – “to be [quintessentially] Hegelian”; used to indicate a dialectical statement.

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