Arts and Culture


KRIPOTKIN - Alfred A. Yuson - The Philippine Star
Illustration by IGAN D’BAYAN

Any span of years expands our lexicon. Growth spikes have become the norm in recent decades, with vigorous introduction of fresh terminology by way of techie convolutions, soc-med lingo, and new dispositions in human conduct. Fields covered are governance, science, culture and lifestyle aspects, inclusive of gushing endearments and crunchy epithets.

Listed below are some of these, with definitions, explanations, sample usage. Given multilingual dexterity, our burgeoning vocabulary allows for puns that cross-dress between languages.

The alphabetical arrangement should dispel any notion of subjective emphasis. Some of these entries have been around for some time, and may have gained revival or curious new use. Cycles of approval and disapproval may be detected, the way these terms have established themselves as trendy codes.

Asian pivot doesn’t refer to Yao Ming anymore, as he’s long retired, but to outgoing American Prez Barack Obama’s policy shift for increased engagement in our region. Sadly, his fellow Democrat’s loss to someone whose golden hair seems to be on perennial pivot mode has aborted that plan, even as a new leader from Asia angled a more unique refraction by pivoting away from America.  

Badass suggests being tough, mean-tempered, fearsome, but has also been used with grudging respect, as for one who’s “formidably impressive” or even as an “ultra-cool motherf*cker,” in the mode of a Dirty Harry. May also refer to demeanor or technical awesomeness, as with a “badass gadget.” Note: a badass is very different from someone referred to as an asshole, which is more common.

Bash has moved on from meaning a party or a physical blow, to indulging in severe verbal assault, often as part of a lynch mob, now so familiar in the online universe. 

Beast mode — a state of amazing mind or action that reaches an extraordinary level. “Going beast mode” is when LeBron James activates his peak form, or when a leader rants in rambling, vituperative speeches.

Beki — the latest term, now long-running, applied by Pinoy male gays to their own kind. It’s come closer to the original bakla that was once binabae and evolved into shoki, bading, etc.

Bitch-slap — an open-handed blow to the face of someone meriting utter disrespect but deemed unworthy of a man-sized punch. Decidedy misogynistic. Another interpretation has it as a token slap that’s not in the level of a pimp-slap. The latter is unfamiliar to most Pinoys, who use bitch-slap as a playful (or so they think) if contemptuous attack, not always physical.

Brexit — now regarded as the official start of our planet’s pivot to upside-down-ness, when 2016 kept one-upping itself in terms of crazy political surprises.

Bucon or beaucon — a Pinoy contraction of “beauty contest,” the revered social undertaking that involves tall women, domestics abroad with free Sundays, “beki” reps, and even prison inmates who turn “trans” (see below). 

Burn — to smash someone to smithereens on the Internet with a highly effective rejoinder or putdown, in which case the weak adversary suffers “butthurt.”

Collateral damage — uhh, tough to explain, or rationalize, given a welter of moral, criminal, and evidential issues. 

Cognitive dissonance — an uber-trendy highfaluting term that sounds very academic, but simply means being like a queen of a river in Egypt.

Clusterf*ck — originally a military term referring to a multiplicity of snafus, such as a SAF operation that cost many lives and millions of votes for regime continuity. 

Convo — short for conversation, no matter how long it is. 

Dilawan — now refers to those who engaged in convos with CPs while conducting what turned into a disastrous clusterf*ck that cost lives and millions of votes. Plus their vestigial supporters who now get the blame for everything. 

Dutertards — millions of fanatics who love to call everyone else dilawan while going “Beh, ampalaya!” Some of these legions who managed to graduate from high school opt for the term “yellowtards” as more civilized counter-labeling.

Duct tape — a hardware staple that was insufficiently discussed at a series of Senate hearings on a variety of binders used for a kind of heinous urban operation.

Due process — what duct-tape victims are deprived of. 

EJK — short for extra-judicial killing; a powerful blanket acronym that somehow covers both items above. 

Epic fail — not as popular anymore. Replaced by “epic meltdown” — as with our country’s sorrowful descent to zero due process.

False binary or false dichotomy or false dilemma is a fallacy raised in streetcorner polemics, or what involves graders in a schoolyard who only know of an either-or world. To wit:“Di bale nang nag i-EJK ang tatay kong pulis, kaysa naman i-bitchslap lang ang tatay mong beki.”

Friend zone — where a popular blogger has placed her reputed four million followers, so they can safely pant at the sight of her without underpants.

Gaslighting — a manipulative tactic that consistently pulls reality’s carpet from under a victim’s feet, until she/he believes that due process is a dimly-lit abstraction.

Hissy fit — what a leader we know usually gets into, either as a brilliant stratagem to keep everyone befuddled, or he simply had too much of that F-patch. 

Humanist — an endangered human species, since the world’s reversal into upside-down beast mode in the year that was.

Hukayin! — a newly-minted battle cry among humanists who respect heroism.

Human rights — a popular leader’s pet peeve.

Impunity — getting away with a rejection of pet peeves.

Kampo Fentanyl — a new group classification, something to do with drug habits. 

Mannequin challenge — the old statue game, revived. “Mash dub” and “mash-up” — lip-sync combos and mix-ups 

Mic drop — done after delivering a speech that thrills the Kampo Fentanyl.

Misogyny — often revealed during vituperative speeches.

Nailed it — what’s not done during long, rambling, vituperative speeches.

Narcissism — also revealed during vituperative speeches.

Oxytocin — what someone needs, from hugs before delivering vituperative speeches.

Plot holes — what show up poor narrative structure, even with vituperative speeches.

Post-truth — somewhat synonymous with “the new normal,” involving many plot holes besides cognitive dissonance.

Resilience — reputed to be a major character trait of the Filipino people, maybe specifically the Dilawan.

Shots fired — an alert re what may be the start of any bashing.

Slay — to “nail it”; beyond rambling speeches. 

Tokhang — a Visayan-inspired ritual that may lead to another kind of slaying or nailing it, also to duct tapes, EJKs, loss of due process and human rights, to the cheers of the Kampong Fentanyl (also known as DDS, but that’s another epic story).

Trans — not short for transportation, but teleportation to another gender.

Water bottle challenge — what the Dilawan are left to undertake, as part of a resilience program. 

Yellow — suddenly an accursed word, short for Yellowtards (see above).


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