When I was a cheeky, take-no-prisoners music blogger, one of my favorite tags was “lol words,” which I used to spotlight the silly, stupid, and downright horrifying ways that words would be twisted in service of some band or record or what-have-you. I got a lot of mileage out of it, and am a bit sad that my blogging career ended before social media really took off.
Of course, that was during the late 2000s, when words were still the primary method of communication in blogland; they haven’t quite been overtaken by the animated GIF, but the two forms of communication are probably on par with one another at this point. Nevertheless, I soldier on, favoring words over endlessly looped images borrowed from pop culture’s dustier nooks and crannies for the time being, if not for the rest of my career. (That said, I do enjoy taking Vines of my dogs.) This issue, in keeping with my stubbornness, looks at how the following four words and phrases function in contemporary culture: “DIY,” “lean in,” “the,” and “reality.” After you think about the last time you used each of them in a sentence and fired up this issue’s Spotify playlist, feel free to dive in.