Proposed Pop Culture Vocabulary


The comic sound effect that happens in movies when someone is being clumsy offscreen. It consists of noisy commotion, followed by the sound of breaking glass, followed by the sound of a cat yowling in surprise. This is such a cliché that you hardly ever see it anymore. The most recent example I can think of is in Young Frankenstein, which features a clatterwaul as part of the dart game between Gene Wilder and Kenneth Mars.


A musical sample whose origin is so clearly recognizable that it diminishes the effect of the song that employs it. An example would be the bass line in “Ice Ice Baby” which serves no purpose other than to remind you every two seconds or so that “Under Pressure” is a better song. This would apply paradigmatically to musical genres like hip-hop, where non-snaggle samples are a central element of the sound, but could be extended metaphorically to any sort of appropriation-without-transformation type misstep. Feel free to call imaginative works that are hobbled by the presence of snaggles “snaggle-toothed”.

Ironic Regress

The point at which an ironic cultural stance adopted in response to an earlier stance has reached such a level of embedding that we all just give up trying to keep track. Examples would be sporting ugly facial hair to make fun of people who intentionally have ugly facial hair, pointedly ignoring television ads shown during the Superbowl, or wearing a T-shirt that says, “I’m wearing this shirt as a joke.


Rhymes with “Jean Valjean”. An artistic genre that began as imitation of a single person’s work, but eventually gathered enough adherents that it ceased to be derivative and became a thing in itself. Gypsy Jazz is a mon-gen of Django Reinhardt. Fantasy fiction is a mon-gen of J.R.R. Tolkien.


Correctly making a cultural reference without having first-hand experience of its source because the reference has become such a common touchstone that first-hand experience is not necessary. For example, telling someone “Patience, Grasshopper” even though you’ve never actually watched an episode of the David Carradine television series Kung Fu. To be a true alluglide, the allusion can’t have been so thoroughly absorbed into the general culture that it has shaken loose of its origin. So a lot of Biblical and Shakespearean references don’t count.


A written joke wherein a sentence starts off meaning one thing then switches to mean something else at the very end and gives this gotcha effect extra oomph by concluding with an apostrophe that omits the comma of direct address. For example:

can we redo all the tyler perry movies with white people oh nevermind thanks adam sandler


Noticed that girls who complain about getting hit on at seedy bars keep going back to the same seedy bars while wearing a low-cut top MOM

Often the apostrophe of a Beattie begins with the words “I’m looking at you…

This is named after online micro-celebrity Sarah Beattie, aka @nachosarah, who posts a steady stream of jokes to her Twitter account in which she periodically falls back on this schtick. From what little information can be gathered from her profile, Sarah Beattie is a scorchingly sexy young woman with an uncanny talent for composing one-liners, though I wonder if she is really the invention of a group of overweight middle-aged comedy writers, because otherwise be still my heart she’s just too good to be true.

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