Photos by Catherine Goce

By: Nicolas Belliveau

The news in November 2018 that Doug Ford and his provincial government were ceasing the project to build a French-language university in Toronto and eliminating the position of the provincial commissioner for French language affairs was met with backlash.

However, situations like these aren’t novel. French education and culture have been the target of marginalization for hundreds of years. Ford adds to this long list of discriminatory acts, as his decision to cut services and protections to Franco-Ontarians has underlying anti-francophone sentiment and is a violation of minority language rights in Canada.

But why should we care about this? After all, with just over 620,000 people, the French-speaking community in Ontario makes up just 4.5 per cent of its total population.

Growing up French-Canadian in Ontario, practicing and maintaining the language my ancestors tirelessly fought to preserve has proven difficult. Additionally, the limited number of French secondary schools meant that I had to enroll at an English secondary school — adding to the challenge of keeping my mother tongue.

However, Francophones are still Canada’s largest minority with Ontario home to the most populous French-speaking community outside of Quebec. But most importantly, the French language is a right that is protected by the Constitution and language laws.

This didn’t come easily. Throughout all of Canada’s history, francophones have fought for the right to French education and with Ford’s new agenda, the battle appears to be ongoing.

Merely a century ago, the provincial government passed and enforced Regulation 17 throughout Ontario, which restricted the teachings in French beyond grade 2 and limited French teachings to one hour per day in primary schools. After 15 years of enforcement and prohibiting a whole generation from learning French, the law was finally repealed in 1927.

By ending the project for the development of a French university, Ford is reopening a door into the past that most French-Canadians thought was over. The ideology that once disregarded Franco-Ontarians’ identity and equality is now resurfacing, under the new disguise of Ford’s policies.

And what is Ford’s reasoning behind these radical changes? Although Ford has yet to comment on the matter, government officials have cited the province’s $15 billion deficit as being the motivation for these cost-cutting actions.

However, the cost for the French Language Services Commissioner and the university tally up to a total of just $15 million per year. And as of now, Ford’s government has yet to meet the targeted amount of savings, leaving experts to question whether a thorough program review was carried out.

When looking at these realities, it is hard to believe the government’s narrative of the provincial deficit being the sole incentive for premier Ford’s changes, and not worry about an anti-francophone sentiment underlying Ford’s fiscal agenda.

What’s more unsettling is that Ford’s new policy changes cuts into Canada’s Constitution and the protections and rights of French-Canadians.

The functions of a language commissioner prove to be essential in promoting and protecting a language. Not only do they monitor the government for any infringements upon minority language rights, the French language commissioner acts as a liaison between the provincial government and Franco-Ontarians.

By getting rid of the French Language Services Commissioner, Ford is destabilizing the rights and protections of minority francophones and undermining the institutions that promote one of the ‘supposed’ official languages of this country.

I acknowledge that Ontario is already home to three bilingual universities and that the francophone minorities account for just 4.5 per cent of Ontario’s population. Additionally, I acknowledged that the Ford government has created the position of senior policy adviser on francophone affairs following the elimination of the French Language Services Commissioner.

The realities of the mistreatment of francophones throughout history along with the benefits of the French services and protections that Ford is eliminating would make it illogical for one to not consider this as anti-francophone sentiment. To be idle while the government carelessly partakes in these divisive political tactics is a disservice to our ancestors and to all minorities.

 

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Photos by Kyle West

On Jan. 30, the annual Bell Let’s Talk Day, an advertising campaign created by Bell Canada, took the country by storm. In an effort to raise awareness and combat stigma surrounding mental health in Canada, Bell donated money to mental health funds for every social interaction with campaigns hashtag.

While the world tweeted, snapped and Instagram-ed away, The McMaster Women’s Athletic Leadership Committee took it one step further and hosted their first-ever Bell Let’s Talk event.

The event consisted of McMaster student-athletes sharing their personal stories in an open and safe environment that was open to the entire McMaster community. Five student-athletes, Sabrina Schindel, Allison Sippel, Aurora Zuraw, Nicolas Belliveau and Louis Sharland, took the floor and led discussions on depression, eating disorders, language and anxiety and men’s mental health.

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The event was a success with a great turn out that included open discussion and much-needed conversations on mental health and how it affects athletes, in addition to the right steps that need to be taken to combat different stigmas.

“At first, I was expecting it to be a small event with just members of WALC, but to have my teammates, friends and people I didn’t even know come out to support was so amazing and inspiring,” said Sippel, the initiator for the event.

The idea for the event came up after Sippel, a cross-country runner, wanted to be able to create an open space for people to be able to talk about their battles with mental health.

“I feel like if we are able to create a space where people are open to talking, there would be less of a stigma around it,” said Sippel.

She first wrote down her story after she got out of the hospital after suffering from an eating disorder. After reading it to her close friends and family members, she never really shared it with the public. But when the idea of creating an event for Bell Let’s Talk came up, the idea of the panel sharing personal stories came to mind.

Working with Claire Arsenault, McMaster’s Athlete Services Coordinator and WALC, the panel that would originally be a conversation for members of the committee grew to more.

“I was happy that male athletes joined in and it was really inspirational that the group of us could be able to share our stories,” said Sippel.

🗣️ #OneTeamForMentalHealth 🗣️

Ask someone how they are doing.

📸 @MPHcentral#WeAreONE | #BellLetsTalk pic.twitter.com/OlmEeBWH9r

— Ontario University Athletics (@OUAsport) January 31, 2019

Each speaker shared their story then opened up the floor for discussion, answering questions in regard to their experiences, advice for others and much more.

During the panel, Sippel shared her story about how her eating disorder led her to be hospitalized when she was 14 years old. After losing too much weight and no longer being allowed to run, her journey to bounce back was not easy.

“This illness had turned mind against body and person against person because nurses were trained to trust no one,” Sippel explained about her time in the hospital.

Eventually, Sippel showed signs of improvement and was allowed to leave the hospital and return to her everyday life. Fast-forward to today, and she is now running on the Mac cross-country team while trying her best to stay on top of her condition.

“It’s a lifetime of fighting against my mind so I never had to go back,” Sippel said.

For Sippel, having the student-athletes lead this conversation was important for a number of reasons.

“I feel like a lot of times, it is frowned upon to express our feelings. If we start the conversation, there is no better way to set an example for our fellow students,” said Sippel. “Hopefully five students sharing their stories can spiral into something bigger and start a movement.”

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Schindel, another one of the five student-athletes who shared their stories, is a lacrosse player who suffered from depression. Through the ups and downs of dealing with her battle, she eventually discovered that staying busy and active is what kept helped her out the most. This meant that when her lacrosse season was over, she would have to find something to keep her occupied so she did not fall down that dark hole again.

“Realizing that no one is beyond help and getting in front of my depression before it could do the same damage it used to,” Schindel explained as the steps she takes to keep herself from falling again.

Schindel’s story, though devastating, is more common amongst young people than one may think. This is why it is so important that these conversations are happening. Having the bravery to start the conversation, and sharing tips and resources with their fellow students is a great way for Marauders to do their part in helping end the stigma surrounding mental health.

 

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Two fonts are used for graduation degrees. No one has a problem with Goudy Text Std. It is clean, efficient and has a decent enough backstory as far as fonts go as it is a modification from 1928 that was adapted and changed from the Gutenberg Bible.

This is a fine enough connection considering McMaster’s origins if you care enough about where your diploma font came from. However, a lot of people have issues with the second font called Linotext STD.

The problem is that the “v” in “University” looks like a “b” instead. While it certainly was a popular font for its time when it was created in 1901, it does not make a lot of sense to put it front and center on a large portion of diplomas of those graduating.

It makes even less that they would differentiate the degrees to one that has less clarity in its presentation. Their reasoning for why there are two templates was, “Due to availability…” which is a weak excuse.

While there are issues with some alternatives, for example, the “U” in “University” not being as sensible as I would like it to be in Gutenberg, it is not difficult to find plenty of other fonts that may have worked better.

The one used on the other template works well enough despite the “v” being a bit too rounded like a “u” for my tastes.

If you want to stick with the same designer as Linotext, Morris Fuller Benton, then Linoscript would be fine enough though a bit too modern.  Engravers Old English BT Std Regular, another by Benton, also plays on the same style while being inspired by a classic design called Caslon Black, created by William Caslon in 1760.

There are enough alternative options out there after a brief skim that I am sure you would be able to find even more if you put additional time and effort into it.

It is simply awkward and confusing why they would settle on a two template system and have one of those be legibly inferior. It should not be that hard to come up with a font mimicking the style they want without looking like a typo or joke.

While stating, “The Registrar’s Office meticulously hand checks every diploma not only for spelling but for any possible quality issue such as marks, smudges, misalignments or anything which might mar the diploma, or in any way diminish its presentation or the pride with which it is regarded by its recipient,” is nice, it would have been better to see that attention to deal come forward in the big picture.

It was simply a poor choice.

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By: Yara Farran 

I’m currently sitting in a near-empty classroom. Some students are participating in an impromptu calculus study session. I can hear the anxiety in their voices as they discuss inverse functions. But I can tell that they’re curious, too — maybe even a little excited.

Calculus is a world of its own. Learning about functions and derivatives unlocks some of life’s mysteries. Calculus is a special language, and these students are speaking their truths through numbers and algebraic formulas. But, this is not a piece about calculus. Not really, anyway.

This is a piece about poetry. Slam poetry, more specifically. And in this moment — me in this near-empty classroom with a group of first-year students fumbling their way through unfamiliar math — I am reminded of the sheer strength and beauty of slam.

I now want to write a poem about my broken ties with calculus, and tell an audience just how good it feels to be understood amongst the clutter of numbers, letters and decimals. Slam is a language too.

If you have yet to be introduced to slam poetry, let me be the first to introduce you. I used to be in your position, but then I was warmly welcomed by Hamilton Youth Poets (HYP). HYP is a community-focused organization that supports emerging young writers, poets and emcees by providing them with leadership opportunities to develop their literary and public speaking skills.

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Like calculus, slam poetry makes magic from moments; it’s a delicate balance between literary and performance art. Slam is rhythmic, having an intimate relationship with hip-hop and rap. It’s narrative-based, using the art of storytelling to intervene in the world. Most importantly, it gives a voice to its speaker and creates a space in which the poet and their audience can contribute to critical conversations that lead to tangible change in their communities. In short, slam poetry is a tool — it’s a methodology.

There’s also a competitive undertone to slam poetry. A poetry slam gathers performers under one roof where they present their best pieces of work during multiple rounds. Judges will typically give each performance a score from one to ten, and the audience will make it known whether or not they agree with the scores dished out.  They’ll protest to give the poet the love they deserve with extra snaps, claps or comments. Slams are fully immersive and communal experiences. Everyone gets a say.

Ultimately, though, the competition is a means and not an end. We applaud the poet, not the points. We use this forum to celebrate and debate one another, in a respectful and safe environment.

Anyone and everyone can slam. Poetry is a universal language through which people can speak about their unique experiences and contexts. There’s no right way to write, and every poet has their own performance style. Find your voice. Hell, develop your voice and then own your voice. It’s okay if you don’t know where to start. There’s a community of people excited to support you in HYP. If you’re not from Hamilton or the surrounding area, be sure to research local groups dedicated to the literary and performance arts. Slam culture is thriving, so there’s likely a group near you. If not, who’s to say you can’t be the person to start one?

Now, as I finish writing this, the calculus study session is wrapping up. While scribbling on the chalk board, the instructor looks at his students and makes an unexpected comment: “Always allow for serendipity in your life.”

I heard about HYP for the first time during a chance encounter. Four years later I took the plunge and got involved. But, this is not a piece about serendipity. Not really anyway.

HYP is active all-year round. Every third week of the month, we host a poetry slam at the Spice Factory — and the energy is contagious. Around 100 people attend with a mix of familiar and fresh faces. During the upcoming slam, on March 20, HYP will be featuring Winona Linn, a tour-de-force of a spoken word artist that you don’t want to miss. Alongside the competition, there’s also an open mic providing slam-goers with another avenue for poetic expression.

As the spring roars to a start, HYP will host the largest youth poetry festival in Canada, the annual Louder Than A Bomb Canada Poetry Festival (LTABC) from May 5-14.  During the 10-day festival, LTABC offers different workshops and competitive events with the goal of fostering creativity and community, by bringing young people together across racial and socio-economic lines. The festival promises to be a massive occasion for all parties involved.

Two special events that take place during LTABC are the University Slam, which is specifically geared towards engaging post-secondary-aged artists, and the Emcee Olympics, where 16 rappers battle in four rounds of competition.

With both events, there are great prizes to be won (like money and an opportunity to record on HYP’s mixtape) and great friends to be made.

Cover Photo Credit: Yara Farran

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By: Rachel and Megan Goodland/ WGEN

We often hear that our society is becoming too “politically correct”, or “PC.” It is true, that it is not uncommon to see trigger warnings on potentially upsetting content, and in many communities we see the elimination of oppressive language from everyday conversation. This has inspired a confusing amount of rage from people that feel that we are becoming too “sensitive” or “weak” as a culture — especially us young folk. As two people who are trying to uphold this “PC-ness,” we would like to apologize to all of those reading who feel bothered by this new social standard of caring.

Actually, we’re not sorry at all.

Take a second to bear in mind that changing our language to be inclusive is not, in reality, difficult. Why is it that the second we ask people to check themselves when saying “gay” or  “whore” in a negative context, they look at us as if we have asked them to aspire to sainthood? If we can exchange one degrading word we use to make people around us feel more comfortable, then why wouldn’t we? And to be honest, if you don’t care about making the people around you feel at ease, then may we suggest you consider speaking less in general.

We know what you are thinking: “I have the right to free speech so I can say whatever.” Very good, that is a valid argument, and to that we will respond that free speech does not protect you from facing the consequences of the things you say.

Freedom of speech does not mean you can bypass the critical backlash you may encounter if your words are hateful. So if you say, “I have a right be offensive,” then we could respond in turn, “I have a right to be offended and make it known that I am offended.” You see the interesting cyclical pattern here? We do admit that considering your words more carefully may be slightly inconvenient, it may even involve reflective critical thought (a horrendous task). No one can change their language in a day — it involves making many mistakes along the way. But we promise you that it’s worth it.

We would like to present an example of one phrase in particular that is popular in Western vernacular. Have you ever heard someone refer to a woman as a “crazy bitch”? The answer is almost definitely a resounding yes. There are a few major issues with this phrase. When a woman is called a crazy bitch she is left to question the relevance or importance of her own words and feelings. In many cases, a man will call a woman crazy because he does not want to acknowledge that she is upset for a legitimate reason.

If you don’t care about making the people around you feel at ease, then may we suggest you consider speaking less in general.

Another issue with calling someone crazy? It involves the use of a word that calls into question mental stability, therefore making one feel that their opinions are less important as a result. There are words, such as “mad” or “crazy”, that are problematic. They are open for reclaiming by many communities — as delightfully demonstrated by the Hamilton Mad Students Collective — but using them in an insulting context to bring someone down perpetuates stereotypes about the mentally ill and is not a way to get a point across. We argue that this is nothing more than a thoughtless way to shut someone up and make them question the validity of their feelings, in lieu of taking the time to consider and address their concerns.

So here we are, in this new standard of “checking ourselves” before we speak. Does it involve effort? Just a bit. Are we being sensitive? Sure. But does it make a difference? More than you know. If your right to casually use oppressive words and phrases is something that is very important to you, perhaps the small shift in language is not the real problem here.

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By: Jennifer La Grassa

webonly1

“Bae”: the fact that it stands for “Before Anyone Else” should be enough of a reason to stop using it. Unless bae is your mom, you should never use the name to refer to anyone. The name has run its course and it’s time for a change.

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Dying your hair gray: I don’t think anyone knows how this trend even began, but I like to tell my grandmother she started a revolution. With the eye bags and forehead wrinkles that university has given me, the only reason why I would ever attempt this is so I can finally use the grandma emoji in my Instagram pictures.

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Hashtags: I don’t care if your Instagram photo has #nofilter, nor do I enjoy spending at least two minutes trying to decipher #eachwordinyourlongandpersonalhashtag. Also this trend caused me to call the pound symbol the “hashtag sign” in my second-year stats course.

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Couple/ Squad Goals: Why is working out with your significant other and kissing them after every sit-up considered a couple goal? Things like these only make those who are single and without a squad feel completely horrible about their lives.

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Over-contouring: There is nothing wrong with contouring, but using excessive amounts of makeup and wrongfully applying it leads to a poor makeup job. Natural beauty is the best kind. Makeup is meant to play up your features, not give you a new face.

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Vaping: It has given a new vibe to smoking by making it seem cool and healthy when it really isn’t all that different from picking up an actual cigarette. If you’re going to smoke then smoke and if you want to quit or be healthy then do so, but vaping isn’t the way to go.

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“Like” has become one of the most useful words in our vocabulary. So useful in fact that we only notice how ubiquitous it is in colloquial speech if we’re specifically listening for it or if it’s emphasized for comedic effect. But what’s so funny about ‘like’? Considering that people who use the word do so for a host of linguistically valid reasons — to approximate, exaggerate, and even quote someone — it’s a little strange that overuse of the word is still associated with less-than-intelligent immature women.

It is particularly associated with teenage girls portrayed as uninterested in any sort of intellectual pursuit and are, like, always talking about their hair and make-up! Just listen to Frank Zappa’s “Valley Girl,” a hit from 1982. The first YouTube comment on the video was about how scary it is that some girls still talk like this.

Oops, I just used the L-word “correctly,” but why is it so much more acceptable there than in other contexts? New words fill our dictionaries every year, so why do we grapple with the fact that “like” now has multiple usages? Maybe it has nothing to do with the word itself and everything to do with the stereotypical image attached to its excessive use: the California-loving valley girl Zappa refers to, or maybe the giddy young woman talking to her friends about her crush. Notice anything in particular? For some reason, “like” is often ignored for its merits and shoved aside as a word for the illiterate, and more often than not, the illiterate female.

Not surprisingly, language remains a great tool for misogynists, but here’s the thing: I’ll bet that the people who ridicule those who use “like” have their own crutch. One use of “like” is to fill the silence while one is thinking of how to complete a thought, but other filler words, such as “um”, “uh” and “er” don’t get nearly as much flack.  One could argue that those aren’t actual words to begin with, so in defense of “like’” at least it is considered an actual word and not just a Neanderthal sound. Of course, “like” can be used to express hesitation as well, but it wouldn’t be right to completely discount the thought that follows just because the person was more comfortable using a filler word rather than a pause. It can also be a way of expressing imprecision. Say you are recalling a conversation you had with a friend; rather than say “He said things were good,” you might prefer to approximate his exact words by using “like”: “He was like, things are good.” In a way, you’re conveying to your listener that you are not quoting your subject directly, but are recalling to the best of your ability.

Other filler words, such as “um,” “uh” and “er” don’t get nearly as much flack

I think it’s time we acknowledge that using “like” in everyday conversation is useful, and at this point, ubiquitous. It’s not limited to the negative stereotypes we associate it with. Some people may choose to use different words for a similar effect, but we can’t deny that “like” is a convenient way of enhancing our speech in ways we may not even be aware. It’s time we stop attaching negative and sexist associations with the word and embrace its versatility. For those who are worried that we use “like” way too much for our own good, at least these non-traditional uses are limited to conversation and don’t come up in our written work. Well, with the exception of, like, this article.

Photo Credit: Jon White/Photo Editor

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Despite the growing art scene in Hamilton, poetry has remained the one artistic medium that does not have as much exposure or contributors as the rest.

With music at the helm and painting hanging on its flank, there doesn’t seem to be any established room for poetry in the Hamilton art scene. As someone who appreciates reading and writing poetry, I have found it incredibly difficult to find a space to share and collaborate with other writers here in Hamilton.

It’s disappointing to not have a dedicated space to poetry. Toronto used to have one called Quattro Books that would host readings throughout the summer. It was a great space, but even while it was running it was difficult for me to make the time to go all the way to Toronto from Hamilton. It wasn’t necessarily “inaccessible,” but it was definitely an ordeal to get to. That’s the issue, though: there should be a downtown space like that accessible to Hamiltonians.

There was only one event during Supercrawl this past weekend that had a timeslot for poetry reading, and that was a quiet event that called itself “Liminal Spaces.” There were minimalist signs posted around town, but even those didn’t draw a crowd to the house just off of James Street North. It was, however, exciting for me to see poetry poking its head up somewhere downtown. It made me even hungrier for a dedicated space.

I have done my own looking around downtown, and I have come up virtually empty-handed. Granted, I found a reading group that I attended once. I stumbled upon it at random, and I was rather disappointed. Barring the summer months, Homegrown Hamilton hosts an event known as “Lit Live,” where weathered writers gather to read old material that lacks a liveliness and relevancy needed to draw the younger crowd. I found myself experiencing this lackluster performance amongst a group of people who were all familiar with each other and, of course, the pieces being read from bookmarked books that were read over and over again for years at these nichey types of places.

For a young writer like myself, these tired events are exactly what I want to avoid. I want to remain active in my writing and surround myself with daily inspirations. I do not want to find myself in the same bars reading the same poems to the same people for years on end. I can only hope to keep my eyes peeled for new venues and new groups of my peers to enthusiastically read and write alongside me in Hamilton. I mean, with it being such a fantastic city for artists to flourish, where is the space for the writers? I hope to find an answer to that soon—not just for myself, but for the other writers who are looking for these spaces, too.

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bae

Bae, originally mistaken to be a lazy form of "babe," stands for "before anything else" and referred to a significant other. Now, bae can be used to describe anything you're even remotely attached to. "No, I don't want Burger King; pizza is bae."

- Tobi Abdul

basic

An adjective used to mock the behaviours of a cliché, unoriginal, or predictable girl, or the place or thing being associated to that girl. Example: "That white girl in line at Starbucks wearing her TNA jacket and Hunter rain boots is so basic." The name-calling of "basic", or "basic bitches" gives the presumptive invitation to assume that all demographics of white Western-European middle-class girls are all stupid, copy cats, and live to Instagram all of the privileges in their lives.

- Carolyn Zeppieri

can't even

The state of mind where you're so dumbfounded and awestruck that your brain cells cannot possibly string together a few words to be able to properly express yourself. Famous for being used in situations when this is not the case but when the user simply has a strong desire to sound like a YouTube comment.

- Mitali Chaudhary

slacktivism

A combination of "slacker" and "activism." Simply put, fighting for a cause with little or no effort put in. Examples include signing an online petition, sharing a picture on your Facebook timeline that supports a charity. It raises awareness of an important issue. However, in this period of high social media usage, it increasingly makes us complacent and feeling like we have solved the problem by giving a like on Facebook.

- Asefeoluwa Abodunrin

swerve

Popularized by Big Sean in one of the puniest verses ever on Kanye West's "Mercy," swerve means to avoid someone like an ex. Swerve also doubles as a way to say "what you just said is so wrong that I want you to leave." For example, "Kristen Stewart is so ugly." "Swerve, peasant." Alternatively, you could just say it as a substitute for "cool" and yell it while swerving your car if you're driving.

- Jason Woo

tbh

Tbh means "to be honest," and is a precursor to some serious truth, all tea, all shade. As a part-time insult comment, full time meanie pants, I am a big fan. "Tbh, you smell like a day old taco." Classic.

- Hayley Regis

throwing shade

To deliberately, yet nonchalantly, direct attitude towards someone either aggressively or passive-aggressively via verbal comments, facial expressions, body language, and/or social media. Perfect for people with attitude problems and a lack of filter, who also desire some sliver of truth in their insult style.

- Daniella Porano

turn up/turnt

Popularized by the one-lined Lil Jon party anthem, to turn up is to get loose, be wild, and have so much fun that you just can't stop. Except for school. Turn down for exams. Also not to be confused with turnips.

- Jason Woo

yaaaaas

An exaggerated way to agree with something. The more a's, the more agreeable and excited you are. If you feel like throwing it back, use the full phrase "Yaaaaaas Gaga yaaaaaa."

- Jason Woo

Normally I would refrain from doing this, but the prevalence of “basic” in our day-to-day language is approaching other hall-of-famers like YOLO and #-insert random word-. Yet somehow the definition of “basic” is still very vague. According to urban dictionary, “basic bitch” is defined as “a bum-a$$ woman who think she the shit but really ain’t."

Setting aside the inappropriate use of the b-word (a serious discussion for another day), it sure sounds like being basic is not a good thing. Grabbing a quick extra-whip low-fat pumpkin spice latte? You basic. Making yourself a kale smoothie after Zumba class? You basic. But the truth is, everyone’s a little basic. The more important truth is that it’s no big deal if you are.

I’m pretty basic. On the tenth anniversary of the release of Mean Girls, I hosted a viewing party at my house, complete with sushi and copious glasses of Girls’ Night Out. It was also a ridiculously good time, so why not just shake off the haters? Because we all know the haters gonna hate hate hate.

Being basic is considered a bad thing in that it implies you lack agency. You will follow trends as they come, with not one original thought ever crossing your mind. That’s simply not true though. Remember that time you came up with the idea to deep-fry Oreos in a Nutella batter? How about that time you wrote a paper about Descartes’ ethics as a hopeful interpretation of human nature? That ain’t basic. Just because you follow trends doesn’t mean you are an unoriginal person as a whole. Not many people are invested enough in everything to go their own way all the time.

One of the reasons I don’t mind being basic is because I appreciate a basic’s honesty. Basics are unafraid of accepting the notion that they are not wholly creative in their outer appearance. Basics are predictable. By acknowledging the inherent stupidity of things like celebrity gossip and Pawn Stars, basics make it feel okay to occasionally indulge yourself in these pointless fun pastimes.

And if you really think about it, calling someone basic as an insult doesn’t really criticize them for their lack of originality. The term is thrown around so much and is so widely applicable that it’s hard to take seriously. Instead, calling someone out for being basic is just pointing out a common consumption pattern, and somehow asserting that it’s worse than subscribing to a less popular one (I’m looking at you, music snobs). It’s a really restrained way of proving your superiority over others, one that is buried in sarcasm and laced with just the right amount of sass. It also makes you a dick, but hey – what do I know? I’m just a basic guy who loveeeeees brunch.

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