Hitchens on “Like”
Ok, for your reading pleasure, I have found this gem from Christopher Hitchens, polemicist extraordinaire. He writes in Vanity Fair on the almost virulent outbreak of the word “like” in the vernacular. Personally, the topic has been beaten to death in other ways (some in very creative and humorous ways) , but he does bring it up in a rather erudite way:
Just as the humble, unassuming, assenting “O.K.” has deposed the more affirmative “Yes,” so the little cringe and hesitation and approximation of “like” are a help to young people who are struggling to negotiate the shoals and rapids of ethnic identity, the street, and general correctness. To report that “he was like, Yeah, whatever” is to struggle to say “He said” while minimizing the risk of commitment. (This could be why young black people don’t seem to employ “like” quite as often, having more challenging vernaculars such as “Nome sane?”—which looks almost Latin.)
That last “Nome sane” part is easily the funniest way I’ve seen “namsayin?” spelled. Funny thing is, it still works.