In the wild: boujie

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jan 25 06:27:11 UTC 2011

Wilson, I can only speak to what I can see, hear, read--and,
occasionally, speculate based on all of these. What I cannot do is
magically transpose myself into the 40s. Hell, I wasn't even here in the
70s! My observations in English only become meaningful in 1983, although
I've been exposed to some linguistics and philology prior to that. I'll
let you figure that one out.

I never assumed that "bougie" was particularly new. I simply made a
comment about spotting one in a program that actually has very limited
language exposure, so it's interesting to see such a term there. Anne
Wong is interesting because of her trajectory--starting out at the FIT
before deciding to become (a fairly decent) chef. But my main point is
the folk etymology in the UD. It is spectacularly silly.

In reality, I made no assumptions about the ethnic or regional origins
of the term, although guessing that it's BE does not seem to be such a
big stretch.

As for "tapping ass", yeah, I hear it from multi-ethnic crowds, but it's
quite clear where that comes from. And I barely hear it on TV--although
"pay-TV" channels (HBO, Showtime) are more likely to carry uncensored
language and I never had access to those. (Even the shows that make it
from those channels to regular cable are sanitized prior to release.)
But you're also wrong--"bitch" is fairly common in the more "violent"
shows on cable. It is still proscribed from "free" TV. It is
interesting, however, that, unlike CNN, other networks do not censor
Slavic curses and insults when they appear in "fiction" (e.g., several
expressions by the "Georgian" Anatop that contain an unmistakable, if
heavily accented, "bliad'"--in fact, there it is pronounced closer to
the way it is transliterated then it is normally spoken). There are even
a few words that pop up in the ostensibly kids' movie The Golden
Compass--these are actually spoken properly, although somewhat muted.
Similarly, Spanish obscenities occasionally are left unobstructed. But
the point remains that BE taboo expression are as opaque to the
mainstream white audience in the US as are Russian and Spanish
obscenities, so they are easy to get past the censors. But the reason
for this is that US censorship is reactive rather than proactive--the
FCC responds only if a large number of complaints are filed.


On 1/25/2011 12:53 AM, Wilson Gray wrote:
> On Mon, Jan 24, 2011 at 10:34 PM, Victor Steinbok<aardvark66 at>  wrote:
>>> A Southern African-American contraction of the word "bourgeoisie",
>>> used to describe someone rich or in the upper class. Similar meaning
>>> to "sidity".
> Really, really, really old news, Victor. In BE, this has been in use
> since possibly the '40's. Lately, I've noticed that the pronunciation
> appears to be shifting from the [budZI] of my youth to [buZi]. I noted
> this in an earlier post because, among BE speakers from at least my
> grandparents' time, ca.1875-, to "here of late," there was no [Z] in
> BE: garage, rouge, barrage, leisure, etc. all once had [dZ] and not
> [Z].
> WRT Asians, have you seen the commercial for some big-name brand of
> bastitbaw shoes - Nike? Adidas? - featuring a hip-hop-speaking Asian
> baller who, in one version, refers to himself as the "Beast From The
> Far East," with his black sidekick, the "Beast From The Regular East"?
> I wonder why it is that two real black guys aren't used, instead of a
> pswaydo-black Asian guy and a black guy.
> It's merely the American way, I reckon. Or maybe it's karma making up
> for the '50's R&B sides, "Ling-Ting_tong," My Chinese Girl," "The
> Japanese Sandman," and such. At the time, I figured that such songs
> mere made up for Charlie Chan's colored boy, the inimitable
> Birmingham.
> Youneverknow.
> When a BE obscenity like "tapping  ass," in no way distinct from
> "getting pussy" or even "fucking" among native-speakers of BE, can be
> used by characters on the mainstream, "white" TV show, "Bones," as
> though it was as trivial as "dating" - well, clearly, it *is* as
> trivial as "dating" among white speakers or it couldn't have gotten
> past the censors - that an Asian-American should use "boojie" on TV
> isn't particularly startling and is only just barely interesting.
> That only the use of "nigger" and "bitch" should be the only words
> that gather any ink when people whine about rap and hip-hop as though
> they somehow were a sign of the Apocalypse is interesting
> --
> -Wilson

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