Monday, January 30, 2012

the narrative of HELLA

*class exercise to take one colloquial phrase we youngsters use (fuck that, awesome, it's all good, etc.) and create a origin narrative for it to explain why it's used in its context. did NOT have to be factual, more along the lines of creative writing/fictional*

for the Bay Area slang, "hella," i created this:

I can picture something along the lines of two farmers conversing over a couple of clouds in the nearing sky:
"That's one hell of a storm approaching!" one says to the other.

And so this sense of magnitude and chaos gave shape to "hell of." One hell of a husband. One hell of a pot roast. One hell of a fast Ferrari 450! But in that regard, somehow the phrase was simplified. Simple, but still expressive on the colloquial level:
"She's hell of stupid."
"That's hell of unnatural."
"I'm hell of thirsty."

The recipe for this: now hype it up, get everyone on board in California for the sake of California, let it die down save for a bunch of fast-tongued youngsters choosing to roll over the sounds of "of," and it's one phrase that's "hella," Bay Area, a place that is surely of magnitude.

Why it persists in the Bay seems obvious, but it isn't. People think because of the melting pot and wish that Bay Areans have to stand out in everything-- including their speech. But it's a filler. In all honesty, we just like to make things seem bigger. And the nation makes a big deal out of a one-word, two-syllable phrase that really isn't a deal to us locals.

Guess the joke's on you, America.

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