CATCH PHRASE “It’s Britney, bitch.”
ORIGINAL CONTEXT There’s an argument to be made that it was Chris Crocker’s sobbing, streaky-eyed cri de coeur, “Leave Britney alone!” — surely you saw it as it banged around YouTube for the next month? — that was the real catch phrase. That argument, however, I reject. If she is to be allowed nothing else, La Spears must at least have the privilege of speaking for herself, and this line — the lip-sync intro to her dazed, unsteady but nonetheless powerfully erotic performance at MTV’s Video Music Awards — was her testament. A million shitty magazines have not destroyed her. Ten thousand whores with microphones have failed to bring her down. Let the dogs of fame slaver at her door: Britney will survive.
USE IN EVERYDAY LIFE AS a defiant, against-the-odds affirmation of identity and endurance.
EXAMPLE “Wow, Dave, I can’t believe that bouncer broke your jaw. You must be pretty down about that. More soup?”
“Iff Brrrt-nuh, biff!”
CATCH PHRASE “Senator, I don’t recall.”
ORIGINAL CONTEXT “Torture” was huge in 2007. And in one of the year’s neater ironies, the chief enabler of the Bush administration’s chaotic and homicidal torture policy — then–attorney general Alberto Gonzales — revealed himself, before a Senate committee, to be a man who only the most extreme forms of mental and physical duress could persuade to tell the truth. As he rebuffed questions relating to the underhanded dismissal of non-Bushite US attorneys, the glasses of Gonzales were fact-repellent; his face was insult-absorbent. Shame could not touch him, nor the blusterings of powerful men: nothing could dent the simpering steadfastness of his denial. To watch him testify was to feel oneself going slowly insane.
USE IN EVERYDAY LIFE AS a surreal refusal to admit the totally fucking obvious.
EXAMPLE “I see you spilled your coffee, sir. Let me clean that up for you!”
“Senator, I don’t recall.”
CATCH PHRASE “I’m feeling very vulnerable right now.”
ORIGINAL CONTEXT In 2007, the sexual revolution achieved its long-awaited fulfillment. No shots were fired, no one was executed, and in fact it is still unclear who is actually in power. Nonetheless, with the broadcasting of MTV’s A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila, all parties agreed that, really, there was nowhere else to go. With its teams of howling jocks and lesbians competing for the heart of a bisexual disco biscuit, A Shot . . . was the most freshly degraded reality TV of the year. And when Tila herself, late in the season, confessed to a moment of genuine human frailty, it was somehow more vulgar than all of the preceding bitch fights, hazings, ass-barings, Jacuzzi sessions, and drunken hook-ups put together.
USE IN EVERYDAY LIFE AS an insult, an imputation of frailty or effeminacy.
EXAMPLE “I’d love to arm wrestle with you, Brad, but I’m afraid I have a sprained wrist. You’ll have to find someone else.”
“Yeah, I can tell you’re feeling very vulnerable right now.”