Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Word Up Wednesday: Wicked

I may be the only person in the world who didn't really enjoy Wicked the musical. And that is despite winning the ticket lottery in New York City and seeing the show from the middle of the front row for $25, on Broadway. Yes. But it's not the show's fault. I just don't like musicals, I think they're shite. Apologies if you like them. Pretty much everyone I know loves musicals. I fully recognize my deviancy in this.

Anyway, I'm not talking about the musical here, I'm just talking about the word wicked, which is your Word Up this week. Now, I spent about three or so years in Massachusetts as a kid. We had just moved back to the states from Greece, and I hadn't encountered the phrase "wicked awesome" before. And, like the Red Sox and snobby cliques of girls in school, I took an instant dislike to it. (Again, apologies if you're a Red Sox fan or a snobby girl in a clique. I really am going to be apologizing a lot in this post. As an excuse I will say that I was an SF Giants fan and anti-disestablishmentarianist at age 13.)

Okay anyway then we moved back to California where I could love the Giants in peace and the girls weren't as snobby (northern CA, not southern), even though I encountered just as foul an expression: "hella cool" or its arselicky counterpart, "hecka cool." Note: hella cool became wicked awesome after No Doubt made it famous. Anyway one of my best friends in the world still lives in Massachusetts and over the years I went back to visit her and I came to really love the word wicked, and especially the term wicked awesome. Time had healed, you see. And I could appreciate New England flava. (You know I'm making a little jokey joke when I say things like "flava" right?)

Wicked, of course, means bad, disgusting, evil, rotten. All great definitions, to be sure. To me, it means a particularly nasty brand of bad. You can be terrible, but to be wicked you have be really depraved. I love that we also use it to mean "really really." Because of course it isn't just paired with "awesome" - when used well, it's useable with anything: "That's a wicked corroded car battery." "Manchester United fans are wicked arrogant." "I have to pee wicked bad." Just saying. Just examples.

And "wicked awesome" is, well, wicked awesome, especially when said in a broad New England accent (which I have also come to appreciate and love over time). Elana Johnson, who is on my secret BFF list, lists a bunch of wicked awesome bloggers, which is totally wicked despite the obvious oversight of my not being on the list.

Thoughts on wicked or wicked awesome? Leave some wicked killa comments!


Travener said...

"Man, that candle is wicked!"

Lt. Cccyxx said...

Wasn't there some SNL sketch a ways back making fun of New England kids and their "wicked" this and "wicked" that? It definitely seems like a regionalism.

"Wicked" seems almost a term for someone who revels in being evil, though it also conjures strong images of fairy tales and the Wizard of Oz. For instance, "the wicked witch" is a cliche while "the wicked Dick Cheney," though true, seems like an odd combo.

And beyond using it to describe people, I might in my writing use it to describe something that makes you say "wow," like a hiker encountering not just thorns but wicked thorns or a knife leaving not just a cut but a wicked wound. I just scanned through the work I'm querying, and in 100,000 words I used "wicked" once, to refer to the blade of a big saw.

And crap, Travener just stole the cutesy little sentence I was going to use to close. Ah well, great minds....

Tina Lynn said...

Every single time I see or hear this word it automatically plays in my head in Ron Weasley's voice. Am I alone in this?

Julie Dao said...

I've been hearing a lot of "mad" replacing "wicked." Like: "Dude, that is mad cool!" or "I was mad hungry earlier today" or "Those snow tires are mad expensive."

I think "wicked" is a pretty wicked cool word.

Sierra Godfrey said...

Wicked rad comments guys. Trav, I've no idea what you're talking candles there but I'll say "Aye go for it" all the same.

Lt. - You are correct on all points as usual sir.

Tina, yes you're alone...I don't remember Ron saying that??

Julie, Good point, mad is the new wicked but I refuse to bow to trend so I say "STUFF IT, MAD!" VIVA LA WICKED REVOLUCION!

Travener said...

Sierra, candles have, you know, wicks... So if the candle is "wicked" it means it has a wick. It helps if you pronounce it Shakespean-fashion, i.e, "wick-ed" not "whickt" as in "frisked" or "whisked."

In other words, a cheap joke.

Sierra Godfrey said...

I cannot believe I missed that wicked cheap joke Travener. I hang my head in shame.

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

I've never seen Wicked on stage, but I do love and adore the music from the show.

I like describing things as being wicked awesome, but I don't think I use it enough. It may be that I've replaced wicked with spice.

For instance, you are wicked awesome, but also awesomespice.

Anonymous said...

I wish people where I live said "wicked". (And I hear it in Ron Weasley's voice as well, or at least a Bri''ish one.)

But no, around here they say "hella". As in "hella cool", or "hella wack!" *shivers* If it was Cali, it'd balance out. But I live in Misery.(for those punsters out there.)

And now I have to add a new blog to my subscriptions. ;)

Sierra Godfrey said...

Thanks for commenting atsiko, you gave me shivers too with "hella wack." That is really quite beyond what I'm willing to tolerate.

I hope you're talking about MY blog to add -- thank you!!

Anonymous said...

No, it was some other blog. Sorry for the confusion.


And if deadpan humour went well with the internet, I would leave it at that. But alas, this is the information age, when what you meant is never what you actually said.

If this keeps up, I won't be able to do anything but refresh Google Reader all day long.

As to "hella wack", that's hella weak compared to some of what I hear every day in my home town.(neighborhood, suburb, etc) It's the kind of place that people who've never lived in a real city call "ghetto".

In fact, I do believe I have heard it described quite often as "tha's hella ghetto, n***a!" And they wadn't frontin', neither! ;)
(not sure what your policy is on that word.)

You only think you had/have it bad in Mass and Cali.

Sierra Godfrey said...

Oh atsiko, no worries to the blog adding (although you may as well go ahead and add this one now, hint hint).

I think pseudo ghetto slang is amusing, and probably not in the way the people who can actually say it mean for it to be. Kind of like the same way that the boys who wear pants belted at their knees don't realize that it's not cool -- it just looks like they've got a load of diarrhea in their jeans.

My policy on the n word is: No.


Anonymous said...

Er... my comment seems prophetic. I have in fact added more than one blog today, but I was refering to adding this one inthe above comment. :) I guess that means I can say "you're welcome!"

On the n word, it's not a normal part of my vocabulary, but I wanted to use the exact quote. And it is an exact quote. I wouldn't call it "pseudo" ghetto slang, though. My neighborhood really is on the low end of the income scale, and that's how a lot of people talked in their everyday lives. It wasn't just a bunch of rich kids making use of liberal cutural appropriation. These people were raised speaking the BEV dialect.

Now, sagging is always a no-no, and I don't care how someone was raised. I don't need to see anyone walking around with their belt around their knees. Whatever they do at home is their own business, but public is public. ('Specially if you're a rich white college kid in tighty-whiteys. lol)

Sierra Godfrey said...

:) I mean pseudo ghetto slang to mean that which is spoken by others who are not in the ghetto. However when used well, it is a source of mirth. For example there is little I love more than calling someone a playa hata when they have behaved badly towards me.

Anonymous said...

Haha. Yeah. Mainstream culture has appropriated a lot from the "ghetto". If only more of it could be positive, like "playa hata".

More on topic, I think mainstream (American) culture should appropriate more from Britain. "Wicked" isn't the only fun thing we could learn. I've always liked "bloody" for instance, as in the now-famous "bloody brilliant." Which I am incapabl of saying without that bloody British accent. ;)

Tina Lynn said...

Sierra ~ *gasp* It was his exclamation the first time Harry showed him his scar. *sigh* Now, I'm in the mood to watch HP.

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