Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Three Trivial Things I Learned From Emailing With Bloggers this Weekend

 1)  The origin of the word “meh.”

lisas.jpg

Frequently, I will be IM-ing with someone and I will ask them politely, “How are you?” which is something I was taught by my mother to ask rather than talk about myself all the time, and the other person will answer me back by writing, “Meh.” 

I see bloggers saying “Meh” all the time.  I don’t remember seeing the term “meh” before I started blogging.  I always wondered if it was an internet term like LOL.  The mystery is now solved, thanks to a blogger from the East Coast.  Apparently, the use of “meh” instead of the old school “blah”  was popularized in “The Simpsons,” specifically in an episode titled “Hungry Hungry Homer” in 2001.

Homer: (after watching blockoland commercial) Alright kids… who wants to go… to… Blockoland?
Bart and Lisa: Meh.
Homer: But the commercial gave me the impression that…
Bart: We said meh.
Lisa: M-E-H. Meh.

(Update:  Sophia finds evidence that meh is from Yiddish.)

2)  The truth about tailgate parties.

tailg2.jpg

Until yesterday, my impression of a tailgate party was this:

A group of people would drive to a football game an hour or two before for the game.  They would open the back of their van or truck and make some sandwiches (or grill some burgers) and drink beer until it was time to go to the game.

After speaking to a blogger who lives in one of the Big-10 towns, I learned that I was totally off the mark.  Tailgate parties are BIG EVENTS. 

People come to the tailgate parties with NO intention of going to the game.   College football fans have even made tailgating a business.  They set up big screen TVs outside and charge for food and entertainment.  Sometimes, there are membership fees and you have to to apply for admission to a certain tailgating group, as if it were an exclusive club.  In some towns, the tailgate parties on the days of a big game are THE social event of the month!

Meh.

3)  What the hell is a hoodia? 

hoodie2.jpg 

In between all my spam for Viagra and porn, I get messages with the words hoodi, hoodia, hoodie, and hood written in the title.

At first, I assumed it was typical porn spam, and had something to do with the “hood” of the clitoris, although it didn’t make a whole lot of sense.  What type of clinical pornography was being sold here and why was “Citizen of the Month” attracting so much clitoral spam?  The irony was not lost on me, considering it took me many years to figure out where the clitoris actually was located, and still frequently lose my way without the GPS on my handheld device.

Then, one day I read an article in the Style section of the LA Times about how “hoodies” with logos are popular with the surfing and skateboarding crowd.  A-ha! — the spam was less about the clitoris, and more about sweatshirts!

Now I’ve owned a pullover sweatshirt with a hood for most of my life (sans logo).  I just didn’t know that they were now called “hoodies.”  Apparently, spammers are trying to sell “hoodies” to all the hipsters who read my blog. 

Wrong again!    Thanks to a friendly blogger in Texas, I now know the truth.  Hoodia is… what else…  an ineffective and dangerous weight loss pill  (Trimspa).

hoodia3.jpg 

38 Comments

  1. How exciting to be one of the first comments on this post! I’m glad to know about the origin of meh. Now I can say it with authority thanks to you (and the awesome writers of the Simpsons).

  2. my kids use meh all the time, i never knew it was from the simpsons.
    i LOVE tailgate parties, we don’t have them here but we will cross the border into buffalo to watch the bills and enjoy the party. WOO HOO!!!

  3. How’s Sophia? Any better?

  4. I use the word Meh quite a bit especially on Mondays. I would also use it in conjunction with tailgate parties, or football in general.

    hoodies… giggles. yea i can see the confusion there. so, How is sophia!?

  5. I love to learn new things too. Thank goodness my brain is still able to absorbe the little things. Why just this weekend I learned what a RSS feed is. Trigonometry or Calculus? I can barely spell them.

  6. Her Ass is fantastic!

  7. Neither hoodia nor hoodies work for weight loss. I used to think that my hoodies made me look thinner. They’re so bulky, I just looked strange.

  8. I know I’m too old for them, but I still wear a hoodie almost everyday and have since I hung-out with all the skateboarders in the eighties.

    Tailgaters are so big in out town that people get up at 5 am just to go even if the game doesn’t start until the evening. I’ve never been to one myself, because all that drinking makes people very scary.

  9. Hungry Hungry Homer is my favorite Simpsons episode, ever. I could sing his little hunger jingle right now, but I won’t ;). I actually bought a t-shirt that says “meh.” from thinkgeek.com

  10. Clinical studies by certain pharma/biotech companies prove that hoodia works, but it’s expensive to produce and yields too little per plant versus the quantity needed to see results. Also, it’s not worth the amount of time and money it takes to harvest and create the active pharmaceutical ingredient.

  11. Sophia says thanks for asking how she feels. She is feeling a little better. Last night, we went out and saw the musical “The Light in the Piazza” which was pretty good.

  12. wow, thanks for passing that learning on. I didn’t know why people were selling sweaters but if they sell me portuguese house insurance and watches, sweaters didn’t seem a leap. Drugs make more sense.

    Meh. And I thought it was yiddish.

  13. Thanks for clearing up the “meh” as I’ve been wondering–and I’m surprised I didn’t know as I consider myself a huge Simpsons fan! My husband and I even had the Simpsons theme song playing for our “grand entrance” at our wedding! As for the other 2 mysteries, I had no idea.

  14. I have to agree with Peter on this one: that woman’s ass DOES look fantastic.

    Please reassure me that it’s been photoshopped.

  15. i live in hoodies because i need the hoodia. too bad i can’t call 1-800-SUCKER from europe and order a new body.

  16. Neil! What’s with the vignettes? Usually you go ON and ON about something or another, and today you’re as capricious and jumpy as popcorn!!!

    Regarding “Meh.” I say it all the time. Maybe I’m Jewish. I’ve always said if I wasn’t Lutheran I’d be Jewish, but I don’t know if you guys would want me. I think I would fit right in. And since we’re on the topic, do you ever say, “Pft” as in, “whatever?”

  17. I don’t watch the Simpsons – I know you can’t believe it – but I’m not a fan of cartoons even if they are for adults. The other items on your list I was fully aware. Tailgate is big in any college football town. Some people actually arrive the day before the game and start setting up. It is big business in the South and not just at football games but car racing too. And no I don’t go to the Atlanta Motor Speedway – it makes no sense to watch cars go around in circles 400 times. But those who do go to the races are serious tailgaters with widescreen TVs in their RVs.

  18. BTW – glad to hear Sophia is out and about and feeling better. Also, you are still pink.

  19. I still don’t know what meh means.

  20. I never knew that about “meh”!

    What about snarky? When did that appear?

  21. Sophia has done the research and has come upon the Yiddish origins of “meh” — which is the sound of the bleat of a Jewish goat.

    From Language Log:

    Karen Kay emails to point out that I completely missed the Yiddish roots of the interjection meh, which would of course long predate “The Simpsons.” There was some discussion of meh last year on Metafilter, where a Yiddish origin was suggested. One commenter supplied a link to lyrics for a Yiddish song from 1936, “Yidl Mitn Fidl,” in which meh appears as the bleat of a goat and rhymes with feh. (Feh for some reason is more recognizably Yiddish to me than meh. Jonathan Lighter observes that feh was favored by the writers of Mad magazine, though he believes that it expresses “slightly greater disapproval” than meh.)

    Elsewhere on the Web, a commenter on Artblog.net defines meh as “a Yiddish interjection used to express disdain that borders on apathy.” Beyond that I don’t find much online discussion of meh’s Yiddishness. (For instance, Yiddish goes unmentioned on a silly website devoted to the word called “The Gospels of MEH,” which provides only a spurious origin story from 1986.) It’s very possible that the “Simpsons” writers took meh from Yiddish, though compare similar nonsense syllables used on the show such as buh, snuh, and zuh. In any case, it seems that whatever Yiddish origins the interjection might have had, they have been lost in post-“Simpsons” usage.]

  22. Viscountess — Yes, I was feeling very vignettey today.

    Two Roads — Yes, thanks, I need to de-pink, although I do thing the color does wonders for my eyes.

    Scarlett — Snarky:

    The adjective snarky is first recorded in 1906. It is from dialectal British snark, meaning ‘to nag, find fault with’, which is probably the same word as snark, snork, meaning ‘to snort, snore’. (The likely connection is the derisive snorting sound of someone who is always finding fault.) Most dictionaries label snarky as “Chiefly British Slang.” But for the last five or more years, it has become increasingly common in American publications, maybe ones infiltrated by British or Canadian writers and journalists.

  23. The model in that ad looks chilly. Someone should lend her a hoodie.

  24. I usually say “mer” instead of “meh”. I came across it because that’s what my cat would say when she was pissed off (she was great at cursing). It made me laugh so much, I had to start saying it. It’s also kinda short for “merde”, which I believe is a Spanish term for the same thing.

  25. Thank you for reminding me that I need to add more hoodies to my shopping list.

  26. Holy poop! I say “meh” all the time, but I didn’t know where it came from before reading this. Gold star for you! 😉

    And tailgate parties? Oh yeah. I live in Ann Arbor. I could head down to the stadium, walk around and get wasted for free. You know, if I were younger and stuff. Which I’m not. And that makes the Baby Jesus cry.

  27. I have never used “meh”. Should I start? Oh man, I don’t want to be left behind…

    My new policy is to take all my cultural cues from you.

    Feels right.

  28. I now wonder if “Meh” (with which I was thoroughly unfamiliar, since I do not watch The Simpsons) is the equivalent of the French “Bof.”

    Hoodies – they are evil.

    Tailgate parties – Bof.

  29. My daughter is 20, so I picked up the hoodie thing long before “meh.”

    Certifiable Princess says it all the time. It’s probably of Yiddish origin for her.

    I would certainly agree at Lisa bringing it to the masses. That girl rocks.

  30. I think a hoodie would work better for weight loss than hoodia. But, only if you where the hoodie backwards and it’s covering your mouth!!

  31. Maybe “Meh” will make it into the Oxford English Dictionary this year! I read an article about how it’s been extensively revised even as we speak.

  32. I thought “meh” was a lazy man’s “mmm, eh.” As if questioning oneself’s level of blah.

  33. I too thought the Hoodia e-mails were porn spam initially!

  34. Greetings from California. I’m trying to hit as many NaBloPoMo sites as I can, and only commenting on the ones I like.

    So Hi! 90% of the other sites don’t even deserve a ‘meh.’

    I actually spent a half hour running through some of your old posts and will return to read more!

  35. I don’t employ “meh” nearly as much as I do “eh” to denote disaffectation. It seems to me that “meh” is stronger than “eh” but not quite as impolite as “feh”.

  36. The first time I heard hoodie was from a 23 year old gay guy I met via community theater. This was a little over three years ago. It really threw me off, and, especially when I found out that ‘all the kids were saying it’, I felt incredibly old.
    The first time I heard meh was from a 21 year old gay guy I met via community theater. I liked it immediately, especially when I found out that ‘all the kids were saying it’. It made me feel young. I signed up for MySpace.com right around the same time.
    I do not draw a conclusion from my experience.

  37. Never heard of “meh.” I guess I’ve been out of the States too long. The French word is “bof” which we all find very useful.

    Never heard of hoodia either, thank God.

  38. At risk of sounding totally vain, I have to say it: there’s nothing wrong with Hoodia. It’s a part of a cactus, I do believe, that creates the sensation of not being hungry, and found in Africa? Anyway, I wouldn’t be impressed with it were it not for a report I saw on BBC about it. When reporters for the BBC are out in Africa eating a cactus to tell us the results, somehow….that’s so much more impressive than Anna Nicole flashing her boobs/silly Trimspa necklace at us.

    And my sons wears a hoodie. I did, as a teenager and hanging out in Detroit. You had to wear a hoodie; it made you look decidedly NOT rich and therefore not worth mugging. You could get them at the Salvation Army for dirt cheap, and save your money for drugs.

    (laughs) Like hoodia. I jest, I jest…

    And tailgate parties? I couldn’t even read what the truth WAS about them, they’re so darn meh. I will confess to never having written the word “meh” until the previous sentence. But I did wear hoodies, so I’m still hip, right?
    Right?
    (I don’t know what “feh” means, or why it might be considered impolite. Drat. I’m going to go sign in to MySpace.)

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