Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Great AIMs in Life: End of Douche!

In classic TAN style, I have data that predicts and predates an event, but I don't reveal it for months later. In this case, the event was "End of Douche 2006." Of course credit is beside the point here, because I believe in the "communal reservoir" and the "end of douche" proved to be a prime example of the reservoir in action. On November 1 Gawker called the name into question, possibly their most commented on post. Best Week Ever, despite their heavy usage, seconded the motion. The subject may have gotten on to television. The thing is, the actual metaphysics behind the issue were being hashed out a few days prior. I actually chimed in on the Gawk post, but saved the full dialogue until now. The following is an IM conversation that would help seed the resistance to the wanton proliferation of the word "douche" (specificially with regards to usage).

Friend: so how was uptown?
TAN: ok ...
Friend: just ok?
TAN: dinner and drinks at hi life
Friend: hilife?
TAN: yeah, hi [picture of martini] life
Friend: sounds like a candidate for the gawker hall of douche
Friend: I take that back
TAN: i'm about to start campaigning against the word douche ...
Friend: overplayed?
TAN: waaaaaaaaaaay
Friend: but it has such nuance
TAN: plaaaaaaaaaaaaaayed
Friend: though I admit I have heard this complaint, friends have not come up with better solutions
things like cheese-dick have been suggested
TAN: if you drop douche, you revert back to [old] standards like "asshole," "dickhead"...
Friend: actually I had a whole conversation about this while drunk at soho house
which was kinda ironic considering
TAN: [it was] full of douchebags?
[you were] talking to a douche?
Friend: ehhh, the guys who pay for it
TAN: my man "Adouche"
Friend: unhuh
TAN: I might be cool with it if we changed the pronunciation ...
Friend: douché?
TAN: doo-chay
has to have "e/ay" at the end
like dulce de leche
Friend: its dulcet tones?
see asshole is about a guy being kinda a bad guy
a douchebag is just sort of an unfortunate guy
like [redacted], he isn't an asshole, I love [redacted], but he can be kind of a douchebag
TAN: eh, the line has definitely blurred
right, the pro-active, free will element...
Friend: well rest assured that you aren't one and be happy with that
yes, see asshole is a choice
there is a "will to asshole"
TAN: but i'm dubious that that rule is abided in all uses of the word
or even 50%
Friend: probably not, it has gotten too far from the source culture
TAN: "this will to power, has me counting the hours..."
Friend: see I believe douche originated in tech which makes it very much an anti free will proposition
counting the hours till what?
TAN: yeah, but i'm not debating the meaning. i'm debating the usage
Friend: well in our rarified circles we can maintain its original usage yes? ;-)
TAN: it wouldn't be overused if people abided by some particular, more nuanced definition
it's too late for that [exclusivity] ...
Friend: well once things hit a certain place on the cultural-diffusion-curve nuance doesn't exist anymore
TAN: exactly ...
Friend: but that doesn't mean we should kill something. It means that we in the source cultural should respect its original meaning even more
TAN: it has to go ...
once it's lost nuance, reached that place, "respect" of the original meaning is wasted effort
to try and bring it back would be a waste of resources. you can't rescind cultural diffusion
Friend: hmmmm, do you discount public enemy just because flavor flav went off into vh1 land?
TAN: it's a different thing
flava flav isn't doing Public Enemy
Friend: well you ignore vh1 but remember that at one time he wasn't a buffoon
TAN: and it's like he was a part of a group, associated with music, concerts etc. now he's something else [entirely] ...
Friend: just as douche once had great meaning but has now associated itself with something that has some of the spirit but none of the original essence
TAN: right, douche is to hip lingo as Flava Flav is to Public Enemy
there's also a race problem with the word ...
Friend: with douchebag?
this I have to hear
TAN: no big story, i don't think i've ever heard a black person use the word
or anyone with brownskin ...
Friend: you use it
TAN: no i don't
[that's] projection
Friend: alright, but we are having this huge discussion about it at 2am
TAN: so?
Friend: you could use it or apply it
I don't know
TAN: I'm going to marinate on it ...
Friend: are you saying only white people use the term douchebag?
mmmm marinated tan
TAN: no. asians use it also. but just saying the lack of support from the african-american population adds another bullet point to the proposal for its dismissal
Friend: there are totally black douchebags
just because one doesn't use the term
TAN: yeah, but a black person wouldn't say that .... i'm not debating meaning, i'm debating usage
a person who uses the term "douchebag" can identify anyone, of any race, color, creed as such
Friend: and I keep trying to steer that debate away from usage, I am a bad girl I know
TAN: well it's the only way to argue [on douche's behalf] ... cause you know it's overused also
Friend: it is true, I use it all the time
mostly because I dislike "asshole" or "dick"
because I respect guys that have actively engaged in a given behavior
it is the ones that don't "will to power" about their own behavior that gross me out
TAN: "in 96 they got they shit off ...
swallowed what they bit off ...
now everyone's a ripoff ...
of darius bikoff ...
didn't stutter or hic-cough ...
Friend: lost here my dear
TAN: the only solution is to bring in the "chay"
Friend: pronounced like tar-ghay?
TAN: if you bring in the "chay" then it's ironic enough to sustain mass exposure
i'm thinking a hard ch, but it could be soft, or zsa-zsa, -ghay ish
Friend: hmmmmmmm, I would question irony's power but I see your point
TAN: seriously, calling someone a doo-chay bag is so much better ...
like gucci ...
there it is
Friend: I am so excited! I am going to gucci next week to pick up my boots
TAN: ducce
Friend: I think you have the makings of a brilliant blog post
have you considered like comedy writing on tv?
TAN: yes
it's on the to-do list ...
[along with sleeping with Angelina Jolie and Jessica Biel]



  1. Anonymous12/27/2006

    That's some funny bizniz! douchbag is def in need of an overhaul!

  2. Drop the "dou-", pronounce the rest in the language of your choice: "SH'bag" or "Che'bag" or "SHAY'bag."

  3. sorry, but i think douche is an american classic like "fuck" "dick" and "shit." all the other suggested replacements like "fucktard" and "twatwaffle" and whatever else people are trying to make happen all sound like something an giggly overgrown 12 year old computer geek would say in the schoolyard. My curseword rule is that I have to be able to imagine a truck driver saying it. I just can't see a truck driver saying "fucktard," only bloggers and hipsters.

    Douche is an American classic, if it ain't broke don't fix it.

  4. anon - word

    jmh - that might be somethign there. chebag. but only thing is people only get it if they already concede the change in pronunciation on douche.

    t - yeah. it's kind of classic. but fuck and dick are more expletive exclamations. there's a whole pathos contained in douche. the translation in terms of calling someone a thing that cleans vijays means there's more involved. so it's not quite as clean and classic as more common terms. plus, as i mention in the im, i don't really hear black people using the word.

  5. good point, it doesn't really cross racial barriers well does it? but then again, most of the suggested replacements i hear like fucktard and stuff are even less likely to come out of a black guy's mouth. i just can't see someone saying "fucktard" in the hood without getting blank stares. people wouldn't know whether to punch you or laugh at you.

    i'll admit it, i don't know what the answer is here.

  6. T - word. if your initial premise was noting that "fucktard" or "twatwaffle" are not better options. i agree, might as well stick with douche.

    my premise, if i really have one, is that douche is overused. it has outgrown its caucasian-hipster/blogger niche, and lacks the infrastructure to support any real expansion. but i think changing the pronunciation removes the association with its actual and primary definition, and thus frees it to be more of a classic exclamation. I like the hard "ch" and jmh shows some possible evolution of the idea. at the least it's a widely accessible alternative, keeps some of the old luster, but not as earnestly new as "twatwaffle."

    I"m gonna laugh here, lest I seem to be taking this too seriously. HA!

  7. Hm. I think the only way to make douchebag fade away is to find a replacement word for someone not mean enough to be asshole but not lame and pathetic enough to be an all out dork. Then said word has to be able to cross racial and class barriers. Once this new word is found, then and only then can the word douche disappear. Like you, though, I have no idea what the word should be!

  8. All of a sudden, I have that not-so-fresh feeling.

  9. Anonymous12/28/2006

    hi life sucks. anyway, i thought it was closed because some developer bought that whole i thinking of something else? have i missed something?

  10. mist - perhaps a shower?

    sobercity - i don't know, this convo was a couple months ago. i don't frequent the place, so it may well be closed now.

  11. midnightsoleil12/28/2006

    whatever happened to herb?

  12. I vote for sac à douché.

  13. Nothing. Same ol' same ol'.

  14. I like the Che also (how do you place the accent?).

    but then you confuse it with also popular revolutionary Che.

    I don't use the word much at all. It might only be overused among a related demographic.

  15. Anonymous12/30/2006

    funny conversation. i don't like the word either, i don't think we even need a replacement.


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