Upside Down and Turned AroundI was at the coffee shop this morning talking about my recent favorite video Hustle and Flow (reviewed earlier) and this kid walks up and says, Yeah, that movie is sick! With real excitement on his face. And although I knew what he meant, I asked, Does that mean "good"? In a world where nothing is as it seems, the hip-hop culture has created a language to express that duplicity--everything means the opposite. Bad is good. Sick is excellent. Bent is straight.
So how are we to agree on terms or communicate in this cultural construct? Do any of us really know what the other means anymore? And what does it say about our culture that an entire group of people have had to generate a means of communicating to each other to the exclusion of those in power. Sounds familiar doesn't it? An entire genre of martial arts came from the same need--capoeira. An entire genre of music came from the same--the Spiritual, which led to blues, which led to rock n' roll. A new expression in quilting, too, which communicated safe houses, the underground railroad, and directions to runaway slaves.
Communicating under the radar. In this aquarian age, when all will be known, what happens to the way we communicate? Maybe it has already happened. The people in power just haven't caught on yet--the jig is up and has been up for a while. But as long as war means peace, and talks mean coercion, and love means control, the underground will continue to reflect it back. And language may forever change course: Bad will mean good. Cool will mean hot. It may takes years, but just like the great Mississippi, the course can and will change.