“‘ER’ is way better than ‘Grey’s Anatomy’.” “‘ER,’ better than ‘Grey’s Anatomy?’ I don’t think so!”
The phrase “I don’t think so” has been used in every person’s dialogue before the movie “Clueless” made it popular. Leslie Savan shows how this, along with other popular catchphrases, come into the lime light in her book “Slam Dunks and No-Brainers: Pop Language in Your Life, the Media, and, Like.Whatever.”
She discusses the ever-changing American language that we use and puts forward her thoughts as to why the population talks the way we do.
This is not a typical “book.” There are chapters, yes, but there is no story involved.
She has chapters dedicated to different areas and the different languages that has come from those places. The different areas include popular culture, the Black community, the media and the Internet bloggers.
Savan does a good job of introducing the different phrases, but she does not go into descriptive detail about any certain topic. She merely introduces the phrase or word and then will discuss a little bit about the origin of that certain topic.
She used the same formula throughout the whole book, which was very frustrating and redundant.
The book is more about Savan’s opinions on language rather than facts, which can be interesting to some, but to others, a mere annoyance.
The reader picks up this certain book to read about how the “pop language” became popular, not to hear about someone’s opinions about the different slang jargon.
“Opinions of language are as interesting as opinions of arithmetic,” P.J. O’Rourke, New York Times writer, stated in his review of Savan’s work.
In showing the different catchy expressions, she kept bringing up “I don’t think so,” “Yesss!,” and “slam dunk,” which seemed to be her favorite sayings. Does she not realize that those sayings are very old, outdated,and are not even that famous?
George Tenet, former Director of Intelligence for the CIA, said in 2002 that finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq would be a “slam dunk.”
Just because he used the phrase “slam dunk” does not mean that it is a popular term. Savan kept referencing this example in her book, making Tenet to be some big celebrity because he used this expression; however, I doubt anyone really knows who he is. If someone like Justin Timberlake had used that term, then it would be a catchphrase, not Tenet.
The book was well-written, but the redundancies will frustrate any reader. It reads like a textbook, only not with so many facts, just views.
If one is interested in languages, then read this book. But be prepared to want to punch the Savan after finishing the book.