Slang City Mail

Click here get this free weekly newsletter delivered to your e-mailbox! Want to see more? Go back to All the Words main page.

October 28, 2004

Slang of the Week: slacker (noun)
a (usually young) person who is lazy and/or just doesn’t see the point of joining mainstream society

Slacker Jack’s main goal for the day was to pick up some Twinkies for dinner at the convenience store downstairs from his apartment.

Celebrity quote:
“You actually have an influence on this presidential election. That is scary… I mean, you've got stoned slackers watching your dopey show every night, OK, and they can vote.”
-Bill O’Reilly, in an interview last month with Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show

Although the term has been around for over 100 years, slacker was not strongly associated with disaffected young people until the 90s. This new narrowing of meaning was popularized by Richard Linklater’s 1991 film Slacker, which told the story of social outcasts wasting time in Austin, Texas.

As it turns out, neither Stewart’s show nor his “slacker” viewers are exactly dopey (stupid). According to a survey by the Annenberg Center released a week after these remarks, the audience for The Daily Show actually knows more about election issues than people who get their news from newspapers or “real” TV news. Whether they are stoned (high on marijuana) is unknown, since it was not part of the questionnaire.

Slackers are a popular group of voters this year. Controversial documentary filmmaker Michael Moore has been on the “Slacker Uprising Tour” this fall, making personal appearances at college campuses to encourage voter registration. To convince them to participate in the election, Moore offered every man who registered three clean pairs of underwear. Apparently, he believes that female slackers have better hygiene, because their reward was instant ramen noodles instead.

What’s new at Slang City?
In honor of my home team Red Sox winning the World Series last night, we have new baseball slang, with translated quotes from the classic sports film Bull Durham.