I can’t believe this is the final post. This class just flew by and I’m slightly sad for it to be over. I didn’t think I would really like the ‘blog’ style format of this class, but it turns out that I really like it. I wish more online classes used this format versus only using Moodle. We all know that Moodle can be a slight pain in the ass sometimes. But anyway, on to the final post!
I had a hard time choosing a text for this post. I didn’t know if I wanted to pick a TV show, a movie, a music video, or a commercial. As y’all have probably figured out, I like to talk. Or in this case write… [Good thing I am studying communication!] I’m not a very decisive person, so when it comes to picking topics [or restaurants, shoes, things to do, etc] it takes me a while. I spent far too long trying to pick a topic for this post.
When I finally decided on doing a movie, it was a whole new challenge to pick what movie. [I hope I am not the only one who goes through this struggle!] There are so many movies that I felt like I could write a blog post about. I had two ideas that I was trying to narrow it down from [This took like two days…I wish I was kidding]. I couldn’t decide between the films: Grease (1978) or Clueless (1995). I love both movies and I thought they both would make a good post, so I flipped a coin. Clueless won. [I wish I would have thought of the coin idea earlier…haha]
So on to the actual post now:
Clueless is one of my all time favorite movies. And there are so many things I want to talk about when it comes to this movie. There are just so many things to look at. Because I am not trying to write a book here I decided to only talk about two things. I’m going to take a look at the pop language that is used in the movie and I am going to look at other popular media texts that have directly referenced the movie.
Just in case y’all haven’t seen the movie or need a refresher, I first thought I would start with a brief summary of the film.
The romantic comedy Clueless came out in 1995 and was written and directed by Amy
Heckerling. The film is about a girl named Cher (Alicia Silverstone), who is a high school student at Beverly Hills High who must survive the ups and downs of adolescent life. At first Cher’s external demeanor seems superficial and somewhat ‘clueless’ but as the movie progresses the audience sees her wit, charm, and intelligence. Cher is more than your stereotypical “rich white girl who is spoiled by her daddy”. In the end the audience sees Cher is a normal girl who is just trying to live life with all the curve balls that fly at her. She has to deal with relationships, friends, family, school, and all the other ‘normal’ teenage stuff that we all went through.
If you have not seen this movie in a while, I suggest re-watching it. It was a lot of fun re-watching this. It had been a while since I had watched it.
The first thing I want to talk about is pop language. I chose to focus on pop language partly because I have my boyfriends friend from France in town and he is staying at my house. He has lived in America for a year but that was many years ago and his English is not as good as it was. We had this whole conversation about language and slang, and that inspired me to talk about pop language in this post.
Slag changes from generation to generation. Dictionary.com defines the word ‘slang ‘ as “more metaphorical, playful, elliptical, vivid, and ephemeral than ordinary language.” Clueless is a great representation of what pop language or slang was in the 90’s. For this post I read an article titled ““We’ve Got to Work on Your Accent and Vocabulary”: Characterization through Verbal Style in Clueless” by Jennifer O’Meara that was published by the Cinema Journal in Spring 2014. I found this article through the HSU library databases and without being logged into your HSU account, you might not be able to view the article.
In the article O’Meara mentions that “Upon Clueless’s release, praise was frequently leveled at its use of language.” The number of different ‘slang terms that are in this movie are slightly ridiculous. Later in the post I have included a list of some of the terms used in the movie with the meanings. The article mentioned how in the movie critic reviews that were released shortly after the film’s debut all mention the use of the language in movie. O’Meara said that writer/director Heckerling was very skillful with the incorporation of irony and slang in the film.
So I think now is a good time to put in that list of terms I was talking about earlier. Here are some of the slang terms in the movie Clueless:
Audi: I’m Leaving
As-if: Yeah right
“Like”: This word is used as a filler, and ‘like’ said ‘like’ after every other word ‘like’ yeah.
Digits: Cell phone number
Jeeping: Having sex in a car
Surf the crimson wave: Girl on her period
Bugging: Freaking out
Baldwin: Hot male
Betty: Beautiful Female or Babe
Cake Boy: Gay Man
Wiggin: Freak out
This is just a short list of the slang terms that are used in this movie. It was very hard to catch them all during just one watch through. I have had the movie on repeat as I am writing this though, and I keep catching more. There are just so many different slang terms, some I didn’t know the meaning of and had to look up.
Today in 2016 our culture has definitely adapted some of these terms into everyday talking although most of these terms are completely outdated. The overuse of the word “like” is still common today. I have heard the term Digits be used recently as well. But as far as all the others mentioned, not so much. Slang is always changing, and it seems like every decade has its own slang attached to it. For example, people in the 90’s weren’t using the term ‘fleek’ like it is being used today. [ie: “My eyebrows are on fleek today”]
The O’Meara article goes on to further explain how the language is used throughout the movie, particularly talking about the main character Chair. There were some words that are extremely repetitive in Chairs vocabulary, ‘like’, ‘way’ and ‘totally’. I thought O’Meara said it right when she said, “Totally in general goes where completely would, with characters totally “revived,” “paused,” or “choked.” O’Meara continued to say that the word ‘way’ was used where someone would say ‘really’ today, “Cher has “a way normal life,” insults are “way harsh,” and quotes can be “way famous.” This article really goes in-depth on how Cher’s language is used through out the film and it really brought a new light to the movie. If you like the movie, I suggest you read the article. I found it very interesting.
The other thing I wanted to talk about is the intertextuality that is involved with the movie Clueless. First what is ‘intertextuality’? Dictionary.com defines it as “the interrelationship between texts, especially works of literature; the way that similar or related texts influence, reflect, or differ from each other.” So instead of blabbing my explanation first and then showing you the videos after, I want to switch it around.
So everyone, watch the trailer to the movie. Just do it, even if you have seen the movie before. Just trust me here.
Now, watch Iggy Azalea’s music video for “Fancy”. If you think that song is annoying like I do, watch it on mute, it doesn’t really matter that much.
See the relation? The Azalea music video is a mini version of the movie itself. By watching the music video after seeing the movie, it will make you think of the Clueless movie. There are many similarities between the two. Each different scene in the music video is is the exact same setting with fashion choices that were made in the clueless film. There is no way to argue that Azalya wasn’t referencing Clueless with this video.
So I have another question for you all. Is there any other pop culture text that has some intertextuality with Clueless? Think about it for a second. Where have you seen the schoolgirl dancing down the school hallway lined with lockers?
How about Britney Spears’s music video for “Hit Me Baby One More Time”?
Can you think of anything else that relates to this? There could defiantly be something that I am missing.
Intertextuality is everywhere in pop culture, and I could list many other examples involving other texts. It is also one of my favorite things about pop culture is how in all interconnects somehow some way.
I love how Clueless is a great representation of what Beverly Hills was like in the early to mid 90’s. I think the pop language and intertextuality in this movie are some things we don’t really think about when we first watch the film. But next time you watch this movie, I hope you see it with a different lens.
Thank you all for reading my posts through out this class. I really appreciate all the nice things everyone has said. It has truly made this blogging thing more enjoyable. Thank you for a great summer class, and I hope everyone has a good rest of summer. Let life bring everyone success and happiness. 🙂
Have a good day everyone, this was fun!
O’Meara, J. ““We’ve Got to Work on Your Accent and Vocabulary”: Characterization through Verbal Style in Clueless.” Cinema Journal 53.3 (2014): 138-145. Project MUSE. Web. 15 Jul. 2016. <https://muse.jhu.edu/>.