Thursday, May 24, 2012

It would be totally gnarly if the kids said gnarly again

“Oh man, our acceptably low murder rates and high quality of life sure rock. They're totally gnarly.” A statement like that occurred all throughout malls in the mid-1990s.

However, the following statement occurred throughout the 2000s all the way through today.

“Oh man, our unacceptably high murder rates and low quality of life sure suck. They're totally gnarly.”

In just a matter of ten years, the entire sentence has flip flopped upon itself. What's bad is good, what's good is bad. We thought we'd reached the top, but we're on the bottom. Most unacceptable though is how the word “gnarly” has become a negative, when it's such a gnarly word that nobody should ever negate its gnarlsomeness.
Keep Gnarly
The circa 1940s British government already seems
on-board with this gnarly idea.
Now, this might just be my “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle”-addled brain at work here, but I think the downfall of modern society is directly related to how un-gnarly the world has become. Oh, just to be clear, in the previous statement, I'm using the classic definition of gnarly, not the new one, which would have made a double negative—totally ungnarly.

And it's because of this, I'm taking back gnarly. It's far too neat of a word to let negative Nancies co-opt. It would be totally radical if we push such a keen word back into everyday use. In such an ungnarly world like this one, there's bound to be pushback as people refuse to renege on their gnarly ways (using current definition). It will be hard making them renege, but ultimately we'll find it quite gnarly.

One of the things standing in the way of bringing such an awesome word is how un-adverbable it is. You can't really do something in a gnarly fashion, unless you really want to gnarlyily slap someone a high five. But once we solve that problem, the way is paved for it to be used to describe just about anything. He gnarlyily ate that pudding. He gnarlily turned into a troll. He gnarlyily made a word ending in ly into an adverb.
Gnarls Barkley, Cee Lo Green, Danger Mouse
If only there were a band with "gnarl" in the name
that didn't feature the host of a second-rate talent show.

We can also put up a page on Wikipedia attesting to the awesomeness of the word gnarly. As it stands, there currently isn't a page proclaiming this, and for someone writing a 500-word entry about the word “gnarly” where the other 450 words have to feature content, this makes things a bit tough. But if we have a gnarly page, this will quite literally help get the word out there.

Reanimating the corpse of Bob Marley and making him tour as “Bob Gnarly” will also help our cause.

Some squares might say that simply creating an adverb, editing a publicly editable page or dabbling in the black arts is no way to gain widespread acceptance for an archaic word. It is gnarly how much people hate using grammar and how people question reanimation. I can dig that, but it's what we need to do to get the nerd populace on board. Once we have the grammar nerds, we can pull in the normal nerds. And from there, it's just a couple steps before we're living in a gnarly world once again.

Good gnarly, not bad gnarly.

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