Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

This week's Sunday Styles section of the New York Times had a lengthy examination about the origins of the word "vajayjay," aka the world's most annoying word popularized by the world's most annoying popularizer of annoying things, Oprah.

There were a lot of reasons given for the public's quick adoption of "vajayjay"–people will blindly follow Oprah, people stupidly repeat Grey's Anatomy and it's ridiculous McJayjay-isms, something about The Vagina Monologues, the need for a kinder, gentler "cunt," etc.–but the best reason came from a linguist with an over-active imagination:

"The reason that vajayjay has caught on, I think, is because there is a black – Southern especially – naming tradition, which is to have names like Ray Ray and Boo Boo and things like that," Dr. McWhorter said. "It sounds warm and familiar and it almost makes the vagina feel like a little cartoon character with eyes that walks around."


First off, Dr. McWhorter clearly got into linguistics because of his name (which, incidentally, makes him seem like a quarter with a picture of Carmen Electra on the front wearing a lab coat).

Secondly, I've personally never gotten the image of Vajayjay The Jolly Vagina from hearing the word, but it does often conjure up other things. Namely, a blinding white light followed by shooting pain. But if being a linguist means that you just associate weird images with words, two can play at that game. Here are some recent neologisms and their respective images. It's like slang heiroglyphics:

"Bootylicious": A butt with googly eyes wearing a party hat.

"McDreamy": Patrick Dempsey doing rythmic gymnastics on a cloud.

"McSteamy": A volcano with killer abs.

"Shmoe-hawk": Larry David dressed as the Falconer.

"Mandal": A sandal in a toga at the frat row party of the year!

"Whatevs": Howie Mandel high-fiving an ostrich.

"Douchey": A promo still of the cast of Gossip Girl.

"Don't Tase Me Bro: The current cover of Maxim magazine.

"Frenemy": A starfish lying on its side, crying.

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