At this very moment I'm listening to this interesting radio essay on Fresh Air Weekend, an NPR show. It's linguist Geoff Nunberg. The piece is a bit of a defense of the word "like". He points out that it's not just a lazy filler as is "umm" and "you know", but rather it's a frame for a bit of a performance. When you say "and then he said" you're getting ready to quote words, when you say "and he was like" you're setting up a re-enactment. I had this same thought when I was in the British Isles with my family in 1995. I was near Catle Blarney it, come to think of (it's where I came up with "I just kissed the blarney stone, and now I'm wicked eloquent.) The Blarney stone is interesting, you have to lie on the floor high up in this castle, and bend at a very odd angle to give that thing a smooch. The tourist tradition is kissing it they say, and the drunk local's tradition is to pee on it...
Anyway, Nunberg traces back use of the word 'like' way back to the fifties hipsters. There might be a philisophical edge to the use of this word, that it also says we really don't know much of anything, but we can still identify traits and make guesses.
Link of the Moment
Project Omni, a brilliantly written (at least for the first few pages) account of some 20-something guys taking apart a 1981 Dodge Omni in the summer of 1997. Laugh out loud funny in parts.
(via Cruel Site of the Day)