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On 'yay'

Last Sunday's New York Times Magazine profile of wanna-be pop star Amanda Latona was perhaps somewhat harsh. Latona, a good-looking and preternaturally malleable singer, has approximately zero artistic integrity, the Times suggests: She doesn't care what kind of music she plays, so long as it makes her a star.

Which, really, is fine with me — except for one thing. The Times sees fit to include what must be each and every one of Latona's "Yay!"s (though not quite so brutal as in its inclusion of her "Dude"s, near the end), even calling it a "specifically Amanda word" and once spelling it in all caps: YAY! (The word doesn't appear anywhere in a letter Latona wrote (though no doubt it was edited, even assuming she actually wrote it herself) to her fans in response to the article, however.)

The thing is, "Yay" is a great word. It expresses both its meaning and its mode of expression with childlike purity and perfect compactness. It's fun to use, it's honest, and it's direct. And it can capture irony with great elegance, simply by changing its punctuation: "Yay." The word itself deserves nothing but respect.

So I'm saddened to see it mocked so cruelly, even if many who use it are indeed worthy of mocking. And there's only one thing I can think to say:


August 9, 2002 10:38 AM

Comments (and TrackBacks)

Grammarists abound, especially as you get the more literal/non-theory types, or those who can only think inside provided notions and rules.

This is why imagination is the real fuel for civilization.

Thank G-d for the pen and web, both tools that allow the unwashed individual to express his ideas, righteously disregarding all the "rules" others dare not question.

I guess its more about feeling good rather than challenged.

.rob hunter of the little minded

Posted by rob adams on August 9, 2002 11:40 AM

I came in here to say "poo" is funnier than "poop," and now Rob's comment has made me feel rather shallow. ~Yay!~

Posted by lia on August 14, 2002 3:41 AM

I think I'm partial to "poop" (vs. "poo") because of Susie Derkins.

Posted by M on August 14, 2002 8:38 AM

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