Monday, March 21, 2016

Directional Synchronicity: Is "Badass" the New "Rock Star"?

The Badasses seem to have kicked the Rock Stars butts.

A couple of weeks ago at a friend's birthday party I noticed he had a gold necklace that said BADASS. Then I started seeing and hearing the word badass everywhere. In fact, I did a Google News search and it surprised me to see the word used as a headline in so many articles.

The word is not new, but seems to me to be quite trendy now and the usage has not been standardized. You might see Bad Ass, Badass or BADASS. Reminds me of the time when some of us wrote e-mail, which turned out to be a pain, so it evolved to email. I think badass as one word will win. The way it's used varies too.

It is mostly used as an adjective
25 BADASS ways to say no
8 Badass women warriors
10 badass Latinas Every American Should Thank
Celebrate Chuck Norris on His Birthday with 10 Badass Memes
and my favorite - 11 Most Badass Last Words Ever Uttered

but sometimes used as a noun

There is even a website store named BadAss Jewelry. (note the capital A).

Now maybe it's just me, but I don't think this word has been mainstream very long. A couple of years ago, the aspirational adjective was to be a rock star, or to be around rock stars. The New York Times noted the popularity of the Rock Star buzz word in the Fall of 2015

How Rock Star Became a Business Buzzword

And sure enough there were a lot of articles about business people being rock stars
Business Plan: Become a Rock Star, 5 Characteristics of a Rockstar Startup CEO and 5 Ways to Keep your Rock Star Employees from Quitting

There are still articles about rock stars but now it seems that badass has taken over. It's hard to prove the evolution because musicians are still "rock stars" in media articles and a lot of rock stars have been dying lately. Additionally, there are brands with rockstar in the name, most notably the energy drink.

So why the transition?  It's the second dictionary definition in the McMillan dictionary that intrigues me:  "ready to behave in an unpleasant way when necessary".

Google gives a similar definition: "a tough, uncompromising, or intimidating person".

A journalist for Atlantic Monthly claims that badass has been appropriated as a feminist word.

This blog is a record of my synchronistic experiences, so with me noticing the word badass everywhere, does that mean the universe is telling me to be one?  That's not my assertion. I I don't really identify with either word.  I like cat videos and muppets and rainbow colored candy.  What do people like me aspire to?

I'm still trying to figure this all out.