Brecken-bitch: the evolution of slang in America
BRECKENRIDGE – People fuming about some of Vail Resorts’ advertisements this season likely won’t have to worry about the phrase, “But the town will still be your bitch” appearing in magazines next year.They may not have to worry because the word “bitch” is already pass in the young, Gen- group the ads target, say the designers of the ad.The controversial ads – featured in the October editions of Freeze, Transworld Snowboarding, Transworld Skateboarding, Stance and Axis – depict a threesome cavorting at Maori’s restaurant at Main Street Station. Headlined above the photo is the phrase, “The hill may dominate you. But the town will still be your bitch.”According to Anne Macombe, account planner for McClain Finlon, the company that designed the ad, the word has evolved from the baby boomers’ generation believing it’s a derogatory term to Gen kids using it in a jocular, almost-playful manner.”Guys say it to each other, even,” Macombe said. “It’s become gender neutral; it’s more a statement of submission, or someone being dominant, as opposed to the totally derogatory female reference.”The word is on the cutting edge, in much the same way Elvis “The Pelvis” Presley was in the 1950s, said Jeff Martin, creative director at McClain Finlon. Adults were appalled then, too.The word was “reclaimed,” Macombe said, in the late 1990s by such artists as Elizabeth Wurtzel, who penned the book “Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women”; singer Meredith Brooks with her No. 1 selling album “Bitch,” featuring a song with the same name; and Aerosmith, who produced a video in which the word is used. The newly evolved word also has been used on the NBC sitcom “Friends,” in which Phoebe calls everyone a bitch; and on the “Will & Grace” show.”When it starts to move into that mainstream, it becomes pass,” Martin said. “It’s definitely on its way out. We have to do our research again, hang out with the boarding crowd more.”The new lingo – often here today, gone tomorrow – must be used to attract the next generation of skiers and boarders, he said. “We basically have to get into the mindset of the 22-year-old,” said Martin, who is 39 and a father of two. “We have to get into that inner circle without sounding like corporate America. We have to reach out to that market in terms they can understand. This age group has a BS meter that’s very sensitive. As soon as corporate America starts talking about it, it’s pass – it’s no longer cool. You have to go in there and walk their walk and talk their talk.”The ad, deemed deplorable by Breckenridge Town Councilmember Dave Hinton, represents about 1 percent of Vail Resorts’ advertising campaign for the season, said Matt Sugar, director of community relations for Vail Resorts.”The magazines we’re putting this in are one of many ways we advertise to bring people to our community,” he said. “This campaign is not a marketing effort toward older skiers. This is a marketing format that interprets the word in a different way. In this context, it’s not a derogatory word, it’s almost an endearing word.”Another edgy ad, to be published in Freeze and Fridge magazines, uses the same photo and reads, “Each night a new chance to earn your balls back.””You can go on the mountain, and even if you don’t nail any of your stuff, if you miss every 360 you try – that night you can go out and regain your confidence to go out and try it the next day,” Martin said.More traditional ads will appear in mainstream ski magazines. One will feature the same photo but will read, “Avoid those annoying wake-up calls. Don’t sleep.”Martin said that ad is selling the same message: that after a hard day of pounding the bumps on the mountain, there is still lots to do in town.”Breckenridge (ski officials) said there’s a package deal we can offer this younger crowd: We have a great hill with a great terrain park, but how do we keep them here after 4 o’clock?” Martin said. “Those were our marching orders. It’s not just about the hill; there are a lot of great things going on in town after the hill shuts down.”Offensive, cutting-edge – whatever they’re called – the ads have been noticed. Martin said he believes the ads are a success.”We know we’ve succeeded if they rip the ad out and stick it on their wall,” he said. “If we can get them to do that, we’ve hit a home run. That’s when you know you totally nailed it.”And in these competitive times, ski resorts can’t afford to be complacent and run ads of people skiing in deep powder or jumping off cornices.”You know the road the ski areas have had to go down the last couple years, with poor snow and a weak economy,” Martin said. “Showing someone skiing down a snowy run isn’t cutting it anymore. It’s not easy to get people’s attention. Everything is pushed to the nth degree.”Breckenridge has an advantage over other ski resorts in that there is a town at its base, and designers can use that to tout both.”That’s what makes Breckenridge different,” Macombe said. “Not only do you have a kick-ass mountain, you’ve got a kick-ass town.”Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or email@example.com.—Up and Coming Lingo: A Primer for the Not-So-Cool- Napnesia: that feeling of disorientation after awakening from a daytime nap.- Garage Time: used to describe the time guys spend single after a breakup.- Knuckling: snowboarding; Taken from skiers calling snowboarders knuckle-draggers.- Kodak Courage: an inflated sense of ability and courage caused by someonesnapping pictures of you partaking in a dangerous activity, generally reservedfor snowboarding or skiing.- Pull a regert: to do something so totally lame that you should be so totally ashamed.- Chooch: a loser- Dirty: something done with style and flare: “Ooh, that girl is dirty!”- Mahoo: someone lame; a chump. Often used by skaters.- Moded: embarrassed. If someone does something stupid, they’re moded.- Off the hinges: something is outstanding, great: “Yo! That concert was off the hinges!”
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