Begging for an expiry date

So, I was sitting in the Viking Union, the student center here at Western Washington University, and on the table at which I was seated I saw this advertisement that you see here on the right.

As I studied this ad I knew instantly that it deserved a blog post, and, as it turned out it serves as a great example of one of the things I love so much about blogging.

Here’s how my process went:

  • Something bugged me about that phrase, “Burgerz R so 5 minuts ago.”
  • It wasn’t just the intentional cow-speak typos.
  • It had to do with the “so five minutes ago” thing.
  • Something didn’t seem right about it.
  • It seemed familiar, as clichés always do, but still there was something odd about it.
  • I Googled “so five minutes ago” and found this, from Urban Dictionary:
    • so five minutes ago: Totally and completely out of date, or style. Recently hip, or cutting edge, but no longer so. Oh my Gawd! Those acid-washed, wide-leg raver pants are SO five minutes ago!
  • But wait, how can something five minutes ago be totally and completely out of date or style?
  • The Urban Dictionary entry was dated October 2003.
  • I Googled again, this time searching for “so * years ago”, for certainly the phrase would have more punch, would be more of a put-down, if the subject was years behind the times rather than minutes.
  • Results included:
    • YouTube – Chicago Is So Two Years Ago: FALL OUT BOY
    • Equality is so 30 years ago : Maud Newton
    • jeannette is so two years ago.. | MySpace
    • Valero – because Enron is SO ten years ago.
    • Microsoft: Google Spreadsheets Is So 10 Years Ago
  • Now THAT seemed more like it, more familiar, more logical.
  • But then I looked back at the “so five minutes ago” search results and found this, from USA Today:

      Everything is so 5 minutes ago
      The cool continuum — that twisty trajectory that traces pop culture from cultish to trendy to mainstream to so-over-it’s-embarrassing to, finally, kitsch — is being compressed. What used to require years to migrate to the mall, MTV and, yes, USA Today now takes only a matter of months.

  • The USA Today article was dated June 2003, four months before the Urban Dictionary entry was posted

That’s the fun of blogging, right there! It starts with some unexpected observation that sparks an idea, and you follow it either as far as it will take you or as far as you care to go.

In this case, I like where I stopped. I like the layers of irony. I’m convinced that, regardless of whether you measure in minutes or days, months or years, the phrase “so (#) (minutes/years) ago” has really worn out its welcome.

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