Sunday, September 03, 2006

Oops, I'm a privileged asshole, "my bad"!

I've always despised the phrase "my bad". I remember the initial wars between "my bag" and "my bad" and I don't think most people ever really understood the deep difference between the two.

Both are used in approximately the same situation--you fuck something up that affects other people, so you say, "My bad" or "My bag".

The difference is that "my bad" is commonly used as an end to the situation. "I fucked up, hee hee, let's change the subject!" "My bag" is short for "my baggage". It means, "I'm sorry, it's my burden and I'll make up for it later!"

I think it shows a deep cultural division in our society. "My bad" is dripping in social privilege. It says, "I fuck up, but when I fuck up, we laugh about it and move on! I don't owe anybody anything. I'm special!" "My bag" is a working-class, "I earn my way" mentality. "When I fuck up, I acknowledge the impact I've had on others and I genuinely strive to make it up to them."

Where did "my bag" originate? I don't have any specific entymological data, but from my experience, I first heard it on the court during predominantly African-American sporting events. "My bad" was a misheard derivative that caught fire in the mainstream white adolescent community. It gained huge popularity when it was included, ironically enough, in the film "Clueless".

To this day, I have no idea whether Amy Heckling, the writer/director of "Clueless" knew the difference between the two phrases. Even if she did, it made perfect logical sense to use "my bad" in the script that she wrote. These were clueless privileged adolescents, so it fit the situation perfectly.

So what does that make the rest of the millions of people who then decided to make the phrase their catch phrase?


Blogger Matthew said...

Are you going to write some new posts, Xian?

You have things to say on other people's blogs. How about on your own? :-)

1:22 AM  
Blogger sonrisacsc said...

You know, I read this a long time ago, but never left a message... and reading it again, it occurred to me again that I've never even heard the expression 'my bag'. Is that a Chicago thing?

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the urban dictionary:
My bad originally came from the term my bag.
This was a term used when playing a game of spades (a common jail house or hood game with cards) In the game you would have to fortell how many "books" or hands you would take. If you went over that number it was called a "bag". If you were playing with a partner, which was mostly common, it is considered a courtesy to claim your mistake by saing "My Bag" or get shot.... : ) your choice... anyway this carried out to the street and stupid beverly hills bitches misundertood the ghetto term and said "My Bad" and it stuck in mainstream pop culture.

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How gratifying to see that I'm not the only one who despises the expression "my bad"! Just one thing: it's "etymological," not "entymological" (unless it's insects who are using the expression...)

1:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have debated this for years... For me, it was "My Bag" and it was mostly a basketball term in the mid-late 80's .. I am a white boy, living in the shadows of Chicago.. Maybe it was a Chicago thing?? ...I STILL HATE 'my BAD'

2:26 AM  

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