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?
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