Jean Barker

Worse than, like “like”

2014-10-31 11:41

Jean Barker

Carriers could be a perfectly normal-looking, intelligent person in every other way, but the moment they open their mouth, I'm afraid to remain in the same room in case I am suddenly compelled to attack them with the nearest piece of furniture.

The easiest way to explain the creaky voice is to demonstrate it. You could watch any interview with Kim Kardashian, or you can instead just listen to this radio clip.

The fast-spreading speech impediment epidemic - also known as “vocal fry”, or “uptalk” or “glottalization” -  is sweeping the USA.

I don't know what causes it. Maybe it derives from trying to hold the smoke in your lungs after a bong hit to ensure maximum THC absorbsion. Fried, geddit? Maybe it's easier to talk like that and fart at the same time. Maybe Americans are getting too much frog DNA in their corn syrup supply.

Whatever the root cause, Vocal Fry has to be the most appallingly annoying affectation since using “like” to disguise moments of pre-fart brain-constipation became acceptable in the 80s, as in: “I, like think that like I like deserve to like get a like car when I like, graduate high school.”

Confession time: I caught a bad case of “likelish” myself as a teenager. I blame insecurity. Throwing “likes” in between my words delayed the need to say anything, giving me more time to think. Even today, when I get nervous speaking in public, the word like creeps in. Likelish is annoying. It certainly drove my mother insane with minimal effort on my part! However, it's nothing compared to the Creaky Voice plague.

“Fry” is gradually becoming more and more acceptable, even normal. It used to only be that only Ho'wood brats like Britney and scummy reality TV stars creaked their way through their inane brain-dribblings. But this airborn virus is spreading to new carriers every time girls go to the mall together.

The other day on radio, I heard NPR's Zoe Chace begin a serious financial report in the creaky voice, with absolutely no irony at all. I changed channels.  But I knew, as I did it, that escape was now impossible. The virus has officially crossed over into the mainstream, and pretty soon, nobody will understand me unless I have it too.

- Jean earned an MFA in Directing and Screenwriting and works in the LA film industry. She tweets as @jeanbarker and blogs pictures of signs and more, here. She will be back.

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