||Jonathan's Resource Ezine
Weekly Resources, Ideas and Articles from The Source for Youth Ministry
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
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Featured Article: Dare 2 Share's Lane Palmer interviews Fred and Jonathan
SLANGUAGE: AN INSIGHT INTO
YOUTH CULTURE TODAY
An Interview with Fred Lynch and Jonathan McKee,
authors of the new book
"What's a Fo' Sheezy?"
Dare 2 Share's (D2S) Lane Palmer
interviews authors Fred Lynch and Jonathan McKee about youth culture today and the 'slanguage'
D2S: Hey guys- thanks for taking the time to chat with us about
the relevance of slang in our youth culture and how that can be a great "launching point" for
discussion with students.
Jonathan: Glad to.
D2S: Let me just start off by saying that I love your
e-book. Youth workers are always looking for discussion
jump-starters, and you two have taken something current-slanguage-and created a nice little
tool for youth workers to use to talk about relevant issues in their lives. The thing I like
most about this tool is that it's NOT a guide of how to talk; instead it talks ABOUT slanguage
and then asks good thought-provoking questions to get kids talking.
Fred: Kids like to talk about what's current. When I've tried out these questions with
kids I work with, I find that kids like to be in the know. They like telling us how it is. This
book is good at opening doors and getting teens to talk to us about their world.
Jonathan: I'm a sucker for any tool that helps me get a glimpse into their world.
D2S: Me too, so let's talk about their world for a minute.
Do all kids use slang... or just a small representative of our youth culture?
Fred: Well, most kids are closely involved with what's going on in slang. So, do they
use it often? You could say that, to a degree... (laughing) all kids are "users." Most
kids are connected with it, they understand slang, they use it as code to navigate the complex
landscape of modern adolescence. If kids don't know, they act like they know-they fake it,
until they find out... and they usually want to find out.
Will they want to find out what it means so they can use it? Not necessarily. They always want
to just be "armed with it." They want to be able to know what it is, and know how to use it if
they get the opportunity.
Jonathan: And let's be honest. A lot of kids out there don't necessarily know the MOST
current terms, but they are familiar with slanguage. The media keeps them current. I'm not just
talking about hip hop; I'm talking about mainstream TV and movies. Even in Disney movies and
other popular cartoon movies... the Zebra walks up on the beach and says to the lion, "What's
crackalackin'?" So now, many home schooled kids are familiar with some of those terms. And kids
that watch MTV... they watch shows like "pimp my ride" where slanguage is a staple.
Most kids have easy access to slanguage through these forms of media. 64% of teenagers have a
TV in their bedroom. 69% of them view it on cable. The average time that an 8 to 18 year old
watches TV or movies per day is 3 hours 51 minutes. The media keeps them current.
Jonathan: So even if they don't necessarily walk down the hallway and say, "What's
good wit' you, playa!" They are at least current with some of these terms that are being flung
around. So, if they aren't speakers, they are at least understanders.
Fred: Yes they are. And just to reiterate: it's a part of their landscape as far as to
be a teen today. If at least to have an understanding of what a lot of the current slang is and
just say, "O.K., I'm up on that... I understand what that means." Even if they don't use slang
words all the time, they are often lured in simply because it is "their world."
D2S: That totally makes sense for urban and suburban teens, but
what about students in rural areas? For example, what about a white kid living in Arthur,
Nebraska... when his mom asks him to go pick corn, does he say, "Fo' Sheezy!"?
Fred: Well, I don't think he would because Mom wouldn't understand what he's saying...
and I don't know any kids even in Nebraska that would be that hyped up over picking corn!
(laugh) But I guarantee he does know what the words "Fo' Sheezy" means.
Now I don't think that kids are always trying to use slang in every situation, especially
when it comes to being around adults. Remember, we are talking about kids who have developed
such a complex culture, that to a great degree they live a certain way and act a certain way
around adults and then act a certain way around their own... their own peers.
So would a white kid from Nebraska say, "Fo' Sheezy" to Mom? Probably not. But would he
probably say it in passing, maybe even in joking? Not saying "I'm a serious user of the term
'Fo' Sheezy.'" But would he say it to his friend... more than likely, yea.
Jonathan: Absolutely. And I think that even that Nebraska kid's favorite Cornhusker
star was giving "shout outs" to his own mom in a recent TV interview. And so whether or not
that Nebraska kid calls himself a slang user or not, he's familiar with a "shout out," He's
probably also familiar with other popular slanguage terms like, "pimp," "grill," "krunk," or
"holla." Those mainstream words are even penetrating rural areas across the nation.
D2S: True dat...I mean I agree. So where does most this 'slanguage'
Fred: Although rock, pop and other alternative styles of music and life are powerful
communication tools; hip hop definitely provides the biggest exposure of current slang. A lot
of slang is developed out there on the streets where youth culture thrives. Hip hop has become
one of those platforms where artist can showcase the latest, greatest phrase that's out and see
it take off and become a world wide phrase very quickly. Nelson George, the author of 'Hip Hop
America,' said that once the rap video came out, you literally could come up with a new style
of dance, art, clothes or slang and see it spread around the world within weeks. Let's say you
can come out with a new style of baggy pants. You can wear your pants backwards and within a
week of that video being out, now nationally all over the nation, and to a great degree, all
over the world, kids are starting to wear their pants backwards. O.K., well, flip that and
look at it in the sense of slang. A kid says something like a "Fo' Sheezy" or they say
something like "What it do" and all of a sudden it's in a rap song. That rap song becomes a
popular song, then becomes a popular video and now fans are trying to find out what that new
term means so they can add the latest slang to their repertoire.
D2S: That makes sense, but what about for all those teens that
don't listen to Hip-Hop?
Jonathan: It's funny how often youth workers will ask me that. And the answer is this:
that's a pretty small chunk of our culture. I'd say two thirds of our youth culture listens to
hip hop. As a matter of fact, according to Kaiser's most recent study, hip hop is the most
popular music genre. 65 percent of 7th ? 12th graders listen to hip hop, where second place
to hip hop is alternative rock which is 32%. Below that there is country and other stuff. If
you you'd like to see for yourself, pop onto Billboard.com or iTunes and check out the top
charts and top downloads.
Now, some people think, "Oh well, are you sure that's all kids? What about white kids?" That's
what I love about most of these studies, including that particular Kaiser study. It is
detailed by race. Check this out: 60 percent of WHITE kids listen to hip hop each day, where
only 38 percent of them listen to alternative rock, then country... And you've got to realize
that when kids are averaging 6 ? hours per day of media exposure, which is what that same
survey reports, this is a lot of influence. So when this video that Fred's talking about comes
out, most kids... actually... let me reiterate to be completely accurate, 65% of kids are
current with that term within a week.
Fred: Within a week.
D2S: That's amazing...can you say 'lemmings' or what? So what about
pre-teens or tweens? Tell me they haven't been hip hopped yet!
Fred: Well, have you noticed Nickelodeon lately? I mean if you look from Nickelodeon
to Disney Channel to the Cartoon Network, I mean Sponge Bob Square Pants is break-dancing.
Jonathan: (laughing) Which is really hard... because he's square!
Fred: Look at most of these new cartoons! All of these cats ? these cartoon characters-
are utilizing and using the latest slang. It's become just kind of a cute way to communicate,
almost kind of like when the 'Merry Melodies' back in the 50's, 60's were using these funny
"screw ball" terms and the slang terms of their day. Hip hop culture is so pervasive within
youth culture today that yea, I would say even the average kid, the average 10 year old, 9,
11, 12 year old and up, they are saturated with it.
Jonathan: I was in Toys R Us with my daughter, just a couple of weeks ago, and my
daughters are young and whether they admit it or not-hopefully this interview won't go out
to their friends-they still play with dolls. And we were in the doll aisle, and immediately
Fred: There ain't nothin' wrong with playin' with dolls, Man!
Jonathan: (laughing) Don't make me tell your secret Fred! Anyway... my daughters were
there and we were looking. And wow! Have you seen dolls lately? I don't know if you've seen
the Barbie My Scene Bling Bling dolls...
Fred: The Barbie Bling Bling dolls! (laughing)
Jonathan: That's what they're called. It's right on the package. They're the Bling
Bling dolls and man they are blingin' it. I'm telling you, they've got bling piercings.
They've got bling hangin' off their necks. They got bling on their wrists. My little girls
didn't even blink twice. They knew what they were. I showed them the dolls and they just said,
"Oh yea My Bling Bling!"
Fred: It's pervasive. It's saturated into the culture.
D2S: Wow- I can't wait for the 'Strictly 4 My Barbies' video to
come out! So in the intro section of your new book "What's a Fo'
Sheezy" you say that it is important for youth workers to understand this language. Why is
CLICK HERE FOR THE REST OF THIS INTERVIEW
Last Chance to Win a DVD for Your Ideas: This is the last week to send us your ideas for our upcoming article "Graduation Send-off Ideas"? entering to possibly win a DVD of the new movie "Charlotte's Web"
We'd love your ideas! We're giving away a brand new
Charlotte's Web DVD to each of the five best ideas.
As the end of the school year approaches we hope to provide some quality ideas about how to
send off our graduates. If you work with jr. high or sr. high students, what do you do for your
graduating 8th graders or your graduating seniors?
We want to post the best ideas.
- Do you have a senior dinner?
- Do you do any senior trips?
- Do you give any gifts?
- Do you have a special service?
And just for fun, we're giving away the newly
released Charlotte's Web DVD's to each of the five best ideas.
The Charlotte's Web DVD was just released last week.
It's a fantastic film (CLICK HERE
for my review) loaded with bonus materials.
Email us at
to send us your ideas!
Reaching Out to the Unchurched Teenager Training: Only 10 Days Left to Register at the $10 Early Bird Rate for the Detroit Workshop on April 28th
Looking for an affordable training for you
and your volunteers? Check out this Saturday training seminar from THE SOURCE coming soon
ONLY 10 DAYS LEFT TO REGISTER
AT THE $10 EARLY BIRD RATE!
April 28th, Jonathan is doing a Saturday workshop (9AM to 3PM) for youth
workers within driving distance of Detroit, MI. If you're a youth worker, paid or a
volunteer, this is for you!
Here's the details for this Michigan training:
Saturday, April 28, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
WOULD YOU LIKE THIS TRAINING IN YOUR CITY?
- $15 at the door
- $10 early bird rate if registered by April 21st
CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION ON HOW TO
BRING THIS TRAINING TO YOUR AREA
Jonathan Coming to Phoenix, AZ Area This June: Jonathan is coming to Phoenix this June and is available to speak for less than half of his normal cost
Jonathan will already be in Phoenix this June and available to
speak June 10, 11 or 12th. If you are interested in bringing
Jonathan in for a speaking or training event,
email us at speaking@TheSource4YM.com
and let us know what you're looking for.
Jonathan is booked to speak at camps, conferences and events across the U.S.
CLICK HERE to see what others
are saying about this dynamic speaker.
Jonathan McKee's youth ministry
and evangelism training ranges from 90 to 180 minute sessions like he does at the
Y.S. National Youth Worker
Conventions every year to the all day workshops like his
Reaching Out to the Unchurched training he does
nationally. Jonathan is the author of numerous youth ministry books including
DO THEY RUN WHEN THEY SEE YOU COMING?
and the upcoming YS book
GETTING STUDENTS TO SHOW UP. He trains youth workers, equipping them to not only reach
beyond the church walls, but to disciple them into the church.
BOOKING JONATHAN FOR THIS SPECIAL DEAL
Normally THE SOURCE charges $1,000 plus travel for Jonathan to come out and speak for one day,
or $1500 plus travel for a weekend. All money goes to THE SOURCE and the free resources we
Since Jonathan will already be in Phoenix for these three days, you won't have to pay any
travel costs. In addition, THE SOURCE will be charging only half the normal honorarium.
If you are interested in bringing
Jonathan in for a speaking or training event,
email us at speaking@TheSource4YM.com
and let us know what you're looking for.
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