Help, I Can't Stop Ending Texts With "Lol"

"Lmao" and "haha / ha / ha! hahaha" will be discussed at a later date, but today we're focusing on the granddaddy of text-speak, the ever-useful "lol."

Sometime around 2015, I started ending most of my text messages with "lol."

Since it's almost 2020, it's time to ask myself why I haven't been able to stop.

In reflecting on my reliance on "lol," I've traced its roots to my lifelong sense of insecurity and social anxiety. This wasn't created by the Internet—I spent a lot of time in my pre-social media youth (and too much of my adult life) worrying about what others think, or trying not to care.

Texting hasn't helped. In fact, texting is my least favorite form of digital messaging, and it often makes me even more uncomfortable than personal interactions. Texting crystallizes my social anxiety, making it present and unavoidable, unless I actively decide to disengage from my phone. Perpetually, there's someone waiting to be responded to or who I'm waiting for a response from, or some conversation I'm supposed to know how to continue or reignite in a perfectly cavalier, laid-back yet considerate fashion. Though I write for a living, I've never really been fluent in the art of casual human small talk, and that has translated into my digital communications.

When "lol" appeared in my life (a crush of mine had a tendency to use it), it quickly became a code word that was and is everything I want to imply but don't know how to say in a text. When I end a message with "lol," it means, I don't take myself too seriously, and neither should you, and, I have a healthy, cheerful, cool and chill attitude towards this conversation and to life, and if you want to end this conversation and never speak to me again, I would understand!

Usually, none of those things is entirely true, but the person I'm talking to doesn't need to know that. "Lol" adds a flicker of sarcasm, a kind of wink. It's less cheery than ":)" and less peppy than "!," less effortful than an emoji (though I do love those), more open and friendly than "…" and far less vitriolic than the period-free cold stop.

On the other hand, emails and status updates are much more formal and easy to intuit. You can end emails with "Best, ____," and call it a day. The artifice is explicit, and no one is pretending that the conversation could go on all night. When we email, there's an inherent understanding that we all want to get back to whatever it is we do outside of performing formal interactions with people we don't really want to be around or don't feel comfortable with.

But you can't end a text message with a cordial "Sincerely" or a "Thanks." For me, texting is so stressful, in part, because it's basically distilled small talk, and it's oddly difficult to end a conversation without ghosting or lying; and, having been on the receiving end of both of those things, I know that neither is a kind thing to do to someone. Also, texts are so easily misinterpreted; it's so easy for them to come off as cold or callous when they're supposed to be the opposite.

All this can be fixed by "lol." In terms of linguistic devices, it's actually quite elegant, a catch-all that does large amounts of emotional labor for a little palindrome. This isn't an accident—it's just indicative of language's ability to become an arbiter of nuance and implication instead of a fixed code. According to linguist John McWhorter, "If you look at the LOLs from the perspective of a geeky linguist looking for structure, what the LOLs are, are particles which indicate that the speaker – so to speak – and the addressee are sharing a certain context of interpretation, i.e., you know what this nasty day is like; You know what it's like being in the library. That is a piece of grammar."

How 'LOL' Changed the Way We Talk

The definition of "lol" has changed over the years due to its prominence in texting, writes McWhorter, coming to act as a stand-in for casual laughter and a symbol of nuance and empathy. "It used to be that if you were going to write in any real way beyond the personal letter, there were all these rules you were afraid you were breaking—and you probably were," he continues. "It wasn't a comfortable form. You can write comfortably now."

That's a fairly positive interpretation, and I would imagine that Mr. McWhorter is pretty fun at parties, but I'm not quite so optimistic about why we all love "lol" so much. In addition to being a grammatical unicorn, "lol" is, perhaps, a kind of shield against reality.

Like iPhones, a face tattoo, a trenchcoat, or a clown nose, maybe "lol" is a buffer against the truth.

In some ways, "lol" may be an early acronym for the post-ironic discourse that millennials and digital natives have become reliant on. Like a meme about politics or mental illness, perhaps "lol" is a way of communicating information while remaining self-deprecating and un-self-serious, which successfully circumvents the need to acknowledge that a change must be made.

And maybe we do need these kinds of buffers in order to exist in today's world of apocalyptic headlines and cutthroat capitalism. We need our casual laughs and our inside jokes, just like we need our coffee and our alerts and notifications that blink like signifiers of solidarity, albeit fractured through a screen. Perhaps "lol" functions similarly to Tweets, memes, and Tik Toks—all of which are becoming more and more sophisticated at helping us distance ourselves from reality, thereby allowing us to engage with the people and the world around us at lightning speed.

So, should I stop using "lol" or lean in further? Should we continue using the Internet while knowing it brainwashes us and tracks our information (but also opens our minds to new voices we may never have otherwise heard), or should I abscond entirely and move to a permaculture cabin in the woods? Friends, this is all pretty spooky imo lol. I'm not actually laughing, but you knew that.


Kim Kardashian Earns Japanese Wrath for Trying to Trademark "Kimono"

It's like when Gwen Stefani culturally appropriated all of "harajuku" sub-culture, only worse.

Infamous culture vulture Kim Kardashian West clearly isn't planning on becoming a copyright lawyer after she takes the California bar exam in 2022.

Kardashian disregarded about a thousand years of Japanese history when she applied to trademark the word "kimono." That's the name of the 38-year-old reality TV star's new line of shapewear—apparently, the fact that her name appears in the first three letters of the word makes her feel entitled to re-brand the traditional Japanese garment as her flesh-colored knock-off Spanx. Kardashian recently tweeted, "Finally I can share with you guys this project that I have been developing for the last year. I've been passionate about this for 15 years. Kimono is my take on shapewear and solutions for women that actually work."

kim kardashian kimono Kimono

Called "tasteless," "awful," and "baffling," the new line shares no commonality with the Japanese formal wear it's named after, and the website offers no acknowledgment of the culture it's appropriating. Regardless, on June 19 Kardashian filed to trademark "kimono" for her personal brand. Multiple applications at the United States Patent and Trademark Office cite her new business venture as "Kimono Intimates" and request trademarks for names like "Kimono Body" and "Kimono World" to cover a full line of body-hugging lingerie and bodysuits. A Tokyo Fashion account shared the document on Twitter, posting, "Kim Kardashian filed for a bunch of trademarks on the word 'kimono' (even for actual kimono), which, if granted, would allow her to ban Japanese companies from using the word 'kimono' in America. Somebody call Cool Japan ASAP. 😱😱"

To clarify, unlike its bastardized American counterpart worn as robes and beach cover-ups, an actual Japanese kimono is a free-flowing, ankle-length gown, cinched at the waist with a sash called an obi. Made from fabric with ornate designs, the traditional dress is often passed down through generations and symbolizes health, prosperity, and familial respect. In short, people wear kimonos to weddings, funerals, and celebrations—not as underwear.

While Kardashian's disrespect is far from surprising, considering her long history of mistaking cultural staples as fashion statements (she's defended wearing an Indian headpiece and African Fulani braids as "cultural inspiration" rather than appropriation), Japanese people were pissed. Soon after the story broke, "kimono" became a trending Twitter topic in Japan. Japanese news editor Yuko Kato immediately criticized, "@KimKardashian Nice underwear, but as a Japanese woman who loves to wear our traditional dress,👘 kimono, I find the naming of your products baffling (since it has no resemblance to kimono), if not outright culturally offensive, especially if it's merely a word play on your name. Pls reconsider."

Japanese artist Emi Kusano posted, "Me wearing A #KIMONO with hakama for my graduation👘🎓🌸 Very sad to hear @kimkardashian has trademarked 'Kimono' for her new underwear line😭 #KimOhNo."

Another Japanese user wrote, "We welcome foreigners who respect, try, arrange and enjoy our culture. However, the name for our traditional clothes 'Kimono' does not mean underwear nor your tool for making money. I suggest you reconsider about it."

Altogether, Kim's had a hard week. Days before Twitter called out her latest cultural appropriation with the mocking hashtag #KimOhNo, she incurred the wrath of Jameela Jamil for her new line of body makeup under KKW Beauty. The actress replied "hard pass" and encouraged women not to feel pressure to cover up their stretch marks and scars; rather, "save money and time and give yourself a damn break."

When Kardashian revealed her Kimono line on Twitter, she tried to keep it light, adding, "Fun Kimono Fact- Kanye drew the Kimono logo." Luckily, one Japanese account immediately enlightened her, "Fun Fact: Kimono were traditionally made to hide curves, not accentuate them."

Fashion fact: The entire beauty industry is meant for self-expression, confidence, and creativity, not to treat symbolic cultural artifacts as accessories for Instagram.

Kim Kardashian Rob Kardashian Weight

Proving what a self centered bitch she is yet again, Kim Kardashian was seen in a recent episode of Keeping Up With Thee Kardashians shockingly making fun of brother Robert's weight gain.

Kim has come out on social media in the past to defend herself against fat shamers for their comments regarding her weight gain during both her pregnancies.  Apparently it's OK for her to do it to her own family though. When it comes to having a bitchy giggle with her mom, she's happy to show her true colors and make sure Rob feels even more shit about himself than he already does.

Kim Kardashian Trashes Adrienne Bailon For Rob Kardashian Comments

The fact that Rob is deeply depressed and having a serious battle with his weight didn't stop bitch Kim having a dig at his size when discussing his tattoos with the family during their girlie vacation to St Barts (well girlie except for 18 year old Kylie's devoted boyfriend Tyga).   They talked about a tattoo he originally got of ex-girlfriend Adrienne Bailon when they were dating between 2007-2009.  When they split, Rob had it inked over with a tattoo of Rita Ora who he was dating in 2012.

Laughing, Kim said;

"He covered it with a life-sized barbie doll of Rita that has now turned into a Cabbage Patch Doll."

What a nasty thing to say, knowing how he feels about his weight gain and of course knowing the cameras were filming her.  Just in case we didn't get the horrible dig, she hammered it home, saying;

"Have you seen it lately? It was like a Barbie doll and he's gained weight and it's like a huge Cabbage Patch Kid.  Huge!"

Cut away to a laughing Kris. Nice, supportive Mom right there.

Rob Kardashian Posts Support For Kylie, Not A Word For Saint West

No wonder Rob, who previously called Kim out on being an uber-bitch, was uncomfortable attending her wedding in 2014.  There were stories at the time that she was furious that he hadn't lost enough weight to not spoil her pictures (Kylie stepped up to the plate with her blue hair to do that in his absence though).  This latest incident underlines the fact that his negative feelings towards her are bang on the money.

Money Monday—How Much Is Rob Kardashian Really Worth?

The episode aired days after Rob was rushed to hospital over the holidays with a major health scare. He's gone straight back into seclusion though, with a source telling numerous outlets;

"Even after his medical scare, Rob acts like he wants nothing to do with the world."

Can you blame him?  When his world includes Kim Kardashian we reckon he really is better off for his own health and sanity staying well away.

Kim Kardashian Rob Kardashian Weight

Kim Kardashian Rob Kardashian Weight

Kim Kardashian Rob Kardashian Weight

Kanye West wants the world to know that Kim Kardashian is no gold digger y’all!

The 37-year-old rallied to KK’s defense during a speech about racism on Sunday evening, as he accepted a BET Honors Visionary awardPopdust has video.

After talking about how “groundbreaking” it was to see [Nation of Islam leader] Louis Farrakan’s reaction to news that West was hooking-up with a woman “not of color”—Kanye went on to insist that Kim’s not all about the dollar signs….she’s a person of substance goddammit!

Whilst addressing the stigma surrounding interracial relationships—Kanye talked about his experience growing up in Chicago during the 80s and 90s.

At the barbershop... I used to hear people always talking about, "Man you know when an entertainer get on, of course you know he gon' go and get a white girl and blah blah blah and a white girl gon' get a rich black dude."

I wanna say that my wife has dated broke black dudes. It got nothing to do with the money.

There you go then….. case over.

West also spoke about how Kim’s late father, Robert Kardashian, became a victim of racism himself, after defending OJ Simpson during his high profile murder trial—and how, the attorney predicted that one day his daughter, “may have a black child…a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful black child…and it’s gonna be hard. You’re gonna see how hard it is.”

Finishing off with a dash of West wisdom, Kanye concluded, “So true enough, we deal with racism because there are different races. Or the micro of it is that we focus on the different races as opposed to the macro, which is the human race.”

You can watch Kanye West’s speech in full when the BET Honors show airs February 23.

And check out Popdust's compilation of Kanye West's Best, Worst, Most Kanye-esque Moments—ranked in order of greatness.....

oj simpson rob kardashian hid evidence

It's been 20 years since OJ Simpson was acquitted of killing Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman, but the families of the victims will never forget it.

In a new interview with MailOnline, Ron's father Fred Goldman, 73, is still convinced not only of OJ's guilt, but of the part Robert Kardashian played in it.

The People v OJ Simpson Trailer—Gloriously Camp TV Coming Your Way Soon

According to Fred, Robert, a trusted confidante and member of OJ's legal team, took evidence away from the scene of the crime in a suitcase that has never been discovered.

Robert, the father of Kim, Khloe, Kourtney and Rob Kardashian, died of esophageal cancer in 2003.

Conspiracy Theory Thursday—Khloe Kardashian’s Real Dad Is OJ

Refusing to call the former athlete by his name, Fred merely refers to him as "the killer".

"That evidence would have convicted ‘the killer,’" Fred said. "Yes, it's 20 years later and it's never any different. Whether it's two days, two months or now twenty years later, nothing has changed. It's the same loss, the same feeling that there is a missing piece in our family and it's just as intense as the day he died. It is still devastating. Honestly, any family who has gone through this nightmare, understands. I still cry about my son and anything can trigger this emotion.  It may be just a thought, a memory, a conversation, just a word or if someone reminded me of him."

Fred explains the reason Ron was even at Nicole's home that night was to return her glasses.

Kanye West Thinks OJ Simpson Is ‘Amazing’

He doesn't believe they were dating, and thinks the trial was particularly fraught because of the bad feeling at the time between the Black community and the LAPD.

"The prosecution did an admiral job but the courtroom was free-for-all because of Judge Ito. A lot of things were done that were foolish!  The gloves... how can you try on gloves that were soaked in blood, they were brittle and you want someone to put them on over latex gloves? What are you contaminating? That should've never happened."

To read more from Fred, click here.