In Defence of YOLO

As many of you are, I’m sure, aware, a new craze has swept today’s youth: YOLO (for the uninitiated, “You Only Live Once”). From its humble beginnings as an acronym for a mantra of dubious relevance, YOLO has exploded onto the scene as perhaps the most versatile word since “Google.” Consider, for example, the many parts of speech that this mercurial word can assume:

-Interjection: “Are you really going to climb that mountain, bro?” “Damn right! YOLO!”
-Noun: “Why’d you break up with Dylan?” “I don’t know… he just didn’t have enough YOLO in him, you know?”
-Adjective: “Bro, did you just break that bottle over your head? That is so YOLO!”
-Verb: “Do you want to just stay in tonight?” “No, we need to YOLO the hell out of this situation right now.”

And so on. Due to this adaptability, YOLO has been passed around more than the 8ft-diameter parcel that was passed around in the world’s biggest game of Pass the Parcel, and so consequently its potency has been diluted somewhat. Indeed, recently YOLO seems to mean nothing more to most than to devote as little thought as possible to any action in any situation (which could, actually, be what Drake was going for. I haven’t heard the song.)

But I say, so what if the original message of YOLO has been co-opted by these Ed Hardy-wearing, “The Situation”-type people? English being the living language that it is, I see the pervasiveness of YOLO as a godsend; for we can now collectively force it to mean whatever we want! In order to keep our options open, I have been sure to use it frequently in disparate, occasionally contradictory ways, not only so that it might get a foothold in some situation where it would be desirable, but also to keep people on their toes.

To that end, in the spirit of a previous blog post in which I understand I was quoted, I thought I might provide a list of the situations in which I’ve used YOLO in the past day:

-Song lyrics: “Yoho, YOLO, a pirate’s life for me!”
-Metaphor/music reference: “We just need to hop in that YOLO Submarine and sail into the sun, dawg!”
-Answering the phone: “YOLO? [emphasis on the second syllable]”
-Greeting friends: “YOLO Alex! What up?”
-Creating false acronyms: “YOLO: Young Otters Like Oysters.”
-Rambling: “We need to YOLO and go fo’ FroYo fo’ sho, bromo.” (not too proud of that one)

By now, I’m sure you need no more convincing. Clearly YOLO is the saviour of the English language, the missing ingredient in the ratatouille that is our tongue, yea, verily the Higgs Boson in the Standard Model of our culture. It deserves not to be vilified, but rather deified.

To quote Friedrich Nietzsche in his timeless work, “Beyond Good and Evil,” “Und wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein.” [“YOLO is the way; hot, hot YOLO.”] And he was right: now is YOLO’s time. We must, all of us, be sure only to use it for good, and sever all ties with its questionable past.

Yell out like orcas your own literary organism! Youth, our language orders:



Always YOLO.

~ The Ever Esteemed Ed

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