Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Oh. My. God.

In the past few months, I've heard these words more often then I ever did (or even noticed hearing them) in the United States. Chileans say it to you passing in the streets, at parties, or they might even ask you to say it for them at parties. The stereotypical American "Oh. My. God."

One of the adverse side effects of U.S. television and movies being pervasive across the world is that people have a somewhat skewed view of the U.S. and U.S. culture. This phrase seems to be one of the things that Chileans seem to think we say every ten minutes -- and maybe we do.

Walking down the street, people -- strangers -- will say this to you if you have that from-out-of-town look. The appropriate response still alludes me.

It goes without saying, this has to be one of those things that gets filed under the Things I'm Not So Crazy About when it comes to Chile and I'll be happy if I never hear that three letter phrase again.

This obsession with saying The Phrase has turned me totally against it, if only because I feel like a representative of the U.S. and don't want to reinforce the OMG stereotype. This has made me far more mindful of how I express my surprise/excitement/dismay/disgust with something. I often catch myself mid-OMG-ing, stopping short with an "Oh my .. !" rather then saying the full phrase.

Truthfully it's not Chileans I get frustrated with when I hear this. They're just repeating what they hear on 1990s sitcom reruns. The OMG monster is a product of our own creation. Cultural globalization at its worst. All I can hope for is that another U.S. sitcom and subsequent catchphrase take off soon because OMG! this is getting really old.


1 comment:

  1. In case you aren't aware, that phrase Oh. My. God. started in 1983 with a little movie called Valley Girl and was exaggerated in a song called Valley Girl by Moon Zappa (http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=0ec_1181798982), however, texting probably made it a lot worse now.