Opinion | Today’s Teenagers Have Invented a Language That Captures the World Perfectly

All copyrighted images used with permission of the respective copyright holders.

The Language of the Mid-Gen: How Teen Slang Reflects a World of "Glazed" Information and "Mid" Experiences

In a world awash with curated online experiences and a constant stream of information, the way teenagers communicate is evolving rapidly. Gone are the days of "radical" and "groovy," replaced by a lexicon of words like "mid," "glazed," and "based" that reflect a generation grappling with the realities of a heavily mediated, often artificial world. These slang terms, far from being mere fads, offer a revealing window into the attitudes, anxieties, and perceptions of the "mid-gen"— those growing up in the digital age.

Key Takeaways:

  • Slang Words as a Reflection of Reality: Teen slang isn’t just about sounding cool; it’s a means of navigating a complex world. Words like "mid" and "glazed" reflect a sense of disillusionment with the sameness and artificiality that pervades modern life.
  • The Need for Precision: The specific meanings assigned to these words highlight the need for nuanced vocabulary in an age of overwhelming information. "Mid," for instance, goes beyond the simple "average" to encapsulate a specific type of mediocrity that lacks any spark.
  • The Rise of the Contrarian: The increasing use of "based" as a term of agreement, especially for controversial opinions, speaks to the desire for authentic and grounded thoughts in a world often dominated by manufactured narratives.

A Vocabulary of Dissatisfaction:

The word "mid" encapsulates a sense of lukewarm disappointment that’s become a defining characteristic of the mid-gen experience. "Everything in Starbucks falls into the category of ‘mid,’" observes the author, reflecting the prevalence of a sense of uninspired sameness in mass-marketed products and experiences. "Mid" signifies a deliberate avoidance of extremes, a preference for the comfortable and predictable over genuine excitement or novelty. Whether it’s the ubiquity of chain stores or the homogenization of online content, "mid" captures the feeling of being stuck in a perpetual state of mediocrity.

The Gloss of Deception:

"Glazed" adds another layer of complexity to the mid-gen’s linguistic landscape. It speaks to the pervasive sense that information is often presented in a distorted or exaggerated way, with a sheen of positivity that obscures the truth. "Glaze is also the perfect description of the way social media works: The world you encounter online is perpetually glazed, with everything taking on an artificially positive, unreal and not entirely trustworthy gloss," the author points out. This term reflects a kind of cynicism, acknowledging that what is presented as real often harbors a layer of crafted reality.

Finding Ground in a World of "Sus":

"Sus," short for "suspicious," reveals a deeply ingrained distrust that permeates the mid-gen’s world view. This term points to the inherent skepticism that comes from experiencing a world saturated with "glazed" information, where one can never be entirely sure of what’s genuine or authentic. "Sus" suggests a world that’s dubious enough that you need a diminutive to describe it," the author writes, signifying a pervasive feeling of caution and unease.

The Allure of "Based":

The rise of "based," a term of agreement that signifies groundedness and authenticity, speaks to a desperate desire for truth in a world of manufactured narratives. "Based" can have a more malevolent connotation in certain alt-right circles, where being based alludes to allegiance to a contrarian viewpoint. But to my ear, “based” is a perfect word, a necessary word, to describe the informational chaos we inhabit," the author argues. The fact that a term like "based" has become crucial to navigating this complex landscape highlights a powerful yearning for truth and authenticity, even when it contradicts popular narratives.

A Generation Shaped by Information Overload:

The language of the mid-gen is not a mere collection of fads; it’s a reflection of the complex landscape they inhabit. Their lexicon is a tool for navigating a world where information is overwhelming and often deceptive, where genuine experiences are increasingly scarce. Their slang speaks to a cynicism tempered with a deep-seated yearning for authenticity, a desire to find truth amidst the "glaze" of manufactured reality.

Implications for the Future:

The emergence of these terms has significant implications for the future. The mid-gen’s linguistic evolution reflects a growing awareness of the challenges posed by a world dominated by curated experiences and fragmented information. This awareness will likely shape their approaches to communication, consumption, and decision-making, shifting the landscape of cultural discourse in ways that remain to be seen. As they mature into adulthood, the mid-gen will bring with them this understanding of the world as it is – a world of "mid" experiences, "glazed" information, and a constant need to seek "based" truths. Their vocabulary is not just a fad; it’s a powerful reflection of the times, and it will undoubtedly play a significant role in shaping the future.

Article Reference

Olivia King
Olivia King
Olivia King is a social media expert and digital marketer. Her writing focuses on the most shared content across platforms, exploring the reasons behind viral trends and the impact of social media. Olivia's expertise helps readers understand the dynamics of online sharing.