Competition: Teen Spirit
Wednesday, 19th May 2010
Lucy Vickery presents the latest competition
In Competition 2647 you were invited to invent new social types for the current decade.
This assignment, which takes you into the terrain of anthropologists and marketing men, clearly failed to inspire, producing an entry of modest size that fell short of your usual standard.
There were some harsh portraits of the digital generation. Josephine Boyle was kinder than most — ‘Fritter: Frivolous and romantically minded individual who tweets and twitters every passing thought and chance encounter’ — while Bill Greenwell appeared to indulge in some wishful thinking: ‘Wii-Frees: Parsimonious techno-hostile teenagers who insist on books with paper, Monopoly competitions, fresh vegetables and other curiosities from the previous century.’
Barry Baldwin’s Mightabeen updates a pre-existing social stereotype and captures well the jaded spirit of the age we live in: ‘the Mightabeens are the former Wannabees who have burned out or given up. They have a simple philosophy. If they have a problem, someone else is to blame.’
The first four winners, printed below, get £25 each; the rest earn £10 apiece.
Ecotists: they are dedicated to looking after number one at all costs, number one being their blinding group vision of the needs of the environment; their basic aim is to stop everything except the sun, wind and waves.
Exurbanites: with a philosophy largely based on fresh air, they are determined both to leave the city and to leapfrog suburbia. This leaves them either commuting soul-destroying distances or undertaking some non-viable rural project beyond their townie capabilities.
Golden silvers: whether through careful planning or, more likely, lucky financial timing, these pensioners have a comfortable income, most of it readily disposable as their mortgages and other commitments have been paid off; they keep many a cruise ship afloat.
TWIT: acronym for Twerp With Insufficient Testosterone. This subspecies is pathologically incapable of controlling the transmission of the fatuous minutiae of his (predominantly) sorry little life. One actual example will serve to illustrate the condition: ‘Guess wot every 1 my ink cartridge has just run out.’ Recipients’ replies included, ‘Well, run after it then,’ and ‘Buy another one, pillock!’ Banality redefined. Also used as a verb; past tense twat.
Txtmaniak: thought to be a precursor to the Twit (q.v.) Another instance of the techno-moron/desperate attention-seeker. The Bill-No-Mates de nos jours requires no encouragement to fire off infantile observations and queries to all and sundry. The import of the text is often unfathomable, owing to the quirky system of abbreviations adopted by the sender. Less a message, more a cri de coeur.
Caco: term of mild derision for one who loyally pays his ever-increasing taxes without any attempt at avoidance; hence one socially excluded through poverty, who thus acronymically Can’t Afford the Clapham Omnibus.
Algy: one who resists pressure to convert to Mandarin, despite its obvious universal advantages. The term is derived from Nostalgia, a foolish attachment to obsolete forms and usages.
Grater: one who clings to the notion that the Great in Great Britain denotes importance (‘let’s put the Great back in Great Britain’, etc.) however often it is pointed out that it was never more than a geographical term, and should have been a comparative in any case.
Shammy: an adroit person who always comes out on top of whichever combination of political parties is temporarily in office. Probably derived from Chamois, an animal sure-footed in high, rocky terrain, though perhaps also from Sham, a deceit.
Beezes: though anywhere in the range from seriously to grotesquely overweight, they, while not necessarily proud of their excess size, make no attempt to conceal it. They wear tightly belted trousers, allowing rolls of flesh to bulge below and escape above. Female Beezes wear low-cut, revealing tops and, if not trousered like the males, ultra-short mini-skirts giving views of huge thighs, bare or clad in black tights or fluorescent leggings. Hair is long and often garishly coloured, except where, with males, baldness threatens, in which case fat heads are shaved to match massive jowls. Beezes are cheerful snackers.
Appy Clappers: techno-addicts recognisable by their inability to look up, and their compulsion to add recherché applications to hand-held gadgets, e.g., volcanic ash detector, stethoscope, kebab-shop locator, E-number decoder.
Costaways: teenage students on pointless, impractical and unprofitable university or college courses living independently from parents whilst being dependent upon them for books, bar bills, clothes, debts, emergencies, entertainment, transport, and free accommodation when residing at home.
Young Hortipolitans: young/youngish city dwellers who have recently acquired an allotment or are on a waiting list for one; a subgroup of the Watering Classes.
Non-Secateurs: those uninterested in joining the gardening bandwagon.
Saturated Fats: overweight binge-drinkers