Author Archives: bartowwe



Destruction (pronounced like Christopher Walken shouting)

A melee (Super Smash Brothers Melee, a game by Nintendo) term from the melee community—a commentator named D1 would try to hype up the game whenever something cool happened. Because he over-exaggerated how intense the gameplay was and continuously said “destruction” at mildly interesting moments, the phrase became a joke in the community and is used whenever you want to hype up something that isn’t actually hype worthy.

i.e. whenever a player accidentally kills them self or misses an attack.

Informant & Context:

My informant for this piece is an active member of the competitive Super Smash Brothers Melee community, which has been active since 2001. He has attended multiple tournaments and watched others on live stream web sources such as Twitch and Youtube.


I find it interesting that a lot of the folk speech insults in online games originate from an attempt to parody something in the community’s spotlight. This particular one parodies a specific commentator in combination with a particular player’s mediocrity. Folk speech in this community is also highly interesting due to the local nature of the game; since the game is offline, the only way to spread game culture is to attend tournaments and other events related to the game.

Chinese Proverbs


When I was a small, my parents made me memorize some classic proverbs:

Men, at their birth, are naturally good

Their Natures are the same; their habits become widely different

“What do they mean to you?”

hmmm. I think there was a very high value on education and being conscious of my surroundings. I put family as a very high value, or I was socialized to be.

Informant & Context:

My Informant is a Chinese-American student at the University of Southern California, who speaks Mandarin at home with his family members. These traditional Chinese proverbs were translated by him.


These proverbs really stress ideas of optimism. The first proverb, blatantly so, the second one does so by emphasizing the impact of ones surroundings on an individual. My informant definitely takes this as a positive thing—a call to be conscious and observant rather than morose that difference has arisen.

Noob Origins


N00b and nub are corruptions of “noob”, itself a corruption of “newb”, short for “newbie”. “Newbie” was in use at least as far back as the BBS era of the 1980s and early 1990s, where it referred to a user who was new to BBSs. It was less of an insult and more friendly than “noob”, which was popularized by Counterstrike players in a context where a poor player can ruin the game for others.

Newbie itself is modern slang, where according to Wikipedia it referred to new soldiers in Vietnam. The word’s origin before this is unclear, but it appears to be a word created to turn the adjective “new” into a noun, perhaps as a diminutive (Barbara -> Barbie, for example).


Informant & Context:

My informant is a commenter on the website Stack Exchange, who goes by the username Joe Dovakhiin, a popular message board website in the online gaming community. The comment was in response to a forum question about the origins of the word Noob. I believe the comment was legitimized by the more than twelve thousand thumbs ups it received by other forum users.

Link to forum:



This is one of the most classic or conventional gaming insults in my opinion. It is a phrase that has continued to be used throughout my lifetime, and has a life span almost as large as the video game industry itself. This phrase is especially interested because it has maintained popularity in the entire gaming community whereas other phrases have gone in and out of style like fads.

The Crows and the Serpent


The Crows and the Serpent

This story is from the Panchatantra tales. In indian culture when the kids are going to bed, parents will read out of this book. All of the stories have morals to them. In that story pretty much what happens is there are a bunch of crows living in a tree. One day a family of snakes moves under the tree. So then obviously the crow family is really mad about that, because snakes eat crows. So the next day crow parents go out in the morning to search for food for their kids. They come back later and all their babies are gone–because the snakes ate them. So then they have more kids and decide to come up with a way for the snakes to not attack them. So then the mom decides to stay in the nest when while the dad searches for food–but because she’s alone, the snakes attack her and eat all their babies again. So they have to come up with a new plan to save their next babies. So they call their friends over who are foxes. They tell the foxes about how the snakes keep eating their babies. The fox tells them to use their brain. He says that all the royal families bathe really early in the morning, and leave their jewelry on plates. So he tells the crows to steal one of the necklaces and drop it into the snakes’ home. So the crows wake up really early the next day, before the snakes are awake, and steal a necklace from one of the royal families. Some guards are chasing them as they fly away, and then they drop the necklace into the snake hole. The guards then have to kill the snakes to get the jewelry out of the whole, which they do, and the crows stop having their babies eaten.

This moral of this story is to use intelligence over physical strength.

Informant & Context:

My informant for this story is an Indian-American student at the University of Southern California who grew up in Seattle, Washington. She grew up in a fairly culturally traditional Indian household. This story comes from a set of stories that many Indian parents read to their children.


The thing that stands out to me the most about this story is that the crows are the heroes. In many stories in western culture, crows are often the antagonists—the same can be said for foxes.

The story has a very concise message: Use intelligence to solve your problems instead of strength.

New Zealand Slang


“Do you have any slang in New Zealand that you don’t hear here at all?”

Oh yeah, we have lots.

Togs – swimsuits (apparently the old english form for swimsuit)

Jandals – flipflops

Motorway – freeway

Cuzzie – friends

Scarfies – people from Dunedien

Jafa – (Just another fucking Aucklander) People from Auckland

Stubbies – really short pants that men wear

Chur – thank you. I lot of people say chur instead of thanks.

Wops wops – middle of nowhere

“Is there a reason for any of this?”

No. Well some of them maybe

Westies/Bogans – People from west Aukland but it’s like dumb unwashed hippies

Munted – Broken

Oh, and we call ketchup tomato sauce.

Informant & Context:

My informant for this piece is a USC student from New Zealand who lived in Auckland for 18 years. The above are popular youth phrases in New Zealand whose meaning does not carry over to the US.


The most interesting ones of these to me are Jafa, and Westies because they are discriminatory phrases about people from Auckland, the city my informant is from. The previous pieces of folklore I had acquired from this person suggested a greater assimilation of culture between different peoples in New Zealand, but these phrases suggest that there are stereotype based rivalries between different geographic groups in New Zealand. Though I did not get one, I’m assuming there is also a word that Auklanders use to insult the people that call them Jafas or Westies.