Gen Z Proverb

Text: If I shake this ass, this depression will pass.

Context: I would use this when I’m sad or consoling a sad friend. I probably learned it from another friend in like September of senior year. I’ve heard other people use it on Tik Tok. It makes me laugh when I’m depressed. I don’t think a lot of people would have heard it before.

Analysis: This proverb is likely meant to make someone laugh rather than offer serious advice. Still, if the issue trying to be solved is depression or sadness, making someone laugh can be part of the solution. It can be categorized as a proverb parody/metafolklore because it follows similar formatting and style as a traditional proverb, yet its message is quite ridiculous and not meant to be genuinely helpful. In this way, we might see some push back of Gen Z towards the more “serious” older generations whose traditional proverbs can now be seen as “cringy.” Furthermore, this proverb is also a form of dark humor, especially with the rise of mental health issues in Gen Z. As Bill Ellis outlines in chapter 2 of Of Corpse: Death and Humor in Folkore and Popular Culture, dark humor can be used to help people grieve and move forward from tragedy, just as humor was used to help many grieve 9/11. This proverb is an example of how Gen Z is trying to cope with the modern tragedies plaguing their generation.