Gettin’ hyphy: An epidemic?

| Staff Columnist

It’s all about the “hype” these days. It’s absolutely everywhere. The term has been around for centuries, and many notable historical figures have curried favor with the word. The always quotable Lord Byron was known to have once said, “Get some hype up in this bitch.” Even more reserved historical figures have eloquently uttered derivations of our word of the day. Louis XIV, otherwise known as the Sun King, was quoted as saying (in a beautiful French accent), “Let’s get hyphy!” when throwing extravagant parties at Versailles.

Hype has even made it into today’s modern lingo. A quick search of urbandictionary.com reveals a plethora of hype-based terms, for example, “hypebeast.” Now, for the uncultured, I will provide the Urban Dictionary definition. “Hypebeast: 1. Sneakerheads who only rock hyped up [expletive] to get props b/c they got no self worth or sense of style. 2. 50% of NikeTalk members.” Given the intricate definition, one may be asking, “How can I use it in a sentence?” Well, fear not, for Urban Dictionary provides us with a perfect example of the way the cool kids use it: “Look at my hypebeast status supreme dunks, supreme sweater, supreme hat and [matching] jeans.” Brilliance.

Now that we’ve completed a crash course on the past and present uses of hype, let’s get to the point of this article. I love the hype. I hype things up to the point of no return, and then people get mad at me because it’s never as good as I told them it would be. Now this isn’t fair to all of you. If I told you that this was the best article ever written, that would be building up hype for nothing at all. This article is probably only top 10. If I told you that the spring rolls at the DUC were the best I’ve ever had, that would clearly be a false statement and an abuse of my propensity for the act of hyping.

Despite my desire to get your hopes up and then throw them off perilously high cliffs, I am also a victim of hype. Do you know how many songs have let me down? Countless numbers. The problems run deeper, lest you think that my victimization is limited to listening pleasure. New Year’s Eve owes me years of therapy for the number of times it has let me down. It may be the most hyped night of the year, but has it ever been the most fun you’ve had at a party? No, it never has. Yet every year I get drawn in by promises of ball drops and noisemakers, and I think to myself, “This year will be different.” I’m not saying New Year’s isn’t awesome; it just never lives up to the hype. This is a huge problem for our culture. In fact, it’s an epidemic parallel to the disaster that has become swine flu.

Every holiday is hyped; every party is hyped. We’re all hyper, all the time. The issue is that come party time, we’ve all built up such high expectations that we would only consider anything a success if Fergie showed up with an elephant trained to do the “Single Ladies” dance. Needless to say, hype is incredibly dangerous, and if abused, can lead to long-term dopamine deficiency. With that being said, the Halloween parties this year are going to be off the chain! Prediction: Best Halloween of the century. I will close this article the same way I started it. Let’s get hyphy, ladies and gentlemen.

Charlie is a sophomore in Arts & Sciences. He can be reached via e-mail at chlow@artsci.wustl.edu.