Sorry SNL, Gen Z Didn’t Invent That Slang

A recent sketch highlights how little people understand about the Black origins of internet language.


Episode Notes

Rachelle and Madison discuss Elon Musk’s episode of Saturday Night Live. Specifically they break down the ”Gen Z Hospital” sketch, where everybody seems to be speaking in internet slang, and the backlash to it. Rachelle explains how all the language used isn’t just from the internet or from Zoomers but from African-American Vernacular English. This isn’t a new thing, of course—white Americans have been appropriating Black culture for as long as America has been around—but as this Paper magazine article by Rob Dozier points out, the internet has made it particularly easy for those words to lose their original context.

Podcast Production by Daniel Schroeder and Derek John.


About the Show

Join Rachelle Hampton twice a week as we gaze deep into the online abyss—and tell you what’s gazing back.

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  • Rachelle Hampton is a culture writer and reporter at Slate and co-host of ICYMI. Her work has appeared in the New Republic, Pacific Standard, Smithsonian Magazine, and In These Times. She still hasn't recovered from Tumblr’s demise.

  • Madison Malone Kircher is a senior writer at Slate and co-host of ICYMI. She was previously a staff writer at New York magazine, where she covered internet culture and edited New York’s Approval Matrix. Her work has appeared in Vogue, Vulture, and the Cut. Madison lives in Brooklyn, where she regularly drops her phone on her face watching TikToks in bed.