Subtext is Everything

Article by Joe DeRosa

“Why don’t they do what they say/ Say what you mean”—The Fixx, from their song One Thing Leads to Another (the only tune of theirs I’ve ever heard, but it’s a damn goodie!)

Before we get into this month’s topic, I have a bit of bad news, good and decent Penthouse subscribers: I am bidding thee farewell….

Well, I’ll still be writing stuff for this glorious porno mag, I’m just done with this column. After all, how much can one guy rant about hating practices, persuasions, and people? By my calculations: about thirteen months.

Over the last year or so, I’ve used these pages to air my gripes with marriage, voting, sensitivity, merit, and a bunch of other subjects that I hope my opinions on had readers thinking, Interesting point, and not, What an asshole. To be fair, it was probably a little of both.

But since my fear of being repetitive far outweighs my respect for commitment, I’m bringing this thing to an end. Anyway, enough with the salutations. I was never very adept at expressing sentiment. Let’s get back to my specialty: bitching and moaning.

As stated, this column has always focused on the broader cultural ideas and concepts. But since this is the final entry to “You Let Me Down,” I wanted to try something different. For this piece, I’m shifting my focus from the surface to the subtext.

Subtext. I don’t think the term has ever been more relevant than here and now. When it comes to our favorite modern-day way to talk to one another—text messages, email, and social media; you know, the types of discussion where you don’t have to hear another person’s pesky voice—the subtext is swinging harder than ever. But I don’t think many of us are recognizing it.

The proper definition of the word is “an underlying and often distinct theme in a piece of writing or conversation.” Current methods of conversation are, almost exclusively, executed through writing, and there is a theme: We’re completely full of shit! We don’t mean what we say and we don’t say what we mean.

So, I took it upon myself to take some of this digital-age jargon and translate it into what I think the users of it are actually saying. Below you’ll find a list of phrases, words, and hashtags that we casually throw around on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. Underneath each is their subtext and, of course, the two are quite different. But as they say, “The devil is in the details.” And if you ask me, what you’re about to read is a list of truly iniquitous language.

Leave a Reply