May 25, 2008

What the funk is going on?

Kashyap Joshi

Some phrases have been giving me a bad time lately. Mostly because I have no clue what they mean and, worse, neither do the people who use them know.

Imagine, you’re back from work, tired, and all you wanna do is lie back in a nice breezy place with a cold beer and smile and stare like a lunatic. But suddenly, you find yourself with your wife and her eternally excited friend, and you’re thinking … you’re thinking of what to do, where to go. You know the answer but you also know that to your wife and her friend, it does not even qualify as a suggestion. So you keep on thinking. After five minutes your wife’s friend shouts out the words you dread most. Not because they are frightful but because you don’t know what they mean and neither does she. “LET’S DO SOMETHING FUNKYYYY.”

So doing funky begins. Suddenly again, I find myself in a discotheque whose bouncers make it look so exclusive that they won’t even let members in. Inside, me and my beer stand smiling and staring at the crowd while wife and her friend swing their hips. And suddenly, I think about those words that started all this… “LET’S DO SOMETHING FUNKYYYY.”

Every time this ‘Funky’ phrase was used, I’ve gotten myself into trouble. What the hell do these phrases mean: Let’s do something funky. Why don’t you wear something funky? Wow that looks so funky! Funky stuff, dude!

It’s imperative to know what people mean when they say something because not knowing can get you expecting the wrong things. Like one day, I came back home with a weird haircut when all I wanted was to go short. Someone suggested this hot chick was a good hairstylist. When I sat down for the snips and told her that I wanted it short, she asked …“Say, you wanna, like, get a little funky?” I almost jumped up saying “Yes”. My brain decoded getting funky as smoking funny cigarettes and getting down to it. But getting funky meant a bad haircut.

But Funky comes from Funk, a genre of music. Let me paste what Wiki has to say about it:

Funk is a rhythmic, danceable African-American form of music.

The word "funk", once defined in dictionaries as body odor or the smell of sexual intercourse, commonly was regarded as coarse or indecent.

African-American musicians originally applied "funk" to music with a slow, mellow groove, then later with a hard-driving, insistent rhythm because of the word's association with sexual intercourse.

The music was slow, sexy, loose and danceable. In jam sessions, musicians would encourage one another to "get down" by telling one another, "Now, put some stank ('stink’/funk) on it!" At least as early as 1907, jazz songs carried titles such as Buddy Bolden's "Funky Butt." As late as the early 1960s, when "funk" and "funky" were used increasingly in the context of soul music, the terms still were considered indelicate and inappropriate for use in polite company.

So according to Wiki, if you’re wearing something funky, it means your clothes stink. If you’re doing something funky, your sexual partner badly needs a bath and deodorant. And if something looks or sounds funky, you’d better run away from it cause it’s not going to smell too good when you come close to it.

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About the Author:Kashyap gettin better at his sarcasm.He is a copywriter with TBWA.