18th September, 2012
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for several months you will have heard a peculiar little phrase that doesn’t make any sense unless you know it’s an acronym. YOLO. It may have been screamed at you at night in a city centre by some girls with skin colour resembling a terracotta warrior. You might have heard the hipsters and snapback ‘n’ vest kids shout it as they perform their latest idiotic escapade to prove they live by their own rules and have their own testicles as opposed to the rest of us. I recently tried writing it in my phone and autocorrect changed it to holocaust. I think the laughter when I noticed was slightly tempered by a sense of inevitable dread that in fact my Siri was trying it’s best to warn me, Terminator-style, of a doomed future.
So what does it mean? YOLO – You Only Live Once. Coined by Drake in his song ‘The Motto’ around the 2 minute mark http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoVg5dG6o_Q
There are 5 reasons I believe that this phrase is destroying our civilisation:
1. It’s making people scared and therefore more boring.
I live in a constant state of fear of even loosely being thought of as a Yolo’er. I tried to convince some friends to sign up for sky diving and snorkelling with sharks with me last week and they
understandably refused. Normally I would try to convince them with a subtle combination of belittling their self worth (shouting scaredy cat) and emphasising the potential benefits of changing their position (come oooon). But now I feel such a sense of paralysis at the thought of accidentally saying Yolo like some possessed Drake-ite that I fear I’ll eventually retreat into a position where I do nothing exciting ever again. All because of Drake. I hope he’s too terrified to spend any of his money and spends his days locked in a bunker with an array of soft pillows, hard helmets and guides to surviving the nuclear holocaust. I think that’s the way I’m going.
2. It’s making people more stupid.
Two of my old friends are dedicated Yolo’ers. If I didn’t have a history of friendship before Yolo with these people then I would probably have pushed one of them in a river by now. I have had the opportunity.
Not only is the phrase offensive to Cats and Buddhists but the context in which the majority of people use it is a really illogical inference. They think the fact you only live once means you have to act like a maniac.I don’t want to know how many ambulance calls have to be made purely because some moron has shouted Yolo at another moron. It leads to things like this http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/29/miami-man-eating-face-lsd because for a short sighted moment they think it’s funny. (I’m not actually suggesting that Yolo leads to face eating yet but surely it can only be a matter of time).
3. It doesn’t make sense.
As many have pointed out there is a Yolo paradox. Why do stupid things to ruin/end life if you only live once? What the phrase seems to be trying to convey is ‘Carpe Diem’ The latin for ‘seize the day’, meaning live life to the fullest. As discussed very eruditely by this high school professor at his school’s graduation ceremony you can and should live EVERY day of your life for enjoyment and good in itself not just live as there is only one day left on the planet ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lfxYhtf8o4 ) . The phrase should not be an excuse for mindless self indulgence. You should climb Kilimanjiro so that you can see the world, not so that the world can see you. The phrase should really be you live only once not you only live once. Shame it doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily to say YLOO but it would be nice if the phrase stood for selflessness and not selfishness.
4. It popularises Drake and his terrible music.
I hope to God this phrase is a craze as intense and short lived as this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tauYnVE6ykU .I dislike Drake’s music and think he’s an unfortunate progression in the terrible new wave of rappers such as Soulja Boy, Li’l Wayne, Gucci Mane etc who are helping destroy hip hop. If we’re going to have rap and hip-hop move in a new direction can it not be this one? (so awesome)
Unfortunately the current new wave of mainstream hip-hop artists seem primarily interested in bragging about all the money they have with the occasional mention of a ghetto and an array of blatant and arrogant swipes at other rappers like Ludacris who actually have some talent (even if he collaborates with Justin Bieber these days and seem to have given up on his immortal soul)
5. It leads to people in civilised society doing this…
and this (this foot is male by the way):
So please. Think. Stop Yolo’ing. Or I’ll start looking for a source of immortality so that I can make you stop.