Re: Stay Safe

1

Mimi Smartypants likes to listen to the Chicago police scanner.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 6:57 AM
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I had to do a project a few years ago which involved wandering around some particularly less-than-crime-free neighborhoods in Chicago on Google Street View noting various explicit indicators of crime that would not have been captured in crime stats. It was surprisingly easy, in a "hey, that dude who is totally failing to hide behind those bushes is smoking crack" kind of way. The best part, though, is that at an intersection noted for being particularly dangerous, some kids ran out in the street and threw a blanket over the Street View cameras. Ha ha!

Anyhow, yeah, it kinda made me feel shitty, although the ultimate purpose was a lot more noble than "saving white kids some nervousness".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 7:11 AM
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Funny enough out here in NYC we have this, which just launched. (I'm vaguely acquainted with the founders)


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 7:16 AM
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3: I feel like you might not have clicked the link in the OP.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 7:17 AM
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We need an app to tell us if clicking on OP links is safe.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 7:30 AM
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I was under the impression, based on news reports and anecdotal evidence, that the murder rate in Chicago had increased a lot since I lived there. Looking up numbers, it in fact decreased a lot.

I was recently told by a U of C professor that "the university now owns 53rd street and is shutting down every restaurant that isn't upscale to try to drive the poor people away", which he seemed very proud of. He was clearly confused about the facts, but probably not about the overall trend.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 7:31 AM
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I was under the same impression as 6. Recent reporting makes Chicago sound like a war zone.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 7:33 AM
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(He then reassured me that he has some well-to-do black neighbors and that of course it's fine if they stay in the neighborhood. Good to know, dude! That sounds not at all racist.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 7:34 AM
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Isn't it all because Obama lived there before becoming president? That is, the reporting, not the murdering.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 7:35 AM
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I didn't have a theory, but if pressed I would have said something about how the handgun ban got struck down.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 7:37 AM
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Moreso than most other cities, everything about Chicago is kind of awesome and horrible at the same time. I've walked around various Chicago neighborhoods quite a bit, and only felt endangered by the CPD.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 7:38 AM
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Chronic pulmonary disease is a big problem.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 7:39 AM
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12: But it's an AWESOME problem!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 7:39 AM
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The university is involved in at least some efforts to improve things (further south than 53rd) that will explicitly keep (some) poor people there. I don't know that their involvment in those efforts required zero community/student activism and/or pressure from the city, but anyhow they're involved now.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 7:40 AM
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This was totally Ogged's app.


Posted by: Robert Halfordo | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 7:41 AM
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Se Habla Espanol?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 7:42 AM
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6-10: I wonder if it doesn't have something to do with what extraordinary decreases in the murder rate other cities have seen? Compared to other big, rich American cities Chicago is sort of an outlier crime-wise, no?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 7:42 AM
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Hey, speaking of the University, when I went to the Seminary Coop bookstore, they had one big shelf of all the classical literature in matching editions from the same publisher. I think they were sorta blue and white? What publisher is that?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 7:44 AM
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Hackett? Oxford?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 7:47 AM
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I haven't been there for twenty years, but I remember Chicago making me nervous, coming from NY. I don't know if it was so much that crime was higher (although I heard many more mugging anecdotes at U of C than ever back home) but that I didn't feel competent to read what was going on in a sketchy area.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 7:52 AM
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17 was my impression. Also I feel like there was a ton of Chicago boosterism in the national media from like 1995-2010., so maybe they're just turning on yesterday's darling.


Posted by: Robert Hford | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 7:56 AM
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There should be an index that combines eliteness of school and abjectness of the surrounding neighborhood. I assume U of C and Yale would be the top two contenders, but maybe I'm missing some?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 7:56 AM
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Creighton is near what used to be the bad part of Omaha, but I think gentrification is happening there.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 7:59 AM
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It's elite for Nebraska.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 7:59 AM
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Presumably Columbia would have had a shot a couple of decades ago.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 7:59 AM
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I know what Nat is talking about but I can't remember the publisher.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:00 AM
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22: There was probably a time when Columbia would have been a contender, but certainly not now, and not even really when I was a teenager. Right around Columbia was sketchy, but not scary. (Morningside Park was still pretty scary -- in the late 80s Buck was a country kid working at Columbia and his boss warned him specifically not to go into the park. Now, my kids hang out there.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:01 AM
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6/8: are there any nice physicists? Other than essear.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:02 AM
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The university is involved in at least some efforts to improve things (further south than 53rd) that will explicitly keep (some) poor people there.

Ah ha! So they are trying to create a ghetto!


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:02 AM
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I thought they had sections like that for several different publishers. Like, a bunch of green and red Loeb books, and then... others.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:02 AM
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And Buck's old boss warns new employees about your kids.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:03 AM
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31 to 27. Probably.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:03 AM
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28: Lots of them! I guess I have a bad habit of only commenting on the rare not-nice things people say.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:03 AM
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USC, I guess, though god damn it the neighborhood is improving aside from the murders.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:04 AM
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I guess I'm the not-nice one, slandering the others pseudonymously on the internet.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:04 AM
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Yale's surrounding neighborhood seemed significantly worse than Hyde Park to me, but maybe it's just a fluke that I've only spent about 3 days there and on one of those days witnessed people fighting in the street.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:05 AM
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Aw, I'm sure they're doing the same to you, essear.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:05 AM
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36: I thought Hyde Park was the nice side, though. What about Woodlawn?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:07 AM
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I've never been to Hyde Park or Connecticut (except Stamford). We should keep this conversation focused on places like Omaha that people are likely to be familiar with.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:07 AM
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40

18: Everyman's Library?


Posted by: protoplasm | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:09 AM
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38: There was always kind of a big buffer in between since I never had much reason to cross the Midway when I was there, but I guess the university has been expanding a bit to the south.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:09 AM
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Johns Hopkins maybe. Only been there once and years ago so maybe it's all gentrified all round it now.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:09 AM
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I think U of C, when I was there, may have been unusually aggressive about its immediate neighborhood (in a terribly racist kind of way). Right around the campus, maybe north to 51st? (east to the lake, south to the Midway, and I don't remember the western boundary), was very patrolled by the campus police, and while there was still a lot of mugging, it didn't feel particularly scary. Walk a block over the line, and the neighborhood was entirely, disturbingly different. I don't know Yale, but maybe it doesn't do that kind of defending its perceived territory.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:10 AM
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42: At least the areas to the north and east seem pretty harmless to me; I haven't been in the other directions. But the campus there also seems notably less well-integrated into its surroundings than most other urban campuses I know; you sort of walk through some gates and up a big hill or through a long tree-lined stretch to get anywhere, right?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:12 AM
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35: You were very nice about my childhood friend when you realized you knew her. As far as I can tell she's still a decent person as well as a physicist.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:12 AM
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46

I went to Bar/nard in the early '90s and it always amazes me how much things have changed around Columbia since then.

I don't think Pe/nn has been as successful at gentrifying the surrounding neighborhood, but I hear it was much worse in the 70s/80s/before I saw it.


Posted by: pasdquoi | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:13 AM
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Ooh, Hopkins. How are UPenn and Drexel's neighborhoods?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:13 AM
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42: The area around the Homewood campus has certainly improved since the 90s. The neighborhood around the Medical school is still quite sketchy, though.

Even at Homewood, you don't have to go too far south before things get not so great.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:13 AM
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47 not pwned so much as pre-answered.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:14 AM
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The only kind of odd thing about visiting JHU which may reflect somehow on the neighborhood is that they usually put me up in some old apartment building instead of a hotel, and it seems like most of the residents there are really old and the furnishings are kind of shabby, so it feels like you're checking into a nursing home or something.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:17 AM
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50: I know that building! That's where I stayed when I was interviewing for grad school. It is kind of an odd choice for putting up guests. I suppose it's cheaper than a real hotel.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:20 AM
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43:

As a data point, my daughter's apartment is in what I would have called Woodlawn, South of Washington Park, near the 37 post office. She says there are call-boxes an UofC police, so the liveable student space has migrated South and West. With the scale of gentrification, it would have to have.

In my day people blamed Julian Levi, law professor and big brother of Edward, for the massive urban renewal the University undertook in the sixties & seventies, but the process had its serious defenders among people I respected. Michael Harrington's memoir of bohemian life in the neighborhood in the late 40s was my gauge of what had been lost, but I was used to Dresden-like urban renewal from Columbus and took it in stride.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:21 AM
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Related, linking since it hasn't gotten near the publicity the opposite verdict would have (rightly, but still): the dog wasn't racist in the night-time, and Renisha McBride's killer was duly convicted.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:27 AM
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46: I looked at Barnard. The Freshmen (first years?) are really protected there. I couldn't have handled the neighborhood when I was 18. It wasn't that it felt dangerous. At that age the sensory stimulation of most of New York was just overwhelming to me.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:30 AM
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Chicago has always (for a long time, anyway, since Prohibition era at least) been an outlier among very large cities for crime. The reporting on the current crime rates has been unusually horrendous. I have been wondering whether Emmanuel forgot to bribe Trib reporters or something. Front page news every Monday is how many shootings over the weekend. Guess it beats the 90s when there were too many to bother with individual events.

35: I keep waiting for the awful physicist story where I recognize my father, but he just retired, so I think I'm safe. I mean, I don't think he's awful, but he might come off that way.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:34 AM
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47: Drexel and UPenn aren't too bad (that I noticed, anyway). It's not very residential, and a lot of the previously empty buildings are now research incubators immediately nearby. Not sure about outside that area, but it seemed fairly nice when I was there.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:38 AM
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Okay, I guess I need to start consciously starting to tell nice stories about people.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:41 AM
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40: No, I think they were exclusively paperbacks.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:43 AM
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I was googling around for something related to Saul Alinsky's part in fighting against the U of C's gentrification efforts mentioned in 52.2 and came upon Hillary Clinton's undergrad thesis. Wheels within wheels, man.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:43 AM
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I liked New Haven and thought the city was improving. This was in the late 90s and early 00s and I haven't been back since.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:44 AM
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54: I went to Bar/nard mainly because it was in NYC, but I did feel overwhelmed at times. I think most of my problems there stemmed from the fact that I had very little money, and it was hard to fit in both on campus and in NYC in general. I always had the sense that I was missing out due to lack of time (working) or money.

56: Right around both campuses is not bad at all. The "sketchy" neighborhoods are west of @ 40th Street, and north, too, maybe?


Posted by: pasdquoi | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:46 AM
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Isn't Temple pretty awful in the forced-gentrification-of-surrounding-neighborhood stakes?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:48 AM
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Pepperdine probably wins the flip side contest (elite area/abject school). That one's harder.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:48 AM
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When I first visited UofC about 6 or 7 years ago, the area south of the Midway was just beginning to be gentrified, for one or two blocks worth. We stayed in a B&B there which was lovely but were told that a block or so south of it wasn't very safe. More recently UofC has been building just south of the Midway (even dorms, IIRC), but nothing south of 61st (allegedly by some sort of agreement with the neighborhoods that dates back many years).

Hyde Park always felt safe to me, but of course it was full of cops warning you away from Obama's house.

All of the UofC area except the actual campus has a lot of non-whites, but that's by no means a useful definition of "sketchy," unless you are a racist.

All the somewhat funky restaurants near UofC are indeed dying. I remember whining about that when it happened to Harvard Square.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:49 AM
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I was at UPenn for an intensive summer language program in the early 90s. There were muggings and an attempted rape on my street that had me bolting out of the sublet I was staying at to intervene in the very early AM hours. I can't recall the address though.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:52 AM
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54: Oh, and at early-90s Bar/nard, it was definitely "first-years." I still use it that term reflexively even though no one else seems to here.

62: I have heard Tem/ple described as a "war zone," but I've never been there.


Posted by: pasdquoi | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:53 AM
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More recently UofC has been building just south of the Midway (even dorms, IIRC)

B-J has been there for decades.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:54 AM
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All the somewhat funky restaurants near UofC are indeed dying.

Presumably Valois will remain, if nothing else.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:55 AM
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Really? Man, my memory is shot to hell, but I didn't know that. Maybe I didn't know anyone who lived in B-J. Coming in as a transfer, my sense of dorm life was weak.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:56 AM
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63: ooh, that's definitely trickier, but Pepperdine is a strong contender. There has to be someplace in Hawaii, right?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:57 AM
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The first thee google hits for "see your food", no quotation marks, all pertain to Valois.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:58 AM
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What do you know, there it is right by the Law School (where I certainly spent enough time going to the movies). I must have been thinking of a different dorm.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:59 AM
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There should be an index that combines eliteness of school and abjectness of the surrounding neighborhood. I assume U of C and Yale would be the top two contenders, but maybe I'm missing some?

Is College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine at the bottom of the list?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:01 AM
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74

Snell-Hitchcock, maybe?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:02 AM
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73 gets the flip side!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:02 AM
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67: Yup. There is a new residence hall south of B-J and a grad student residence (at 60th and Kimbark) that might be new.

68: ... and the new-ish version of Medici, and a few others. There's a whole new shopping center-esque development going in on 55th, IIRC, which lots of chain stuff: Five Guys, Chipotle, etc. (Probably done by now, I haven't been there in a year or two.)


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:02 AM
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And the dorm I lived in my first year, Max Mason, appears to be no more. That always seemed kind of lousy to me, putting all the transfer students in the same dorm, a longish walk off campus. Way to integrate us into campus life, guys!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:04 AM
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74: I think Snitchcock has been there forever. Unless I'm mistaken it's the UofC version of MIT's Senior House (or at least the old version of Senior House).


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:05 AM
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At least according to the statistics I've been able to find with a quick google search, Baltimore still has Chicago beat by a comfortable margin in terms of (per capita) violent crime.

Go Charm City!


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:05 AM
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77: They want to maximize their chances of getting laid at least once in their college careers. Once you are on the U of C campus, surrounded by U of C students, the chances drop to zero.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:06 AM
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66: 62: I have heard Tem/ple described as a "war zone,"

A friend of mine transferred out of there to a much crummier (IMO) school after witnessing a shooting one evening.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:08 AM
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I'm hoping Chicago crime gets bad enough that the Freakonomics guy gets mugged.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:09 AM
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77: Shoreland was even further away, right on the lake, but they converted (are converting?) it into condos.

80: They used to say that about MIT, too, with some of the same jokes. I don't think it's true of either school any more.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:10 AM
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82: I'm hoping Chicago crime gets bad enough that the Freakonomics guy entire department of Economics gets mugged.

FTFY.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:14 AM
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76.2: That's 53rd. Also a hipstery looking place called "Porkchop" with not-so-good Yelp reviews, an Asian fusion place called "Chant", and a Hyatt Place hotel. 55th looks mostly the same, although there was a pho place I didn't remember.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:14 AM
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72: They had movies at the Law School? Was Doc Films there before it was in Ida Noyes?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:16 AM
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Although maybe this line in one of the Yelp reviews is unintentionally revealing:

When I first walked into the restaurant and saw Teresa [a waitress] I knew I'd return to Pork Chop no matter what just because of her butt now I'm happy to report that I plan on returning also because of the food.

Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:19 AM
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gets bad enough that the Freakonomics guy gets mugged

Martha Nussbaum was, walking across the Midway, and of course wrote about it.

Once you are on the U of C campus, surrounded by U of C students, the chances drop to zero

I've testified before, that my experience was the opposite. Perhaps I was relatively less nerdy in that context than I had been in Columbus, but the bigger factor was that the girl had a fighting chance of knowing what I was talking about, and therefore not concluding I was from Mars.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:20 AM
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The law school had its own movie club -- Doc Films was recent movies, mostly, but the law school movies were old black and whites. I can't remember the name; I'm coming up with LSC, but of course that's MIT, not U of C.

83.2: My sense was that U of C had MIT beat for grim sexlessness when I was an undergrad, but that may have been an artifact of my personal experiences.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:22 AM
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movies at the Law School? Was Doc Films there before it was in Ida Noyes?

Different series. Really nice auditorium, saw beatiful prints of 30s movies there, like Preston Sturges.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:23 AM
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Hey, speaking of the University, when I went to the Seminary Coop bookstore, they had one big shelf of all the classical literature in matching editions from the same publisher. I think they were sorta blue and white? What publisher is that?

Sounds like the Bristol Classical Press design. Like so?

These were the editions we used most often when I was studying Latin.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:26 AM
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92

I took a bus through Holyoke, Mass not too long ago, so I'm going to say Mount Holyoke.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:26 AM
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93

The term "sketchy" has racist connotations at least 90% of the time. Is that enough to ban it?


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:27 AM
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92: Mount Holyoke isn't in Holyoke, MA.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:30 AM
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I feel like MIT now is as likely to be crazy furry designer drug arduino nerd orgy as it is to be grim sexlessness.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:31 AM
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This thread demands that I tell this story, but I've told it before -- probably more than once.

http://www.unfogged.com/archives/comments_9625.html#993393


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:32 AM
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93: Do you think it does? I'd take it as a fairly straightforward synonym for "person/situation/neighborhood which makes me a bit nervous". That's very susceptible to being used in a racist way -- like, above, when I called the neighborhood around Columbia in the eighties as sketchy but not scary, I was thinking of it as a lot of poor people, badly maintained buildings, insufficient garbage pickup, and so on, but of course in NY all those things also go with being a black or Latino neighborhood. But I can't think of a usage of 'sketchy' where I'd assume a racial valence if I didn't have context supporting it -- that is, I can't imagine 'sketchy' provoking a double-take when I realized the referent was white.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:37 AM
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Mount Holyoke isn't in Holyoke, MA.

Meh. Close enough that the bus drove past it on the way in.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:38 AM
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98: by your definition Hartford is in NYC.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:39 AM
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Which is to say Holyoke (and Chicopee, and Springfield) is a pretty depressed post-industrial city that is also quite small in extent and surrounded by a ton of bucolic countryside, in which Mount Holoke is situated.

If Clark wasn't a shitty school it could compete.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:40 AM
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Some buses avoid Hartford on the way to NYC. Wouldn't you?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:42 AM
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That is, a post-industrial city that is to some degree depressed, not a post-industrial city that is both pretty and depressed, urple.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:42 AM
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Why did the pretty post-industrial city depress urple? And did the city depress him emotionally, or sort of physically squish him down into the ground?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:48 AM
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Also, you've got an extra comma in there. You should write more clearly -- maybe hyphens would help?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:51 AM
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Hyphens are unnecessary; it is much more parsimonious to follow a Teutonic concatenation rule. When we talk about depressedurples or prettyguysguykindofguys, you'll understand it without issue.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:54 AM
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97: I agree with your "very susceptible to being used in a racist way." And I think the term is mostly used by white people. So in practice, yeah, I think 90%. Probably not among the enlightened unfoggetariat, of course. The problem is, it does have a very useful non-racist meaning, and I don't know if there's a good replacement. Particularly because any replacement would probably quickly take on the same white-people-uncomfortable-around-minorities usage.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:54 AM
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106 beat me to it. I don't see how any word occupying roughly the same place as "sketchy" wouldn't quickly acquire racist connotations in much of its use.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:55 AM
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93: That's "gritty", not "sketchy".


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:59 AM
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That other word will temporarily serve as a shibboleth for real true liberals and thus has value for the sanctimonious.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 9:59 AM
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One could say "a neighborhood that makes me nervous". A bit more cumbersome, but also more accurate.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:00 AM
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While Mt. Holyoke is in a town next to depressing, possibly crime-ridden Holyoke, MA, it doesn't rate on this list - it's not surrounded at all at the campus level, and only bordering less-nice places, not surrounded, at the town level.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:01 AM
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But that'd be precisely as susceptible to racist use. That is, if the listener puts their finger to their nose, looks wise, and nods, understanding that you're nervous because of the non-white people, racist communication has happened just as it would have if you said 'sketchy'. In either case, the listener could say "what's sketchy about it" or "why does it make you nervous", and disrupt the coded communication, but the wording doesn't help or hinder.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:03 AM
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Although now that I think of it (after reading 105), "teutonic" might work. It would both insult the Germans and discourage the usual quasi-racist usage through cognitive dissonance.

"After all the storefronts closed that neighborhood started looking pretty teutonic."


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:03 AM
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106: I feel like there is a very common, and useful, additional meaning among the lady-bros which is "harass-y guy". It seems like, as you say, white people are the problem rather than any particular adjective. Also, it beats "ghetto" by a mile.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:04 AM
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Doesn't owning the emotional response rather than ascribing it to the neighborhood mitigate that somewhat?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:07 AM
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"Ratchet" seems to have some of the meaning I would use "sketchy" for, but I don't have a solid enough grasp of the connotations to use it myself without fear of being tragically wrong or offensive.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:09 AM
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102: 100 was perfectly clear.

(Serious question: was I the only person confused by Sifu's phrasing in the other thread?)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:09 AM
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114 is right. Also I think I heard the term used a bunch of times to describe certain hostels and trains in Europe about 15 years ago.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:11 AM
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Yes, that confusion was just you.

(More on 'ratchet' -- I'd love to know if the etymology is from 'wretched' or from 'rat shit', either of which seems possible, or if there's some connection I don't understand to ratchet as in wrench.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:11 AM
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WHAT IF WE CHANGED IT TO SCRAPPY LIKE SCRAPPY WHITE BALLPLAYER OR SCRAPPY DOO NEIGHBORHOOD?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:13 AM
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That wasn't supposed to be all caps.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:14 AM
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I'd never heard of "ratchet" as anything other than a mechanical device until reading comment 116. Google, however, informs me that it is indeed an established piece of slang.

LB is apparently much better at keeping up with the Kids These Days than I am.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:14 AM
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119.1: that seems implausible, and anyway I don't think you've done the survey work necessary to state this so authoritatively. Let's let the other commenters speak for themselves.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:14 AM
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LB does after all have kids.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:16 AM
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The Kids These Days infest my living quarters, spend my hard-earned money, and pester me beyond my patience (and admittedly cook me dinner and are affectionate and snuggly, although occasionally in a way that's rather like being mauled by adolescent lion cubs). I should at least get some insight into current slang from them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:17 AM
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I disagree strongly with ratchet/sketchy overlap. Ratchet pretty explicitly replaces ghetto as a descriptor of behavior. I'm having a hard time imagining a location being described as ratchet, though its decor certainly could be.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:18 AM
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"the university now owns 53rd street and is shutting down every restaurant that isn't upscale to try to drive the poor people away"

Nooooooo not Rajun Cajun! (I know the traditional thing to get misty about is Valois but I was never that into it.)


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:20 AM
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126: Yeah. I get my info from the DE's kid and his friends. "Ratchet" is for people, not places.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:21 AM
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I'd agree that it's a pretty close synonym for ghetto (which is basically why I don't use it). And you're also right that it would sound weird describing a location -- mostly, I hear it describing someone looking unkempt in a disreputable kind of way (usually Sally talking about what's wrong with her hair on any given occasion).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:21 AM
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(More on 'ratchet' -- I'd love to know if the etymology is from 'wretched' or from 'rat shit', either of which seems possible, or if there's some connection I don't understand to ratchet as in wrench.)

If urbandictionary can be trusted on etymology, the word is "a horrific mispronunciation of 'wretched'".


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:21 AM
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Rajun Cajun is/was so great.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:22 AM
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Ratchet of the earth.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:22 AM
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What I was thinking is that a location with a lot of ratchet-looking people hanging around is probably one I'd call sketchy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:23 AM
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"Ghetto" is used for places, tho.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:24 AM
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I've heard the "wretched" claim and that it's from Louisiana makes that maybe plausible accent-wise. This 2012 article on sources of the word ends with a prediction that in 5 years white girls will be using it to describe their hair, so.... (It also links to the comprehensive Ratchet Girl Anthem, which I know I've linked to before, possibly when Apo was smanging.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:24 AM
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I assume U of C and Yale would be the top two contenders, but maybe I'm missing some?

Columbia in the 90s? I'm just pretending there aren't like 100 comments I haven't read yet in which I'm definitely pwned.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:25 AM
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I mean, "though". And places in addition to people. Unless TKTD only use ghetto for people now.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:25 AM
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135: Sally's always been ahead of the curve (and is somewhat socially confused about her ethnic identification.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:28 AM
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This post and video make a pretty convincing case that "ratchet" is from "ratchet wrench." And this is fucked up and racist and stupid and fuck that guy, whoever he is.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:29 AM
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135: I believe it is I who introduced the blog to smanging.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:32 AM
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I apologize, nosflow. You guys all look alike.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:34 AM
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On the blog, all cats are grey.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:36 AM
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Anyway, I think I only use "sketchy" for white guys where "skeevy" would also work or talk about a sketchy situation as one where something bad seemed truly about to happen. I wouldn't personally use "ratchet" either in its negative form or as it's supposedly being reclaimed and rehabilitated because I think it's sexist and classist, but it's mostly going to be applied to women or gay men of color or just poverty-related making-do in general.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:36 AM
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91: Yes, I think that's it!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:37 AM
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I blew the sale with my all caps, but I really like "scrappy" for a bad neighborhood description. It's accurate -- you might get into a fight! But it's also upbeat, positive, in a David Eckstein way. "Hey that guy mugged me! No hard feelings, what a scrapper."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:42 AM
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Another use of "sketchy" for people.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:42 AM
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Rajun Cajun is/was so great.

I had a dreadful but funny gay Lithuanian acquaintance who deliberately referred to it as ruh-JOON cuh-JOON and now I always think of it that way.

What was the deal with Valois? I always felt like U of C kids loved it for down-with-the-gente reasons. It was otherwise basically a sub-par diner breakfast with fewer options.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:45 AM
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DBFGLA in 147.1 also spoke about himself in the third person.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:46 AM
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If you don't think sketchy often refers to places with sketchy white people, you clearly don't live somewhere with a meth problem.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:48 AM
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When I was recently in Hyde Park, at dinner one night I overheard a conversation among a young African-American couple on a date at the next table who at one point were describing someone and the guy said "well, she's just, well..." and the woman said "yes?" and the guy said "I don't want to say the word, but you know what I mean" and the woman said "yeah, she is that" or something along those lines, and (knowing the word only because of Thorn's comments here sometime in the past) I kept wondering if "ratchet" was the mystery word that would fill in the blank, because my sense of its meaning would fit with their previous remarks, but I'll have to remain forever uncertain. Which means I've still only heard the word via Thorn.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:53 AM
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among? between.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:53 AM
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A friend of mine, a year or so after graduating from the U of C, told me one day "I just realized it's not Ragin' Cajun! It's actually Rajun!"


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:55 AM
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What role is "one day" playing in that sentence?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:55 AM
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I'm going to keep posting comments and then complaining about them.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:55 AM
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153: I believe it's functioning as a temporal adverb.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:57 AM
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Preterite marker!


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:58 AM
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53
and Renisha McBride's killer was duly convicted.

This bit of that article jumped out at me.

Family of Renisha McBride: "Justice was served today... [Ted Wafer] is a cold blooded killer." @Fox2News pic.twitter.com/4uGPOG3XR8 -- Erika Erickson (@FOX2Erika) August 7, 2014

Note the name. I can't decide which possibility is most entertaining: that Erick Erickson is exploring his feminine side, or that people from families so strongly Germanic/Scandinavian that their names actually have to repeat themselves just happen to gravitate to Fox.

93
The term "sketchy" has racist connotations at least 90% of the time. Is that enough to ban it?

I've definitely used it and heard it used to describe white people and predominantly white places. I get that anecdotes aren't data, particularly anecdotes about racial issues from a Vermonter, but still.

110
One could say "a neighborhood that makes me nervous". A bit more cumbersome, but also more accurate.

The meanings aren't the same though, at least not the way I'd use them. I didn't feel nervous most places I'd describe as "sketchy." I guess some people might have, but in some cases, not reasonably.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 10:59 AM
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If I were playing fill-in-the-blank with the conversation in 150, I can think of at least two terms which a polite man would be hesitant utter aloud to describe a woman, even if the shoe fit, and neither term is "ratchet".


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 11:00 AM
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I'm not saying she's a Craftsman ratchet, but I don't see her without a quality, chrome plated socket attached.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 11:03 AM
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Yeah, I don't think anyone who'd want to use 'ratchet' would hesitate to use it; it's not a dirty word. If you wanted to express the same thing politely, it'd be easy to use politer vocabulary.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 11:03 AM
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just happen to gravitate to Fox

Fox 2 News Detroit, in this case.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 11:03 AM
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158: But the context didn't seem to suggest those.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 11:06 AM
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143: "Skeevy" strikes me as an admirably non-racist pejorative. But that may vary regionally.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 11:07 AM
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Oh great, this again.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 11:08 AM
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I'm more in favor of this military operation than just about any other one from my adulthood.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 11:18 AM
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People and things that are sketchy, not in a racist "black neighborhood" sense:

1. Illegal taxis aggressively soliciting fares

2. This B&B in the middle of damn nowhere in Puerto Rico where the owner unexpectedly demanded payment in cash (like $600 or something), told us not to go near his office or the dog would maul us, alluded repeatedly to his "volunteers," and bragged at breakfast that he owned the smallest import/export company in North America.

4. The unmarked van that drives you across the tarmac at O'Hare to the teeny-tiny planes

5. My neighbor who has various nervous-looking and demographically surprising visitors at all hours (drug dealer? fence? amateur pornographer? not sure, but definitely sketchy)


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 11:20 AM
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145: Sorry, but "scrappy" AND "gritty" are registered trademarks of the New England Patriots.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 11:21 AM
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I think I have mostly used "sketchy" to refer to things like drug deals/dealers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 11:23 AM
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145: I'm not sure how I feel about substituting "scrappy" for "sketchy". I think because it sounds so strange when done in reverse:

"It's a movie about a rag tag band of sketchy underdogs who manage to succeed against the odds."


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 11:25 AM
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If you can see one check-cashing store or pawn shop from the front door of another check-cashing store or pawn shop, the street is sketchy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 11:26 AM
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If the area has sufficiently curved streets, it can't be sketchy by definition.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 11:26 AM
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3. The B&B owner described in 166.2


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 11:27 AM
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People who draw pictures of you without asking and then ask you to buy them: scrappy.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 11:28 AM
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I went to Bar/nard in the early '90s and it always amazes me how much things have changed around Columbia since then.

A friend of mine went to grad school at Columbia starting in 1998. She bought a condo near the campus when she started, and sold it when she graduated 8 years later. $$$$$!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 11:38 AM
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OT: In my travels through God's creation, I have seen many odd things, but I never expected to see a Subaru wearing a bumper sticker announcing the owner's Robert Ludlum fandom. Who hungers to advertise his (I assume) regard for The Matarese Circle in particular? And why? Why on earth?

I wish I'd gotten a picture.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 11:46 AM
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175: whoa


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 11:48 AM
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176: Right? The most likely explanation is pre-production chaff from the now-foundered movie adaptation, but still.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 11:51 AM
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The Subaru Appliqué.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 11:54 AM
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That wasn't one of the better ones.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 11:55 AM
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179 to 178 and 175.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 11:55 AM
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When using Wikipedia to refresh my memory as to which book that was, I learned that a movie was supposed to have been made but that things fell through in 2010. Maybe it was about that. Denzel Washington, Tom Cruise, and David Cronenberg were attached.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 11:57 AM
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Was TMC the one where a protagonist was codenamed "Beowulf Agate"? If so:

Hrothgar Feldspar
Galahad Chert
Quetzalcoatl Flint
Ishtar Magma
Jimmu Igneous
Rama Granite
and so on


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 12:03 PM
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150: I'm going to disagree with LB again, I think because she's used to talking to NYC teens and I'm getting my take from midwestern black 20/30somethings, but I absolutely think the guy would have started to say "ratchet" or something similar and then thought, "Wait, what if she doesn't know that and I have to explain what I mean? Or what if she thinks it's racist/sexist/classist?" and then trailed off. In more middle-class or mixed-race contexts I've heard people drop their voices to say it more surreptitiously. It's considered basically ratchet to call people ratchet (see the song I linked above, basically) and so sometimes people want to signify that they're using it semi-ironically or at least with self-awareness.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 12:09 PM
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Wait, what if she doesn't know that and I have to explain what I mean?

I completely missed when it was explained here, so I'd think this would be a concern.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 12:12 PM
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Rama Granite must be sad because whenever he says his codename people think he's talking about a fruit.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 12:13 PM
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Oh, I can see that -- sort of a code-switching issue, where the speaker is a little uncertain about which code they want to be using.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 12:17 PM
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This is a hilarious screed against "ratched," that thinks it's being knowingly fuddy-duddy, but still managed to miss the point.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 12:27 PM
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Also, if it's in the Sun-Times, it's not cool anymore.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 12:27 PM
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187-8 to 139.2.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 12:29 PM
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Teach me to read a thread backward. Guess how I feel!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 12:42 PM
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Like a ratchet?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 12:45 PM
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190: You may want to head over to the ocsicnarf thread.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 12:49 PM
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Care to invest in my hedge fund, Flip?


Posted by: Galahad Chert | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 1:13 PM
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WALKING DOWN THE ROAD WITH A RATCHET IN YOUR WASTE JOHNNY YOU'RE TOO BAD


Posted by: OPINIONATED THE SLICKERS | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 1:28 PM
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183: The Kid and his friends, a real rainbow coalition of too many factors to list here, use "ratchet" all the time. I get the impression it isn't terribly loaded, at least on the Left Coast, it's just another way of saying "beneath me".


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 1:32 PM
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Ironic considering the uses for ratchets.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 1:33 PM
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My sense of how "ratchet" is used by under-25 y/o poor and working-class people of color in Philadelphia seems to be relatively gently pejorative, more a vivid descriptor than outright insulting.

I don't often hear it used by anyone else, although I have the vague sense that hipster white people would view it as trendy and hipster black people would view it as trashy.

I did get on the (otherwise very clean) regional rail train the other day to see a trail of sunflower-seed debris all over the floor. I did an amazed double take, and exchanged shocked eyebrow-raising with the senior-citizen African American couple sitting across, as the female half of the couple looked meaningfully at the sketchy white guy who has just exited the train. I said, loud enough for them to hear, "No home training, I see."

I use "sketchy" often in talking to other women about a man who is creepy. I don't often use it in mixed company or when referring to a place, because people do seem to assume there is a racial component to it.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 2:25 PM
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|| Show of hands: does anyone think the people in charge have even the first fucking clue what they're doing in bombing Iraq again? |>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 3:11 PM
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Probably not. I mean, I don't know what they should be doing enough to be certain that this is a bad idea, but the odds that it's a good one seem very low.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 3:16 PM
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This is the first time I've ever heard of this 'ratchet' slang.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 3:25 PM
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197 & 114: I think I first heard it applied to a creepy guy, only later to a neighborhood or "ratchet" person.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 3:41 PM
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My sense of the word is what L. describes at 166. In fact, I think I first heard it describe an offer that sounded like a scam. So it could be sketchy (originally)=lacking detail and thus best avoided.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 5:18 PM
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I had never heard of ratchet, either. Still not too clear on its meaning.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 5:32 PM
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Apparently it just means hoochie mama.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 5:39 PM
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I still haven't figured out if `ratchet' describes something it's unacceptable to say, or if it's an unacceptable way to say something `everyone' is OK with saying.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 5:39 PM
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Thorn is the person who first brought "ratchet" to my attention, though I've since read it elsewhere. Many people I know use 'sketchy' to refer to creepy guys, most notably in the case of this one academic we've un officially banned from our regional academic conference, who we all refer to Sketchy McSketcherson.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 5:45 PM
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205: I am not the authority here, obviously. But my sense is that what the word means as I've seen it used is untidy/unkempt/shabby/otherwise visibly lower-class/particularly lower class black. So, kind of classist, at a minimum, and used across racial lines, with real potential for being racist. "Ghetto" is a pretty good substitute, with the same problems.

But not necessarily offensive - if the speaker and audience are appropriate, it might not be any worse than saying someone 'looked like hell', or something like that. Sally and her friends (mostly Dominican or other Latino) use it that way indifferently of anyone in their peer group. It's maybe a little less racially weighted than 'ghetto', I think, but don't hold me to it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 5:55 PM
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What 149 said. "Sketchy" is so not a racial term. I think I've even used it to describe animals. We're up in Yellowstone until the 16th and today some of those bison were definitely on the sketchy side.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 6:46 PM
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Never heard ratchet outside of unfogged. Checked with Jammies and he hadn't either. So we are conclusively out of touch with the teens.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 6:51 PM
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I always thought the rule was the guy had to die within a year and a day.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 6:58 PM
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198: which is a change how? Iraq has been a continuous series of policy fuck ups since the 70s at least, last count.


Posted by: Sheik Yerbouti | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 7:50 PM
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Shark officially jumped: http://lastbestnews.com/site/2014/08/petition-pushes-the-dude-for-montana-senator/


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 7:53 PM
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I've never heard "ratchet" used in person, but I have seen it many places on the internet aside from Unfogged.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:16 PM
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Sketchy means questionable in my aged argot.
Ratchet I heard first wrt bball stuff, and I believe they were using it in the "he's so BAD" way (I.e., "that move was amazing")


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 08- 8-14 8:39 PM
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Bewildering, from NY Magazine

Like that last one, the term is sometimes used by young gay men in a complimentary context, something akin to "hot mess."

That's complimentary?

For Ian Bradley, a stylist and NYC nightlife maven, the word has quickly past its due date in gay culture. "The word is hella last year," he says. "The ones who say it are the ones who are ratchet."

Stop trying to make ratchet no longer not be happening!

And the article is from April 2013. Needless to say, I had never heard of it.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 08- 9-14 9:03 AM
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211 -- It's not binary; there are degrees of fucking up. This "long term project" is full of known knowns.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08- 9-14 10:27 AM
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126, 128 "Ratchet" is for people, not places.
Unlike, say, Essex.


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 08- 9-14 2:41 PM
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The word is hella last year

And "hella" is hella, what, 1993?


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 08- 9-14 3:07 PM
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What's wrong with being Essexy?


Posted by: Nigel Tufnel | Link to this comment | 08- 9-14 3:08 PM
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"hella" is wicked timeless.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08- 9-14 3:16 PM
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219, Essex girl in context ( 2001 ):
The Essex girl's existence and her style make nonsense of the Labour rhetoric about "social exclusion".
She does not see herself as outside society; she sees herself as belonging to the real world of family
loyalty, sexual unpredictability, underemployment and petty crime, and the Blairs as pious,
condescending and self-deluding.


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 08- 9-14 7:23 PM
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The new (to me anyway) season of Sherlock is very different from the first two. It's annoying me a bit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 9-14 7:27 PM
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Dear Siri etymological explainer, trace from hood rat chick to ratchet.


Posted by: Econolicious, Slate Plus trial subsriber | Link to this comment | 08- 9-14 7:48 PM
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Ok, this is great: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/dc-news-crew-robbed-while-reporting-on-sketchy-neighborhoods/


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-10-14 9:00 PM
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Creighton is near what used to be the bad part of Omaha

That would be the beach.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-11-14 2:40 AM
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