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The Grammar Fuzz: The Hollywood Lexicon


A blogumn by Kasey Bomber

Oh Hollywood.  How I love walking down your star-embedded sidewalks on a Sunday afternoon.  I can entertain myself with all my favorite games – i.e.:  Bluetooth or Schizophrenic?  Hip or Homeless? and Gay or European?  I might get a slice of pizza, mingle with las turistas, and wonder at the fact that people from all over the world save up for a lifetime to visit a place with far more cheap T-Shirt shops than celebrities.  And if those celebrities are in fact within spitting distance of the transvestite shoe stores, the Armenian suit shops, or the hip hop-booming tacky electronics stores that smell like the 6 sticks of nag champa they have burning in the window, they are probably holed up in some restaurant/lounge that wouldn’t let a tourist inside if said tourist owned the whole of Eastern Kentucky – mostly because the celebrities have to eat fast before that restaurant spontaneously becomes another soon-to-fail trendy restaurant overnight.

But the magazines tell us that not only are celebrities teeming in the streets of greater Hollywood, but also that they might be “just like us!”  Hey, look, Cameron Diaz goes to a laundromat!  Wow!  Leonardo DiCaprio just ordered his 6th latte of the week!  Hey, guess what, Julia Roberts shits out more than just kids!

And speaking of kids, we come to my latest pet peeve in today’s gossip magazine lexicon:  the baby bump.  Lest you need clarification, a baby bump is officially the new term indicating pregnancy.  As in: “Is that a baby bump we spy on J-Lo?”  or “New Dresses to Accentuate Your Baby Bump Because Pregnant is the New Rehab.”  Under no uncertain circumstances should the baby bump be confused with “lovely lady lumps” which seem to be something that Fergie has growing in her pants that make her pee herself on stage.

But where does this baby bump business get off anyway?  I remember not too long ago when celebrities felt obligated to keep their baby producing a nice respectable secret.  Maybe it was that damn Vanity Fair cover where Demi Moore posed naked, pregnant and “beautiful” for all the world to see?  Despite all my research into the matter, the root of evil for the term “baby bump” remains elusive.  According to the Urban Dictionary, the following definitions of “baby bump” seem to be the most prevalent (and hilarious):

1. The protruding abdominal bump from a woman’s stomach when she becomes noticeably pregnant.

2. A shameless shirt marketing campaign to capitalize upon the notification that a woman – usually teenager – has become pregnant.

2a. A shirt with the words “baby bump” in the style of excessive bling, indicating that the young woman wearing it is probably promiscuous in nature and wishes to inform the community of this social practice.

3. An annoying term used by the media to say someone is pregnant.

1. – “Tracy said she’s pregnant, check out that baby bump.”

2. – “Gina purchased her new Baby Bump shirt at Wal-Mart”

2a – “There goes Tammy wearing her Baby Bump shirt and I can’t say I’m surprised as much as she gets around.”

I particularly enjoy the integration of another of my least favorite Hollywood-generated nonsense terms, “bling,” into definition number 2a.  The suggestion that the baby bump is now the new celebrity “bling” – something to be worn like a Rolex to a premiere and compared ad nauseum to others’ display of the same – is shamelessly hilarious.  Giving cutesy nicknames for stretch-mark-causing pregnant bellies is just one more step in advocating the new Hollywood trend toward collecting children as though they were Hummers and hot tubs.

Gone are the days when celebrities hit the town in Bentleys and furs (unless you are P.Diddy that’s just tacky…), nowadays it’s all about the Prius and the rugrats.  Julia Roberts has three children with her sperm donor…er, husband.  The two-headed monster, Brangelina, have a variety six pack of brats of such wildly varying ethnicities that one is forced to wonder if they aren’t possibly playing the world’s most fucked up game of road trip bingo.

But really, my issue is less about the disgusting trend of children as an accessory, as it is about this cutesy integration of all this horrible gossip magazine terminology into everyday conversation.  I recall back many years ago when there was a push to recognize Ebonics as a culturally valid patiois.  Critics of the recognition suggested that Ebonics was merely a bastardization of English perpetrated by those suffering from a lack of sufficient education.  Arguments for the other side recognized Ebonics as a language of its own that was developed out of the need to communicate a different urban, cultural historical experience.  Honestly, I’m inclined to side more with the latter opinion on this, however, as is always the way, the Hollywood machine via US Magazine (credited by the as the first source of “baby bump” in the USA) and the Enquirer have co-opted, rearranged, and sucked dry any urban credibility in some of the refugees of this language, and made it not only its own, but also disturbing and annoying.

I read the following sentence once in People magazine:

“Christina blings out her baby bump while her baby daddy kicks it in the car.”

Umm…WHAT!??  English please motherfuckers.  No doubt, some white college guy sat at a computer and wrote this sentence with a completely straight face.  “Baby Daddy” is officially the worst distortion of proper grammar I can think of, and if this sentence alone were found in a time capsule in the year 3000 I can only imagine that people might wonder why the hell a child had a baby and then administered kicks to it in the car.  Yeah, whatever…

But not only is the gossip media the purveyors of such atrocities as the celebrity contraction (Bennifer…REALLY!??  I mean…really!), but by referring to an expecting mother as someone sporting a “baby bump” they seem to be saying to all the young girls out there – hey, forget dreaming of buying yourself a new pair of Manolo Blahnik’s, just get pregnant little girl, and you can be just like your idols!  By cutesifying the physical transformation of pregnancy, and reducing the belly to an accessory, it seems as though the Hollywood machine may as well put that lady I always see walking across Santa Monica with her brood of 10 kids and her two $5 Little Caesar’s pizzas on the cover of their magazine.

And, again, the most important thing here is that this term is annoying.  In protest I think I’m just going to be a lesbian and never get pregnant.   So there.
Oh wait…I’m doing that already.   Whatever.  Hollywood, stop collecting children like baseball cards and DUIs, and stop making it sound like a Dr. Seuss rhyme while you’re doing it.  I don’t care how “cute” it sounds, and I bet your team of overworked nannies doesn’t either.