23 November 2009

Hacker Jargon

The recent hack (or was it a whistleblower?) of the Climate Research Center in the U.K. has not only exposed some of the naughty inner-political workings of the Global-Warming Alarmists, but it has also once again drawn attention to hacker subculture.

I don't know much about this subculture--other than the romanticized movie depictions--but I admire it for its tenacity and innovation. As a counter-narrative to the dominant-narrative of computer programming, hacker culture keeps the Big Guys on their innovating toes. At the same time, hacker culture is dependent on the B.G.'s as a source of fodder and fun. Without Microsoft, the hacker would be placed in the very awkward position of being The Man. And a new hacker culture would form as its counter-narrative.

As an old English teacher, I am fascinated by the way hackers have adapted the language to suit their creative needs. Of course, their innovations threaten standard usage, but standard usage is a lot like manners--what's appropriate and say and do at table with one's family is probably not said or done at table with strangers. Grammar, spelling, pronunciation, etc. like table manners depends heavily on circumstance and the contemporary goal of speaking and writing. 

Anyway, I think hacker jargon/culture gives us an amazing insight into both the dominant narrative of the internet world and its grimy underside. Check it out.


  1. What other criminal subcultures do you admire?

  2. Tom, haha. Obviously, I don't admire their criminality, only their creativity.

    Fr. Philip

    P.S. Bootleggers, fyi.

  3. so are you saying you teach Old English....or that you're old? just wondering........