I have a new pet peeve that absolutely drives me nuts...it's called ‘Vocal Fry.’ I can't believe I was able to describe it on Google well enough to get the exact technical term right away. Probably because millions are also wondering what the f**k it is. [I SO love Google] It's got to be the most irritating sound ever, although I’m sure I’ve complained about plenty of other irritating sounds that have bugged the shit out me; but this is the latest. In fact, it’s been around a couple of years already, so I guess it's not so new. You only hear it in 20 and 30 somethings; and only girls (I can't even call them women...real women don't talk like that.) It's that raspy, low, vibrating sound that comes out of their annoying little mouths when they're talking. It makes you wanna squeeze the shit out of their necks to bring the sound up and out of their throats, shoot it right past your ears without invading your aural senses, and be gone forever. I believe that's called strangling...which is exactly what I want to do to them whenever I hear them speak. I want to hold their vocal chords in place so tightly that they can't vibrate. Actually, holding them so they can't vocalize at all would be the best case scenario. That comes with the strangling motion, so a ‘2 for 1’...what a deal. Don’t get me wrong…I don’t want to go so far as to murder them…I just want to stop them from speaking while they’re in my presence.
What I don't get is how they make it happen. It can't be something they consciously make themselves do to sound like that on purpose, can it? They're not smart enough to know how because if they were smart enough, they wouldn't want to sound like that. No one could do that all day long, every time they speak. It’s just not natural. They'd be so busy concentrating on how to sound like that, that they wouldn't be able to concentrate on what they're talking about. AHA...that's exactly it...that's why they sound so f**king dumb. It’s all coming together.
How does something like this just emerge? And why is it now THE way to speak? I don't get it. I understand how fashion trends get introduced. I may not like all the styles I see people wearing but at least I know how and why fads like that start. I understand how words and phrases catch on. The media enables that. None of that impacts my life. But guttural sounds? You can't just all of a sudden start changing how your vocal chords work, right? I know when you sing you can manipulate your voice...but that's just for the duration of the song. But in every day speech? How is that possible? And why would you? It’s so frickin’ annoying. Especially when it's in combo with the "UM" interjected after every other phrase.
You’re probably thinking this should not have any impact on my life either...but au contraire. It absolutely does. I have to listen to people talk like this all day long since my industry is comprised of many 20 something girls and they have adopted this new vocal speech pattern. Ugh...you could puke.
I find a lot of these vocal fry adoptees have also invaded the morning news shows; not the anchors so much, but the interviewees. I guess I could change the channel but it seems like most of these young ‘experts’ talk like this now, so even if I changed the station, I’d probably find the same thing on the others. And there are some topics I want to hear about, so I sit through their discussions while being tortured by their raspy hoarsey obnoxious voices....thinking 'hurry up, disseminate the information, and then shut the f**k up already. And you’re not a frickin' expert so stop thinking you are.’
And isn’t that a laugh in itself…experts…at the age of 28 or so. Everyone's an expert. They haven’t lived long enough to be experts, but they DO know everything. Just ask them. I think if they didn’t talk in this new ‘hip’ irritatingly disgusting voice, I wouldn’t give them such a bad rap. I’d allow them to think they are the experts.
I don't remember where I first noticed someone speaking like this...but now? I can't ever NOT hear it when it's there. And then I can't concentrate on anything BUT the way they're talking. Forget listening to the content of what they're saying. I’m screwed when I really need to absorb the information. Same thing when I hear someone constantly say 'UM'...O. M. F**KING. G. I may as well just leave the conversation because I will get just as much out of it as if I was never there. Well…technically, I do leave the conversation…in my head. I may physically be there but if they were really paying attention and looked deep into my eyes…they would see a blank look. And behind that blank look would be Mohammed Ali shadow boxing in my eye balls, gloves on, waiting to beat the shit out of whomever is in front of me aiming their vibrating, annoying, never ending, vocal fry in my direction.
Have you noticed another big trend that people have been using? They start every sentence with the word “So.” It doesn’t matter whether it should be there or not…that’s how they start every single sentence.
“Can you tell me how that works, Moonshadow?” (Moonshadow is a 20 something who was born to some actors who have to name their kids a ridiculous name in order to get the recognition of all their fans and the acting community.) And Moonshadow’s response…“So you take the blah blah blah and put it on the such and such, but I don’t really know how because I have ‘people’ who do that for me.”
“And how much does that cost, NorthStarWest?” “So it will cost you an arm and a leg…but that’s ok, because it’s worth every cent, [and I’m a trust fund baby who can afford pretty much anything I want anyway].”
“Can you start a sentence without using the word ‘So’, Mango-Tangerine?” “So I don’t think I can, but that’s ok, right?”
Did I mention while they are starting their sentences with the word ‘So’, they are also speaking with a vocal fry voice? My nerves are being severely tested.
SO back to the 'UM' users. Holy shit. Talk about being distractingly annoying. I end up sitting in meetings counting the number of 'UM's' one uses, as opposed to listening to what they're talking about. I think I got up to 67 'UM's' in one presentation that lasted only about 7 minutes. Can I tell you how f**king insufferable that is? I'd love to stick a pin in their most sensitive spot each time they say it so they experience the Pavlov (or should I say Perlov) conditioning. Eventually, after they have been poked enough, they'll learn to stop. (Or bodily fluids will start leaking out all the holes and they'll be so weak they won't be able to talk. Either way works for me.)
Tell me…how do you ‘wrap your head around’ something? Or your brain? I can wrap my arms around something, but as hard as I’ve tried to wrap my brain around something...just short of performing a lobotomy on myself...I believe that may be impossible. And how does someone come up with that visual to begin with, to mean what it means? They probably were on drugs when that phrase came to mind. There’s really no other explanation.
And why does everyone say 'love you' to everyone now...even those they barely know? Do they REALLY love them? Do they? I think not. It’s taken away the entire meaning behind the real emotion of love we feel. I remember years ago, one of my daughter's friends said 'love you' to me as she walked out the front door to leave. I just said 'Bye so and so' to whomever it was. And my daughter said to me, 'Say you love her, too, mom." I told her I wouldn't. I don't say love you to people I don't love. I refuse. So if by chance I tell you I love you...be excited…you'll know I mean it. Unless, of course, society said I’m supposed to feel love for you because of how you are related to me, but I don't, and I don't want you to know I don't. Then I may tell a little white lie.
So…to conclude…um…so I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around this whole vocal fry craze, et al…but, um…I’m sure they will fade away. And, um, I’m sure there will be plenty of, um, other extremely irritating, um, trends that will materialize to take their place. Can't wait.
And lastly...I just want to say...I Love You all! I Love each and every single one of you, whoever you are.
This video will show you exactly how vocal fry sounds...if you don't see the video below...click on this link: