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Josie and the Usage Quirks
Saturday, August 11, 2007   2:21 PM

We watched Josie and the Pussycats over here last night. It's one of my favorite movies — for whatever reason — and I'd be surprised if there were a dozen people on Earth who've watched it as many times as I have.

If you've never heard of Josie and the Pussycats, the movie is a satire of consumerism, complete with ubiquitous unpaid product placement throughout. There's also some language-related goodness.

X is the new Y
To parody faddishness, the movie makes extensive use of the snowclone "X is the new Y," as you can see in the examples below:

Pink is the new red!
Orange is the new pink!
Blue is the new orange!
Feathers are the new rhinestones!
Tretorns are the new Adidas!
Gatorade is the new Snapple!
Josie and the Pussycats are the new Du Jour!
Diet Coke is the new Pepsi One!
Heath Ledger is the new Matt Damon!

Alan M.
I know nothing of the Archie Comics universe, but I couldn't see Alan M. without wondering what, if anything, the M stands for. As one character observes, "Yes, what's with the initial anyway? It didn't work for Sheila E., and it doesn't work for you." One fan site unhelpfully notes that

Although for many years the "M" in his name was a mystery, Archie Comics now gives his name as Alan M. Mayberry.

But that doesn't settle anything; it just makes us wonder which initial Alan is using. In the meantime, we're left with a lesser version of the Harry S Truman vs. Harry S. Truman debate. Is it properly Alan M Mayberry or Alan M. Mayberry? I'd personally go with the latter: the period should only be omitted when we know it's not an abbreviation.

Lastly, the movie coins its own word for cool, and uses it pretty faithfully. When a character later says cool instead, she's accentuating an important plot point. Here's the coinage:

Woman 1: "The new word for cool will be jerkin', as in 'Dude, that's jerkin'!'"
Woman 2: "Ooo, that's dirty."

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