Monday, July 4, 2011

"Bomb" As An Example Of Israeli-American Cultural Osmosis

I walked by the Jerusalem central bus station today, and noticed that the little coffee stand outside, had changed its name from "פיצוץ של קיוסק" (explosion kiosk) to just "של קיוסק". One can only guess that after having been bombed twice, having the word explosion in your name seems a little risky.
However its name did get me thinking a little. In modern Hebrew the word "פצצה"  (bomb)  and its derivatives are used in slang to mean "cool" or good. How was the movie? פצצה.  When I was growing up, in English saying something bombed was slang for saying it did badly. I.E it had the exact opposite meaning of the way it is used in Hebrew. I was planning to write a short post wondering what the cultural difference between Israel and the U.S led to this slang difference, but before I started writing I consulted this online slang dictionary and looked up "Bomb":

1. (before 1997) Something really bad; a failure 

2. (after 1997) Something considered excellent and/or the best (uses modifier "the")
1. I hated that movie! I'm not surprised that it was a total bomb at the box office. 

2. I loved that movie! It was the bomb!

And so I learned that I am no longer hip enough to know the current use of English slang, and secondly that rather then discovering an interesting contrast between Israeli and American culture, I seem to have discovered yet another example of how Israeli culture is fast becoming a global one.

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