(UPDATE) ‘Derpy,’ a Word that Suits the Occasion – and the Man
There has been additional reaction to Josh Barro’s use of the word “derpy.”
Stefan Becket at the New York Magazine mentions Paul Krugman’s “Moral Derpitude,” in the New York Times where Krugman feels for Barro, really does: “[b]ut he has no home in today’s GOP, which simply has no room for the non-derpy, and to all appearances never will.”
Becket then asks, “Derp? Derpy? What are these guys talking about?” and explains — just as one of our readers suspected:
Roughly defined, derp is an onomatopoeic exclamation uttered in response to a boneheaded action of some kind. Its adjective form, derpy, describes someone who is prone to acting like an idiot. Derpitude is the persistent state of being derpy. Over the past few years, the political class on Twitter has appropriated the term as a pejorative to point out an obtuse or stupid argument. (Slate’s Dave Weigel has been arguably the leading proponent of derpdom.)
As to the origins of the word, Becket says:
The origins of the word can be traced back to BASEketball, the 1998 film by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. KnowYourMeme, which catalogues this sort of thing, says this (semi-NSFW-ish) scene is the first recorded instance of derp.
But derp found greater traction once Parker and Stone introduced a new character on South Park in 1999. In the episode “The Succubus,” the beloved Chef is replaced by Mr. Derp in the school cafeteria, who carries a hammer and hits himself in the head, yelling “Derp!” while falling on the ground. Real highbrow comedy.
KnowYourMeme attributes the spread of derp and its extension, herp derp, to 4Chan, the birthplace of countless Internet memes. The rise of rage comics further helped to bring the phrase into the mainstream, with characters Derp and Derpina becoming popular among the Reddit crowd.
I am sure you needed to know this, just as I am sure that we will be hearing much more about derp and derpies in the near future. Now you know all there is to know about it, and I hope it wasn’t too derpy.
I had never heard of the word “derpy” — not that such means very much as I have not heard of a lot of words and things — but it sounded just right in the context of Josh Barro’s description of our favorite and very-popular-lately Erick Erickson.
In the conclusion to his “Erick Erickson Shows Everything That’s Wrong With The GOP,” Barro uses that word:
Basically, Erickson is derpy. And Erickson has big appeal to conservatives because lots of them are derpy. But the country is getting less derpy, and in time the Republican party will have to get less derpy, too. That’s my project, and I don’t expect Erickson to like it.
Again, that word just sounded “right.” It had the “ring” and the feel for what would be an appropriate descriptor of a sexist man — and his folowers — who would make offensive claims about women in the workplace, as breadwinners, and how such women disrupt the natural order and are tearing society apart, and so on — something with which Fox News’ Megyn Kelly (who already established a no-nonsense reputation on election night through her adroit handling of imploding Karl Rove) had a little bit of a problem with, bless her heart.
But I still needed to check its definition and voilà — after a few “Derpy Hooves” entries — the Urban Dictionary pegged it: “Awkward or embarrassing, especially pertaining to a person.” Bingo!
Amazing how the “feel” or sound of a word one has never even heard of or read before can give a person a hint of “things to come.”
I am sure Erickson has many things to come, too, including a star-studded, “derpied” career at Fox News — if he can avoid Megyn Kelly.
It is interesting to note that just before Erickson left CNN for Fox News, “[he] was widely criticized after he tweeted of the first night of the Democratic National Convention, ‘First night of the Vagina Monologues in Charlotte going as expected.’” A comment that was preceded by “his description of the National Organization for Women as the ‘NAG Gang’ who were ‘angry in their unibrows.’” Which was in turn preceded, by “his description of feminists as humorless women ‘too ugly to get a date,’” which was again preceded by his description of Michelle Obama as “a Marxist harpy,” all according to mediamatters.org
To read more of how Erick Erickson shows everything that’s wrong with the GOP, please click here