Monday, October 17, 2016

Dr. Faulkner: That’s a Big 10-4 Good Buddy

I am writing this on October 4th.  This date used to be celebrated as National Citizens Band Radio Day.  Although the citizens band (CB) radio frequency was established in 1945, it did not become popular until the mid to late ‘70s.  In the ‘60s advances in solid state electronics allowed CB radios to become smaller and less expensive giving the public wider access.  Many people, including yours truly, had a CB radio in their car.  Until just recently I still owned an emergency CB that I kept in the trunk of my car.  Much of the use of CB radios in the early ‘70s was by truckers looking to evade speed traps that became prevalent after the national speed limit was changed to 55 mph.  A whole lingo developed for on air use and everyone who used CB had an on-air nickname or “handle.”  Then First Lady Betty Ford’s handle was First Mama.  There were popular novelty songs such as C.W. McCall's Convoy (I'm about to put the hammer down.”) and Kenny Price’s Let’s Truck Together (“You shake the trees and I’ll rake the leaves.”)  The CB radio played heavily in the movie Smokey and the Bandit.  In fact “Smokey” was CB language for a state trooper.  And who can forget the television show, The Dukes of Hazard?  You can still find CB radios and accessories for sale in truck stops.

Fast forward 40 years.  Almost everyone has a smart phone.  Over the last few years, technology has allowed phones to become smaller and less expensive and smarter.  Texting has developed its own lingo.  LOL, OMG, PIR.  Instead of a handle we have a hashtag.  And of course there is Twitter which is the 21st century equivalent of, “Breaker.  Breaker. Anyone got your ears on?”

There is probably a thesis or maybe even a dissertation in there somewhere, but for me the point is that people will communicate by what-ever means available.  Jargon and slang will develop and come and go and how we communicate will impact culture.  The important thing is that we keep communicating.

-Jerry Faulkner

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