Confused about something you’ve heard in the midst of all that insightful commentary on The Young Turks? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The Young Turks program is well on its way to creating a distinct language intelligible only to citizens of TYT Nation. Below you’ll find an insider’s guide to the program’s frequently used terms and phrases that should help you decode and understand the unique lexicon of Cenk, Ana and all the folks in the TYT chat room:
(Got a TYT-ism we’ve missed that you think should be included on this list? Email your suggestion to the Keeper of the Glossary, Malcolm Fleschner, at [email protected](dot)com, and we’ll try to make all the necessary additions.)
“Am I not merciful?”
Line from the film Gladiator delivered by Joaquin Phoenix’s character Emperor Commodus who, it turns out, may be a bit confused about the meaning of the word “merciful.” Cenk, by contrast, uses the line to demonstrate how genuinely generous, forgiving and magnanimous he is. (see also, “The Most Open-Minded Man In America”)
Backpedal, Backpedal, Backpedal
Spoken in rapid-fire fashion, this is Cenk’s preferred three-word description of the fast-moving verbal retreat engaged in by a politician, celebrity or other public figure who claims to have “misspoken,” had his or her words “taken out of context” or said “some really stupid shit.”
Bad Idea Jeans
Reference to a 1990 Saturday Night Live commercial parody in which Phil Hartman, David Spade, Mike Myers, Kevin Nealon and Bob Odenkirk share a succession of comedically terrible ideas (“Now that I have kids, I feel much better having a gun in the house”). The parody served double duty, mimicking the style of a then-widespread series of Dockers commercials while also poking fun at No Excuses Jeans for hiring former presidential candidate Gary Hart’s ex-mistress Donna Rice as a spokesperson.
Lyrics to a Pearl Jam song Cenk often sings, typically as shorthand to express his belief that the individual under discussion is being motivated by jealousy, spite, etc. It is unclear whether Cenk realizes that the song is actually called “Better Man,” and is about a woman who has resigned herself to the fact that she can never escape her loveless marriage, but why quibble when we’re all so happy at any opportunity we have to enjoy Cenk’s mellifluous singing voice?
Exclamation popularized by Ali G that can express excitement, interest, attraction, approval – essentially a catchall term that can convey nearly any positive emotion. For a debate over the expression’s possible derivations offered by people who should really have something better to do with their time. See Booyakasha in the Urban Dictionary.
“Boom Boom Pow”
Black Eyed Peas song title that Ana uses as a synonym for assertiveness or, as she puts it, “oomph.” The term is often invoked as a judgment on whether a public figure has exhibited satisfactory purpose or aggressiveness under a set of controversial circumstances, typically expressed by Ana as either “sufficient” or “insufficient” boom boom pow.
“Bounds of Reason”
Phrase Cenk has adopted as the encapsulation of his personal political philosophy. More generally, Cenk uses the expression as a shorthand to indicate that a person or group has gone too far, overreached or otherwise exceeded acceptable limits. “Taking your dog to a groomer, pampering your pet a little, sure, but you and your poodle wearing matching outfits? Come on, bounds of reason.”
“Bulgarian Hate Mail”
Catchall term for hostile, profane and/or semiliterate emails received by The Young Turks program or staff members. The term stems from the May 4, 2009 show when a third hour segment was devoted to Bulgarian pop singer LiLana’s video for “Dime Piece,” featuring Snoop Dogg. Ana and Jayar took issue, specifically, with LiLana’s accented English singing and Snoop’s motives for participating in the project. The segment launched a barrage of angry email from Bulgarians calling – in hilariously broken English – for Ana and Jayar to be fired. The follow-up segment where Bulgarian hate mail was originally discussed can be viewed here.
Phrase Cenk commonly employs because he’s not black and, as a result, cannot get away with saying “N****r, please.” The expression conveys disdain, dismay and disbelief, and is most frequently directed at Republicans or right wingers attempting to pass off the usual wingnut BS. (see also “Rightrightrightrightright…”)
Used most often as a form of projection, Cenk will frequently address this directive to the audience when, in fact, he is the one who has become overly animated about a particularly outrageous story. Alternatively, “All right, everybody calm down.”
“Christian Side Hug”
An expression of non-sexual affection in which a man and woman “hug” one another from the side with just one arm each. The term entered the vernacular – and the TYT lexicon – after a video of the rap song of the same name, performed at the 2009 Encounter Generation evangelical youth conference, went viral. The song was ostensibly meant as parody, but many fundamentalist Christian groups have since, um, embraced the Christian Side Hug as a means of discouraging the kind of lascivious thoughts that inevitably occur as a result of those titillating front hugs. On TYT, the Christian Side Hug may be invoked when issues of abstinence, sexual self-control or hugging of any kind is discussed.
“Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs”
Phrase meaning “insane” or “out of control.” The expression comes from an ad campaign for Cocoa Puffs cereal featuring Sonny, a cartoon bird who loses control whenever he’s offered a bowl of “crunchy, munchy, chocolatey” Cocoa Puffs. For a sample ad from this campaign, click here.
“Dammit, Jim, I’m A Doctor, Not A [Occupation]”
Famous catchphrase from the original Star Trek TV series, delivered by the USS Enterprise’s ship doctor, Leonard H. “Bones” McCoy. Cenk typically adapts the expression to fit his own circumstances and justify his lack of expertise with the topic being discussed, i.e., “Dammit, Jim, I’m a talk show host, not a statistician/nephrologist/gay rodeo clown/etc.”.
Saturday Night Live character, portrayed by Rachel Dratch, who lives up to her name by regularly injecting depressing or negative comments into every conversation she’s involved in. Cenk and Ana will often use the term to deny that they’re being overly negative themselves, as in, “Not to be a Debbie Downer, but…” Watch the Debbie Downer Video clip here.
Hip Hop-derived expression Ana uses to advise others to pursue their passions, enlighten themselves or otherwise get the most out of what life has to offer – as long as everyone involved is consenting and no one gets hurt, that is. She began using the phrase after doing a segment on televangelist/milkshake entrepreneur Pat Robertson offering up his usual judgmental moralizing under the guise of advice and decided that people should start coming to her for advice instead. “Sometimes when I get extra saucy, I like throw in a ‘boo’ at the end,” she adds.
Cenk’s father, Dogan Uygur, a real estate developer who still lives in Cenk’s home town in New Jersey. Dogan was born in Kilis, Turkey, a small city close to the Syrian border. After splitting time between Turkey and the US for over a decade, Dogan brought his family over for good in 1978. Cenk frequently quotes his father on the show, mimicking Dogan’s accent while expressing thoughts like, “You have to do this RIGHT AWAAAAY!”
Down Goes Frazier!
Legendary Howard Cosell call from the 1973 George Foreman-Joe Frazier championship fight in which Foreman sent the heavily favored Frazier to the canvas in the first round, eventually winning a six-round knockout. Cenk likes to mimic Cosell’s repeated “Down goes…” line whenever a public figure suffers a significant or humiliating defeat, particularly when the Young Turks have had a hand in delivering the decisive blow.
Expression popularized at TYT by Ana, who invokes the term to refer to a situation of escalating interpersonal conflict, whether between two heads of state, members of the Kardashian clan or members of the TYT staff, such as the author of these entries and that one person who referred to the glossary as a “complete waste of time,” but who should probably just keep his (or her) mouth shut because no one cares to hear his (or her) opinions anyway.
“Dr. D” David Schultz
Cenk will occasionally punctuate his description of an epic smackdown with a reference to “Dr. D” David Schultz, a professional wrestler who gained his greatest level of notoriety in 1984 after a backstage altercation with 20/20 reporter John Stossel. As part of his “expose” on professional wrestling, Stossel confronted Schultz, asserting that pro wrestling was “fake.” Schultz responded by twice slapping Stossel to the floor, punctuating the blows with a taunting, “What’s that? Is that fake? Huh? What the hell’s wrong with you? That’s an open-hand slap!” (Note: no evidence exists to substantiate claims that Schultz was, in fact, merely a man ahead of his time and encouraging Stossel to “po-lice that moo-stache!”). Video of the incident is here.
“Dreidel Is Still Spinning, The”
Phrase Cenk uses to describe an existential Russian nesting doll scenario, such as a dream occurring within a dream, or the experience of deja vu in the midst of another experience of deja vu. At times, he may use the expression to refer to a more concrete example of a “thing within itself,” such as a TYT video that is playing inside another TYT video, or a poll on the TYT app that’s about another poll on the TYT app. The phrase itself is specifically a reference to the surrealistic 2010 film “Inception,” in which one of the characters uses a spinning top as a totem to reveal whether a scene is taking place in the real world or merely in a realistic-seeming dream state. In Cenk’s mind, for reasons known only to him, the top has been replaced with a dreidel. He estimates that “about 12.5 percent” of the audience have any idea what he’s talking about when he makes this reference.
“Elbow from the sky”
Professional wrestling-inspired term Cenk frequently employs to describe any kind of devastating blow, whether literal or metaphorical, often delivered out of the blue. The image conveyed is a muscle-bound wrestler such as Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka leaping off the top rope of the corner of the ring and delivering the aforementioned elbow to a prone opponent.
“End of This!”
Quotation from Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that Cenk likes to reference when implying that someone (often Cenk himself) is going to put a stop to a specified action, policy or behavior. See also, “I’m coming to your house.”
“Fix Your Face”
An expression from the Hip Hop lexicon roughly analogous to “What now, bitch?” that has made its way into regular TYT rotation. Cenk and company were first exposed to the term in a video posted to singer/actor Tyrese’s Facebook page after Dr. Dre’s company, “Beats Electronics,” was sold to Apple for $3.2 billion. in the video Tyrese repeatedly looks at the camera and says “Fix yo’ face!”, presumably as a rejoinder to critics who scoffed at the idea that Dre could build a billion-dollar company out of second-rate headphones. In the video, Tyrese also performs a brief “crip walk” dance that Cenk promised to master and incorporate into his personal portfolio of dance moves.
Get It, Get It
Versatile phrase that enjoys a range of applications, depending on context and (at times) which TYT personality is speaking. Possible usages include:
– As an expression of approval for a public figure who is pursuing legal redress – usually a sizable financial settlement – for a genuine wrong he or she has suffered
– At the conclusion of a segment concerning a sexual peccadillo, such as a story about a celebrity cheating on his wife, Cenk will often say “Get it, get it” to acknowledge that, while the cheating is inexcusable, the mistress is nevertheless a hot tamale.
– When used by Ana, as an expression of approval of an ethical sexual conquest (i.e., no cheating, no one underage, etc.) involving attractive participants. More broadly, also used by Ana to express congratulations to anyone pursuing a laudable or impressive goal (such as actor James Franco enrolling in a Ph.D program in English at Yale University).
Expression Cenk has used for many years to express approbation or otherwise endorse another’s proposed course of action. Cenk is not unaware of the irony that he, a dedicated and celebrated agnostic, uses a term with such obvious religious connotations. Constitutionally, his usage can be defended as a mere “ceremonial deism,” untethered to the endorsement or encouragement of belief in an actual god. Either that or Cenk, as a result of his increasing public profile and personal influence, has, perhaps unwittingly, begun to view himself in megalomaniacal terms, and has come to believe that his opinions should carry the same weight as other dictates from on high such as, say, the Ten Commandments. (See also, “I pardon you”).
Self-deprecating title Cenk jokingly uses to describe how “out-of-it” he occasionally appears during discussions of issues of technology, popular culture, gender relations, whippersnappers, etc.
“Have at it, Hoss”
Cenk’s unique way of telling a political opponent or opposing group, “Go ahead and do that stupid thing you’re threatening to do.”
A reference to the Biff Tannen character from the “Back to the Future” movies. Biff frequently berated male members of the McFly family for being obtuse by rapping them on the head and uttering a variant of this phrase, such as “Hello! Anybody home, McFly?” See video here.
“I’m a baaaaaad man!”
Triumphant boast made by Muhammad Ali after knocking out Sonny Liston for the heavyweight title in 1964. Cenk typically uses the expression as a form of punctuation to justify his latest controversial or outlandish statement. The irony is, of course, that Cenk is in fact a very good man. Just ask him!
“I’m coming to your house!”
Not-so-oblique threat made by Bill O’Reilly to “corrupt media figures” who, according to O’Reilly, traffic in smears rather than debating the issues on their merits. In addition to the unannounced household visit, O’Reilly also put these unnamed “smear merchants” on notice that, “You’ll have a camera up your nose.” See also “End of THIS”
“I’m not saying, I’m just saying.”
Don’t be fooled. That’s exactly what he’s saying. (Sometimes punctuated with an additional “What? We’re just talking.”)
“I denounce and reject myself.”
A preemptive self-disavowal Cenk will frequently deliver prior to, in the midst of, or after concluding a statement he knows is likely to offend Ana, women in general, members of a specific ethnic group, nationality or religion, gays, anti-pornography crusaders, the “food police,” metrosexuals, the Freemasons, “furries,” NAMBLA, et al. The phrase refers to an exchange between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama at a debate during the 2008 presidential election when Clinton criticized Obama for merely “denouncing” and not also “rejecting” Black Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan, who had expressed support for Obama’s campaign. Obama responded that he was happy to both reject AND denounce Farrakhan’s support.
“I do declare.”
Purportedly upper class “Britishism” Cenk likes to use to suggest that the person in the story he’s commenting on is either insufferably wealthy, overly sensitive, cluelessly arrogant or simply English. That Cenk adopts a faux British accent to utter the phrase remains a constant source of irritation to TYT fans and staffers (not to mention the author of the TYT glossary) because “I do declare” is NOT a phrase used by Brits, but in fact is typically associated with the American South (as in “I do declare, that Obama character sure is uppity”). All attempts to dissuade Cenk from perpetuating this cringe-inducing misattribution have proven fruitless. Different, genuinely British expressions suggested to him as possible alternatives include “Jolly good show,” “I say, old boy” and “He buggered me senseless back at Eton.”
“I drink YOUR milkshake”
A quotation from the film “There Will Be Blood,” in which oilman Daniel Plainview (played by Daniel Day-Lewis) explains to preacher and faith healer Eli Sunday (Paul Dano) that he (Plainview) will not be purchasing the drilling rights to the land Dano is trying to sell because he has already bought up all the surrounding land and pumped out the oil via the process of drainage. Plainview uses the milkshake as a metaphor, not only for the oil, but also more generally for Sunday’s manhood. If the film took place today, Plainview would likely have simply said, “You’ve been pwned!” Also, in response to the many TYT viewer inquiries, the answer is no, Cenk does not appreciate the suggestion that maybe it would be a good idea for him to lay off the milkshakes entirely. (Note: Some have suggested that Cenk’s delivery of the line sounds less like Daniel Day-Lewis and more like Lieutenant Worf from Star Trek: The Next Generation).
“I has it”/”I jump een it”
Two quotes from a DirecTV ad featuring a Russian oligarch whose living quarters are depicted in Versailles-like surroundings, including gold furnishings and appointments, supermodel-caliber beauties, and even a trained miniature giraffe. He says “I has it” in reference to “opulence” and “I jump een it” to describe his response to hearing about DirecTV’s generously discounted premium channel package. Because, as he explains, he also likes “savings the money.”
“I like tacos.”
The plaintive lament of society’s ignored, excluded and ostracized. A simple three-word expression that encapsulates the ultimate hopelessness of human existence, all brought to us by a single AT&T Commercial.
“I make a lot of big ones, and I make a lot of little ones.”
Quotation Cenk is particularly fond of, taken from remarks made in 2007 during an Ohio speech by one of the five greatest American presidents of the 21st century, George W. Bush. Bush was speaking, specifically, about all the decisions he makes in his role as “The Decider.” Although in retrospect, rather than “decisions,” the quote in question could have just as easily applied to “fuckups.”
“I pardon you”
Not that he has an inflated sense of the importance and influence of the program, but Cenk feels that The Young Turks have the right to pass judgment on and issue pardons to anyone who has committed a crime or other social transgression. To date TYT’s controlling legal authority over such matters has yet to be recognized in any official capacity, but that will no doubt come with time. (See also, “Let ’em go!” and “TYT Supreme Court”).
Survivor-inspired term Cenk trots out to explain why his association with certain demographic groups gives him license to make seemingly offensive statements about said groups. Cenk’s “immunity” claims extend to the following: Turks (for obvious reasons), Muslims (because Cenk was born and raised a Muslim), the heavy-set (Cenk is himself, um, big-boned) and Asians (Cenk’s wife, Wendy, is Chinese).
“Is that Blue I See?”
The opening line to the only poem Cenk has ever written, or so he claims. The poem, which never fails to amuse Ben, centers on the author’s boundless hope as he looks toward the future. Cenk occasionally uses this five-word phrase, accompanied by a misty-eyed gaze into the distance, to indicate that some piece of good news may lie in the near future.
“It’s the money, Lebowski”
Reference to the Coen Brothers film The Big Lebowski, in which Jeff Bridges plays Jeffrey Lebowski, aka “The Dude,” a slacker who gets caught up in a whirlwind plot involving mistaken identity, kidnapping, organized crime and severed digits. While this direct quotation does not actually appear in the film, Cenk uses it to convey the notion, expressed to the character throughout the movie, that the pursuit of money is almost always the driving force behind seemingly inexplicable human behavior.
Catch-all insult that Ben Mankiewicz is eager to popularize and disseminate into the larger culture. Primarily used as a descriptive term to express disdain for the actions of a (typically male) individual or for the individual himself. Because the language currently lacks any other such useful descriptive term, not counting douchebag, loser, asswipe, imbecile, dickwad, knucklehead, turkey, shit-for-brains, nimrod, fucknut, etc.
Made-up name Cenk invokes in a variety of situations, whether as a generic “everyman,” to punctuate some sort of devastating blow (“That guy just got Jim Jablowskied!”) or whenever else he deems it necessary to confuse viewers by dropping a made up name into a story about, say, financial reform.
“Let ’em Go!”
This expression represents The Young Turks’ answer to the Emancipation Proclamation. After discussing the purportedly unacceptable, immoral or illegal behavior of some individual or group in the news, Cenk will at times summon from his deep wellspring of magnanimity a “not guilty” verdict with a lustful declaration of “Let ’em go!”, sometimes repeated for emphasis. Cenk notes that his use of this phrase is, in fact, a misquote of the line “Turn him loose! Turn him loose!” shouted by Chris Cooper during the trial scene in the movie “A Time to Kill.” (See also, “I Pardon You,” “TYT Supreme Court” and, what the hell, maybe even “The Most Open-Minded Man In America”)
“Most Open-Minded Man in America, The”
During his conservative days, Cenk might have been a bit rigid and closed-minded, but not anymore. Now he gives a pass to all sorts of behavior condemned by the less liberal-minded, a point he likes to underscore with this self-styled moniker. (See also, “Am I not merciful?”)
“Move the Furniture”
During her school days as a participant in the Los Angeles Valley Speech and Debate Team, Ana’s coach emphasized the importance of appearing confident during competitions. Judges could sense how nervous competitors were, he explained, and even the slightest flaw could doom a debater’s chances. One tip for communicating confidence, he suggested, was to stride up to the front of the room and physically move anything that might be distracting or in our way. The point was to “command the room.” Now, whenever Cenk or Ana discuss a circumstance where they want to demonstrate dominance or make a statement about who’s in charge, they talk about “moving furniture around.”
Instantly recognizable opening line from the campy 1960s “Batman” television show theme song. In his chart-topping 2002 single, “Without Me,” Eminem invokes the line and then asks the rhetorical question, “Guess who’s back?” Perhaps confusingly, when Cenk utters the line he is referring to the Eminem song, his way of letting the viewer know that he has returned, whether from vacation, a break between segments or perhaps just a moment spent thinking about how cool he would look behind the wheel of the Batmobile.
“Not a Big Deal”
Ironic expression used by Cenk to indicate that what he’s saying is, in fact, a very big deal. Typically uttered while he looks away from the camera and distractedly shuffles papers, the phrase often follows a self-aggrandizing anecdote, as in the following apocryphal example: “Guess who I ran into the other day who told me he’s a huge fan of the show? Bill Clinton. Not a big deal.”
Some people prefer to use the expression “It goes without saying” to describe a blindingly obvious point. But since Cenk does not believe any notion he comes up with should ever go without saying, he prefers to demonstrate the self-evident nature of an idea with a long, drawn out “Of Cooooooouuurse.”
“One million percent”
Mathematically questionable phrase Cenk uses to register his complete agreement with a policy, proposal or idea.
Term used by Cenk and Ana to describe people (typically men) who engage in unseemly or inappropriate sexual behavior. The term originated with a Facebook post by a British woman who was describing her purportedly lecherous boss, forgetting that she had added him to her roster of Facebook friends. The boss saw the post and sent the woman a return post informing her that she was a) out of a job; and b) not much of a judge of people, because she never figured out that he’s gay.
“Po-lice that moo-stache!”
Directive Cenk and Ana jokingly level at any public figure deemed to have a comical mustache (e.g., former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton). The quotation comes from the character of Sergeant Major Sixta on HBO’s Iraq War miniseries Generation Kill, who is depicted as hyper-attentive to upper lip-related military protocol.
“Pro-fessional – look it up in the book”
Legendary line from even more legendary broadcaster Larry King, uttered in response to a radio show caller who wanted advice on breaking into the journalism field. King, who was either extraordinarily tired, drunk or both, first offered up a nonsense answer about what inspires “confidence in a young M.D.” When the caller clarifies that he’s asking about journalism and not medicine, Larry launches into a borderline delirious stream-of-consciousness description of what it means to be a “pro-fessional,” involving farmhouses in the desert, “herculean appetites for the diverse and the bizarre,” and not worrying about “the club.” You can hear the whole thing and find out why Larry believes that life is a breeze here.
“Prometheus Maximus Uygur”
AKA “Pro,” “The Little Guy,” “The Youngest Turk.” Born July 12, 2010, Prometheus is Cenk and Wendy’s eldest child. As a number of observers have noted, Pro is also the first Uygur who will one day be eligible to run for president of the United States (assuming he can produce a legitimate long form birth certificate). His arrival was announced with much fanfare on the Dylan Ratigan Show on July 16, 2010.
Ever the consummate gentleman, Cenk would never employ a coarse slang term for a part of the female anatomy to disparage a public official’s lack of courage. Of course not. So whatever you thought he was about to say, well, you were wrong. He was just saying “pushover.” And the way he drew out the first syllable? That was just for emphasis. So get your filthy mind out of the gutter.
Term popularized by the Sacha Baron Cohen character Ali G, who in his ignorance and confusion would say “racialist” rather than “racist.” With Ali G now “retired,” TYT staffers have adopted the expression as their own, usually trotted out in a self-deprecating way to indicate that an opinion offered may push the limits of acceptability (“That’s a little racialist,” “I don’t want to get all racialist, but…,” etc.). What’s interesting, and most likely unbeknownst even to Cohen, is that in the past the term “racialist” was, in fact, used to convey the modern-day meaning of “racist,” but over time was replaced in common usage by the latter term. OK, so maybe it’s not that interesting. More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racialist
Roughly equivalent to “you’ve got to be kidding me,” this phrase is often used by Cenk when he wishes to communicate – in a sarcastic fashion – that what a politician, celebrity or other prominent person has said is, in fact, not right. (see also “C’moncmoncmoncmon”)
Rodell Vereen, a South Carolina man who was arrested after being caught by a surveillance camera engaging in sexual intercourse with a horse. Since this story broke, the name “Rodell” has become the TYT standard against which Cenk measures any stories involving some level of sexual deviance (e.g., “It’s bad, but it’s not Rodell bad”).
Run Run Run, Stay Stay Stay
Jamaican expression reflecting the “fight or flight” options available to anyone confronted with a dilemma, threat or crisis. Cenk picked up the expression from his former girlfriend Zahra, whose grandfather used to say this to misbehaving grandchildren as he took out his belt. “The correct strategy,” Cenk notes, “was to ‘run run run.'” The full saying, Cenk notes, is “Whoever wanna run run run, whoever wanna stay stay stay.”
“Sad day for you”
This Cenk-ism is roughly equivalent to “tough luck,” “too bad,” “them’s the breaks,” or “don’t let the door hit you where the good lord split you.” (often shortened to “sad day”)
Schmoopie Pa Poopie
Cloying term of affection employed by Cenk and Ana to mock anyone (themselves included) they perceive to be acting in an overly cutesy or lovey-dovey fashion. The term “Schmoopie” comes from the “Soup Nazi” episode of Seinfeld in which Jerry and his then-girlfriend irritate the other characters with their constant cooing over one another. At some point Cenk doubled down on the expression’s nausea value by adding “Poopie” to the end. The term reached its current incarnation thanks to Cenk’s friend Bora, whose mistaken inclusion of the “Pa” in the middle was deemed too delicious not to make permanent.
“Schwang Wang Wang, Debbie Schlussel”
A unique TYT response to any lame attempt at humor, roughly analogous to the “wah wah wahhhhhh” muted trumpet sound frequently used in ’60s era sitcoms and elsewhere to punctuate a rather obvious or trite joke. Cenk has used “shwang wang wang” this way in his personal lexicon for many years, but later appended it with “Debbie Schlussel” to mock the tone and delivery of the Michigan-based conservative blogger’s unintentionally hilarious YouTube videos. See also “Debbie Downer.”
“Stay Classy, San Diego”
Line from the movie Anchorman that Will Ferrell’s title character, Ron Burgundy, uses to conclude broadcasts. Shockingly, Cenk seems ill-informed about the true meaning of this expression since he persistently uses the line to punctuate stories in which the principal actors have engaged in acts that are anything but classy. Strange.
Term coined by Cenk’s wife, Wendy, referring to the disproportionate response that’s called for when (typically) a woman has been “wronged” by a man. This is a perfect example of “strikeback.” Ana is usually the show’s arbiter of when “strikeback” is called for.
One of the higher accolades the Young Turks can assign – also a key indicator that Cenk developed most of his speech habits while growing up during the 1980s. Note: Perhaps in spite of herself, Ana has begun to adopt this phrase as well.
“That’s the best (or worst)… EVER”
Hyperbolic term used by Ana to express great admiration (or disapproval). “Ever,” it turns out, is not a very long time to Ana.
“The Lannisters send their regards”
Filling a niche in the TYT lexicographical catch phrase canon somewhere between “No, I drink YOUR milkshake” and “How does my ass taste?”, this Game of Thrones reference has become popular for use in situations where a subject individual has been double-crossed, received a come-uppance or fallen victim to a case of one-upsmanship. The name “Lannisters” is also frequently replaced by the name of whoever is executing the action (e.g., “Tell the NSA Edward Snowden sends his regards”).
“Think about it”
Cenk’s frequent concluding remark about a topic that, in fact, you’re probably better off not thinking about.
“Tide Goes In, Tide Goes Out”
During a segment with American Atheists president David Silverman, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly sought to prove God’s existence by saying, “Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that.” While O’Reilly thought he was proving the existence of a superior being, he was, in fact, proving the existence of the moon. Sadly, Silverman did not ask O’Reilly whether the families of the 230,000 killed in the 2004 Asian tsunami might quibble with his “never a miscommunication” description of the tides’ regularity. At TYT, “Tide goes in, tide goes out” has since become shorthand for any specious defense of God’s existence or, more broadly, any inane argument that breaks down upon even the most cursory inspection.
“Time to Regulate”
A line from the 1988 Western movie “Young Guns,” in which Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen and Lou Diamond Phillips portray a group of “regulators” – gunslinging ranch hands who go on a vengeance-fueled killing spree after their patron is killed by a corrupt business rival. Much like the Young Guns, The Young Turks frequently feel called to “regulate,” but instead of a six-shooter, Cenk wields the power of the Internet. Alternatively, “Regulators, let’s ride.”
“Toit like a toiger”
Description of someone with a muscular physique. The expression refers to the Dutch-accented mangling of the phrase “tight like a tiger” by the titular villain played by Mike Myers in “Austin Powers: Goldmember.”
“Too Too Too”
Spoken to suggest a spitting sound (and accompanied by a knocking motion), “too too too” is both a Turkish and an Armenian superstition used to ward off spirits or the “evil eye.” Ana and Cenk typically invoke the expression after referring to a particularly unfortunate event – the death of a loved one, a catastrophic natural disaster, another Scalia on the Supreme Court – to communicate the hope that said event will not occur, much in the same way others might say “god forbid.”
TYT Supreme Court
Judicial body consisting of Cenk, Ana, Jesus, Jayar and (occasionally) Dave that passes judgment, typically on a majority rule basis, on a pressing issue of the day. All rulings are final, with no appeal process allowed unless Cenk forgets that an issue has been previously ruled on, in which case it may come up for consideration again. Jesus Godoy is the Chief Justice of this court because Cenk has arbitrarily decided he is the most reasonable person among them.
Cenk’s signature headlock (patent pending), employed in countless childhood physical altercations, from which no assailant could ever escape, or so the legend goes.
You want to know what Voltramax is? Of course you do, Patriotic American! But the Republicans, who are up to their ears in the Voltramax scandal, REFUSE to talk about it. Oh sure, they’ll talk about Solyndra until the cows come home, but they clam up awfully fast at the first peep about VOLTRAMAX. What are they HIDING??? Why won’t they tell THE TRUTH to the AMERICAN PEOPLE??? Tell the Republicans to STOP THE LIES!!! TAKE BACK AMERICA!!!!!!!!
Versatile Turkish expression, roughly equivalent to “Oh, fuck!” in English, that can be used in a wide range of situations, from stubbing one’s toe to discovering that one is falling off a cliff. The actual expression is “Ha siktir,” but Cenk feels that changing the “ha” to “wa” adds extra emphasis. TYT Nation members who happen to be fluent in Turkish can argue the validity of Cenk’s attempt to alter a familiar idiomatic usage pattern. Sure you can.
“We got an issue in America”
Reference to something former president George W. Bush once said about frivolous lawsuits at a campaign rally. The phrase is used by Cenk to jokingly highlight whatever concern is being discussed. The full Bush quotation is “We got an issue in America. Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB/GYNs aren’t able to practice their – their love, with women all across the country.”
Culinary term used by Cenk to disparage insufficient efforts, half-assed compromises, unpersuasive arguments and overly cautious tactics, most often when employed by Democrats. This term was brought into the TYT lexicon by Jesus Godoy.
Wendy Lang Uygur, Cenk’s wife. The two were married on December 6, 2008. Wendy is originally from Hong Kong, but has lived in Los Angeles since the late 1990s. She and Cenk met at an LA social event where she immediately fell under the spell of a certain fellow partygoer’s charm, good looks and savoir faire. After that guy left, she met Cenk.
“What about the children?”
(said with a bad British accent)
Sarcastic expression Cenk employs to feign shock at someone else’s use of foul or otherwise inappropriate language. The phrase is a reference to an altercation in 2008 between Busta Rhymes and some English fans who tried to stop him on the street for a photo. When he ignored their request and began to enter his tour bus, one woman called him “ignorant,” at which point he stopped and berated the woman for insulting him when all he wanted to do was “take a shit.” Called out by Busta for her over-the-top insult, the woman upbraided the prominent rapper for cursing in the presence of children. Imagine, a rapper swearing! Watch the whole thing here.
“What IS this?”
Most viewers assume that this quintessential Cenkism, uttered to express cartoonishly outsized dismay and accompanied by Cenk’s bulging eyes and quaking hands, originated with his immigrant father Dogan’s bewildered reaction to some confusing aspect of American culture. “Wrong!”, Cenk says with emphasis. In fact, “What IS this???” was launched when Cenk’s nephew Hasan uttered the expression to describe the audience’s horrified reaction to “Brotip,” Hasan’s short-lived vlog that offered over-the-top and frequently politically incorrect advice for fellow “bros” and aspirants to membership in the “Bromunity.”
“What Name So?”
Roughly equivalent to “Come again?” or “What’s that you say?”, this is a question Cenk poses in order to feign a combination of confusion, surprise and cluelessness. The expression stems from an incident in Jamaica when Cenk’s former girlfriend stopped at a small roadside stand with the word “Roti” plastered on the front and side in big letters. Roti is a traditional West Indian dish consisting of a flatbread wrap filled with a vegetable and/or meat mixture. When Cenk’s girlfriend approached and asked for roti, the woman behind the counter fixed her with a quizzical look and said, “What name so?” After a brief back-and-forth it became evident that the stand only sold chicken, not roti. Apparently heedless to charges of false advertising, the proprietress never bothered to concern herself with the meaning behind all that writing on the outside of her own establishment. Now, as a tribute to this woman, whenever a public official conveniently “forgets” about a prior promise to supporters (e.g., Democratic senators failing to support the public option), Cenk will punctuate his criticism and pretend to imitate the waffling legislator with a mocking “What name so?”
“Wrong Again, Bob.”
Phrase frequently invoked by Cenk to demonstrate the sheer and unmitigated inaccuracy of a specified statement, opinion or position, typically coming from a politician or other public figure. The phrase was famously uttered by longtime political operative and journalist Frank Mankiewicz (father of Ben) in 1991 while he was handling press credentials and access for the Oliver Stone film “JFK.” Conservative columnist and DC press corps insider Robert Novak, who had panned the film without bothering to see it first, told Frank that he would come to the premiere and see the film then. Mankiewicz told Novak not to bother, as there would not be a ticket waiting for him. Novak, apparently not believing Frank’s sincerity, showed up anyway, explaining to the person working the door that he was the very important Robert Novak, so he should be let in. When Frank came out and personally told Novak that there were no tickets left, Novak said, “Frank, I thought you were smarter than that.” To which Frank replied, “Wrong again, Bob.”
Mandarin for “very small.” One of a number of expressions Cenk has picked up from his Taiwanese-American wife Wendy and her family owing to frequent use around the couple’s young children. Wendy has similarly picked up some Turkish phrases from expressions Cenk regularly employs, including the Turkish versions of “Of Coooooourse,” “Check out these massive triceps” and “Get money out of politics. Wolf dash pac dot com.”
“You’re at a ten – I need you at a two”
Phrase (often abbreviated by Cenk to “ten-two”) indicating that the energy level, excitement or outrage being displayed is far greater than warranted by the situation. The line comes from a scene in the movie Boiler Room in which a table of twentysomething stock traders are being overly boisterous while enjoying a celebratory dinner out. Another patron comes over and, his voice dripping with condescension, says “Boys, you’re at a ten – I need you at a two.” (bonus note: according to a former cable access television colleague of Cenk’s who served as the assistant to the director on this film, the line did not appear in the original script, but was inserted during shooting after some members of the production staff got a little rowdy at a restaurant one evening and a fellow diner came over and admonished them with this line.)
Term used, primarily by Ana, to a) demonstrate utter contempt for an individual in the news whose reprehensible views or actions render them effectively “dead” (examples include Bill O’Reilly, Chris Brown and Ryan O’Neal); or b) who have misbehaved in some manner and continue trying to explain themselves to such an extent that the defense becomes worse than the offense (examples include David Letterman, Octomom and Carrie Prejean). This phrase implies that a person has done something so wrong that there is no chance for recovery or redemption – they’re done!