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September 30, 2005

Chavs of the Times

Who is Michael Carroll? According to the New York Times, he's a young, drunken idiot who is socially inappropriate and spends his money on gaudy clothes, tacky jewelry, and huge tattoos. In other words, according to the Times, he's a Chav.

Ali G
Courtesy HBO.com
No Respect.
The Times devotes a few paragraphs of its profile of Carroll, who won the $17 million national lottery three years ago, to dish dirt on Chavs. While the writer makes a half-hearted attempt to define the origin of the word (largely culled from Michael Quinion's writeup in World Wide Words, it seems), she delights in describing the phenomenon and calling out its celebrity followers:

"Male chavs wear tracksuits and baseball caps; female chavs pull their hair tightly back in buns or ponytails, a style known as a 'council house facelift,' from the term for public housing."

"Ms. McLoughlin—whose new house with Mr. Rooney reportedly includes its own spray-tanning booth—is rarely photographed without a variety of designer-store shopping bags and a thong showing above her pants."

"Others in the greater chav universe are David and Victoria Beckham, who would hate to be considered chavs but who nonetheless wore matching purple outfits and sat on matching thrones at their wedding; and Jordan, a former topless model who recently traveled to her own wedding in a Cinderella-style carriage shaped like a pumpkin and pulled by six white horses."

You can read more at the unofficial Chav website.

As far as Gelf knows, the Times has not written articles making fun of Wiggers, Hood Rats, White Trash, and Skanks. But perhaps this is the beginning of a trend. Every few weeks, the paper will take the opportunity to make fun of people because of their supposed cultural preferences. What about a piece making fun of rappers and their silly gold teeth?







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