American in Spain

La Más Why

August 24, 2011
Spanish Question

Earlier today I came up with a Spanglish joke: "Mi hija es la más why del mundo." Like most one-liners, it's a play on words. It is pronounced exactly the same as the syntactically correct Spanish sentence, "Mi hija es la más guay del mundo" The word "guay", which is pronounced exactly like the English word "why", and I think is only slang in Castilian Spanish, is a general positive adjective mainly used by youth that could translate to the English words cool, great, awesome or terrific. So the meaning of the proper sentence "My daughter is the awesomest in the world." Of course the joke was to substitute her new favorite English word, making her "the most 'why' daughter in the world".

Why, oh why?

We knew it was coming, and it's here: The Why Phase. Her new favorite thing to do is to walk up to you and say, "What are you doing?", and almost before you can answer, she's asking, "Why?" I can normally last for about two Why iterations before I end it with "Because it is," and stop responding to further inquiry. At this point, I think that only about 20% of her motivation in these interrogations is curiosity and a thirst for knowledge about the world around her; the other 80% is just a desire to have a conversation, and she's learned that asking someone about themselves and then asking follow up questions is a great way to get people to talk. It's more of a thirst for language than anything else.

Did you know that if you go to any Wikipedia article and click on the very first link in the article, and then click on the very first link in the next article, continuing on and on like this avoiding loops, you will eventually end up at Philosophy? This works for any starting article. Try it.

The same is true of answering repeated Why questions. You can retard the spiral, but sooner or later, you'll find yourself crossing the epistemological event horizon.

Never has this been so well demonstrated as in Louis C.K.'s stand-up routine about having children. I watched this before my daughter was born and it only gets more and more true with each day of parenthood. Like everything Louis C.K. does, it's both extremely hilarious and extremely vulgar. NSFW language. Viewer discretion is advised. The best bit, about non-parents criticizing parents, starts at 6:18. The Why bit starts at 7:19. It's very guay.