WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - What specific words used in internet comments turn polite conversations into heated arguments? Brian 'Dyalekt' Kushner, a Brooklyn-based MC and educator, answered that question after spending a year analyzing internet comment threads.
The 11 words, which Dyalekt calls "dead words," are words that used to have meaning but are now devoid of substance and no longer carry their original weight. Instead, people using these words escalate internet discussion into a fight.
Dyalekt's word list: hypocrite, deserve, clickbait, obviously, normal, truth, miscegenation, racist, sexist, slut, and evil.
"These are 11 words that have died, or broken, or fallen into disuse. They've become too personalized, and these personal definitions are not ones that can be shared," said Dyalekt.
His year-long analysis of internet comments began after his group of friends was unable to have a discussion involving the word, "racism."
"I realized I couldn't talk to my friends, a number of my friends, about specifically racism," said Dyalekt. "We didn't have a shared definition of what racism meant, and our conversations and our arguments would devolve into semantic nothings."
Friday and Saturday, the Museum of Dead Words at the Wabi Sabi Warehouse will explain the 11 dead words through hip-hop, performance, and visual art.
Dyalekt has also been invited to perform at Mozfest, a yearly event put on by the Browser Mozilla Firefox, focusing on web literacy and digital inclusion.