In the past 6-9 months or so new slang has entered into the WoW vocabulary. I’m not entirely sure how it happened or where it came from, but it’s there. I’m sure you have all heard it, are familiar with it and perhaps even use it! The term that I’m referring to is “pro”.
As far as I can tell, to be “pro” is to do something exceptionally well.
The problem is, I hate the phrase. Perhaps it’s just my old age coming through, and my dislike of this new-fangled term is just me being stodgy. (Hell, let’s face it, I still find Tom Selleck, circa Magnum PI, as the pinnacle of a gorgeous man!). I mean I also disliked it when people said “Money” or “$$” back when it was the term du jour in Vanilla WoW. Maybe I just dislike all slang terms, and am a stuck up goody tooshoes, who knows. I just know that every time I see/hear the phrase “pro” I cringe a little bit on the inside.
Because I dislike the term, I thought perhaps I should try to pinpoint exactly why I don’t like it. So I started thinking about what it is about the phrase that rubs me the wrong way. What is it that makes me /sigh every time I hear or read the term. I mean, it’s just a word right? Why does it bother me so damn much? And ultimately I think it comes down to the fact that I think the word, or the phrases, are somewhat degrading and condescending.
I know, I know. Those of you that find this word in your vocabulary probably think that I’m off my rocker. But really, I think this is why I dislike the usage of this word about 98% of the time! Let’s take a few examples of its usage, and see if I can better pinpoint or analyze my feelings.
- Pro Tip - To me, this just says “I’m awesome, and this is the awesome way to do it”. Really? Why couldn’t something just be some “advice” or “a tip that might help”? To me tossing “pro” on it seems to indicate that you, the tip giver, are superior to those that you are providing with advice and that really bothers me some. Toss on top of that the fact that usually when this is used it is actually in a negative fashion, such as when someone is struggling with something and asking for advice. And someone pops in and says “pro tip, blah blah blah” as if the “pro tip” should have been obvious to begin with.
- That was Pro - This is generally used as a compliment when someone did something that was pretty outstanding. In this setting, the word doesn’t bother me so much (this would be that 2%). I mean, I would probably convey my feelings differently. Perhaps I’d say “man, that was really great!” or “I have no idea how you pulled that off, that was amazing”, but I don’t think I’d actually utilize the terminology “that was pro”. But, because I think this is a way of offering a compliment, I can tolerate the usage of the word, because it doesn’t seem that there is any negative attachment to telling someone they did well.
- Just be Pro - Utilizing this as a way to tell people not to fuck up I think is perhaps where it rankles me the most. I think this is because 1) the person making the statement is in essence saying “I’m pro” and that’s a got a little bit of ego attached to it that likely rubs people a little bit wrong, even if it’s not your intention for it to convey “I’m better than you” (and I think most likely it’s not the speakers intention), I think a lot of times that’s what people hear; 2) it’s automatically assuming that people aren’t going to make an effort to do a good job, or be “pro” and 3) it doesn’t actually communicate anything! It doesn’t analyze issues that need correcting, it doesn’t tell you anything about the encounter, it just says “hey don’t fuck it up”. To me that’s not particularly productive!
I don’t necessarily think that people who use “pro” mean it to come off in a negative or condescending way. I don’t think that people mean for “pro” to even come out as them saying “I”m better than you”, but a lot of times, I think the usage of the word has that effect. As a matter of fact, I’d say probably 80% of the people that use the term use it to indicate something good. The problem is that some of the underlying connotations with the term are a little bit negative. At least that’s how I kinda view it.
Then again, I could be completely off base, and it could just be that I am showing my age a little bit as far as the usage of this particular piece of slang is concerned. Perhaps saying “pro” is utilizing one word for what my overly verbose self would say in 5-10 words. Maybe I’m just getting rankled for no reason whatsoever. Maybe when someone says “be pro”, I’m just offended that they are assuming I’m not “pro” and my id is screaming back. Who knows.
Hell, I’m not even entirely sure why it rubs me the wrong way so many times when I see it! And the thing is, people that I really respect and like utilize the word in their everyday vocabulary, be it in game or in a blog somewhere. I’ve seen any number of people that I really enjoy conversation with tossing out “pro” with a growing frequency. Maybe my dislike really truly is just a case of me not adjusting well with the times.
So what is it about this word? Am I way off base? Am I just being a grump? Does “pro” rub anyone else the wrong way?