Retrospect: Pop culture: 70s language, part 0

Self-tutoring about people and events from the past: the tutor begins about 70s language.

I recall the 70s, but was very young, so likely missed a lot: Before I knew it, the 80s arrived.

The 70s were tumultuous, even a kid could tell. Things changed faster then, probably, than ever since. Much of the change we witness now has its grounding in the 70s. I will hopefully talk in more detail about that, but I just want to give the background that so much went on during the 70s, it was easy to miss things.

One saying I do remember from the 70s is jeepers creepers. I wouldn’t have known whether to spell it “jeepers” or “geepers”; I never saw it written until today.

Jeepers creepers was a playful expression of surprise. It was used often, and in at least one advertising jingle I recall.

During the 70s, in my experience, gee whiz was used about as often as jeepers creepers. The two expressions seem to have fallen from use in parallel, as well. Gee whiz was more philosophical, rather than playful. It often was said instead of complaining, yet could imply a complaint. A kid might say “Gee whiz” in response to learning their ride was cancelled, so they would have to walk home.

During the late 70s, I’d easily hear jeepers creepers and gee whiz many times each day. Kids said them more than adults did. Apart from talking with my wife, I can’t recall hearing either since around ’85.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

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