Street Talk—urban dictionary written in prison
Posted: 01 May 2007 06:14 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Slate has an interesting review of the 700 page Street Talk by Randy Kearse, who was incarcerated for 13 and a half years in federal prison on drug charges. Kearse self-published the book in 2005 but it has just come out in a new edition.

Sheidlower pronounced it “pretty good.”

Sheidlower was somewhat disappointed at the lack of derogatory terms, but overall, he pronounced the guide “pretty good.” He offered to submit some of Kearse’s slang words for inclusion in the Oxford English Dictionary.

The book is searchable at Amazon.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 04:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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RK has a website, which I haven’t thoroughly perused. He seems sincere at least, and is promoting himself as a motivational speaker, but I always wish with these ex-cons that they’d come out and say what they were in the pen for. It would help to understand just what levels of difficuties they’ve had to overcome, and it would satisfy my curiosity for the salacious. I suspect Sheidlower’s only partial endorsement is due to the lack of peer review (whatever that might entail) and academic credentials. Might be a good resource nevertheless.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 05:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Good lookin’ out.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 05:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I suspect Sheidlower’s only partial endorsement is due to the lack of peer review (whatever that might entail) and academic credentials.

No, I’m pretty sure that isn’t the case—Sheidlower is the farthest thing from a snooty, credential-obsessed academic.  I strongly suspect it’s due to the fact that it is an amateur work, with the sloppiness inevitable in such a work.  I think he would have been harder on it had it been written by a professional.  Lexicography is hard work and takes a lot of training.

I always wish with these ex-cons that they’d come out and say what they were in the pen for.

People always want to know that, and cons and ex-cons hate being asked.  Ex-cons have done their time and owe no one any explanations.  Asking them is like asking a woman with a stroller how come the baby looks so different from the mother; the curiosity is natural, the question is boorish.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 06:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Er, foolscap, does the OP not say that Randy Kearse was “in federal prison on drug charges” or were you looking for a bit more detail?

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Posted: 02 May 2007 07:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Morover, the “about randy” link at guy’s website (http://www.allaboutrandykearse.com/, which I presume is the one foolscap was referring to) provides a pretty clear description of his criminal background.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 04:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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OK, I may have missed both those references but I still wanna know the nitty gritty.

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